The Payson Community Garden was organized in February 2012 for the Payson community thru cooperative efforts of the Church of the Nazarene and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Church of the Nazarene donated land usage while project construction was supervised by the LDS church.
The property was prepared and plowed by volunteer tractor operators and fifteen semi-truck loads of cow and horse manure were tilled in to improve the soil. A 1200 foot long, eight-foot high, wire fence with welded supports was constructed to secure the area and to keep elk and javelina from disturbing the gardens. The fence costs were donated by Supervisor Tommie Martin of Gila County and volunteer labor was used in the fence installation.
Water agreements were reached with the Town of Payson Water Department and Mayor Kenny Evans. Two water systems were installed for usage by each garden. An automated watering outlet was located at each garden. Additionally, a constantly pressurized water outlet was installed in the vicinity of each garden to allow gardeners to hand water as needed.
Many volunteers have assisted in the development of the garden, including members of the Church of the Nazarene, Mormon Missionaries, students from FAA classes at Payson High School, & Boy Scouts. Five separate Eagle Scout projects were completed in the garden. One project included the planning, planting and harvesting of the first pumpkin patch at the garden. Over 400 hills were planted with a yield of more than 500 large pumpkins. The pumpkin patch was open to the public in October with donations from the pumpkins going toward the purchase of a much needed shed for use by the gardeners and storage of equipment and supplies.
The Garden was open to the public on April 28, 2012 after just three months of construction thanks to the contributions of many community organizations and companies. (See acknowledgements page for a list of contributors). There are currently 165 individual gardens measuring 6′ x 25′ and additionally, there are six elevated boxes so those with special needs may also garden. The goal of the Payson Community Garden is to provide gardens at a low cost to the community, to encourage gardening and teach gardening skills through classes that are open to the public, to provide fresh produce donations to the local food banks and to improve church relationships in the community.
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