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Westport Community Gardens Spreads its Dirt

With spring pushing in, Westport Community Gardeners are poised to start digging dirt – and they'll have twice as much room to do it in. By June 1, the Westport Community Gardens, next to Long Lots Elementary School, will grow from a half acre to an acre. “We have the space," says Gardens Chair Louis Weinberg. "What we need to do now is level and grade, amend the soil a bit,and then construct a fence. Water also has to be tied in,” .

In October, Planning and Zoning approved the Gardens' committee's request to expand its area, due to the demand for plots.There were 66 gardeners last year with about 40 on the waiting list. Some have been waiting since 2008. Finally, they'll get their wish. With the expansion, the maximum number of gardeners could reach 130.

The Community Gardens and Long Lots School have been Hyde Lane neighbors for four years.The school takes primacy. During the school year, no gardening is allowed from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., when Long Lots students are dropped off, and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. when they're picked up. Gardeners also have to carry IDs issued by the Parks and Rec Dept.

With the expansion this year, Westport Community Gardens can accomodate confident gardeners who want a 400-square-foot plot and novices who can experiment with just 200 square feet. “There is just so much stuff people grow,” Louis says. "It's just phenomenally beautiful. Everybody has their own strength and so every plot is different and people learn from each other.” There's diversity among the gardeners, too. “This brings together kids who are three years old and people who are 83 years old. It's multi-generational recreation. It's a wonderful place,” Louis concludes.Visit Westport Community Gardens to learn more.

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