COLUMBUS - As the Columbus Community Garden becomes a reality for local residents, Columbus PRIDE realizes that not all folks may have the ability to utilize the garden due to transportation, health issues, or other reasons. Therefore, in cooperation with other businesses and organizations, Columbus PRIDE is piloting a “Planter Box Program.” This program is designed for those who may not be able to participate in the community garden but would like to take ownership in raising their own produce. It will provide residents with the opportunity to consume fresh vegetables at little cost. Each qualifying resident will be given a “planter box” containing one or more tomato plants and/or another box containing one or more pepper plants. The boxes will be used recycled plastic livestock feed tubs from local producers. The “planter boxes” are approximately 24 inches in diameter and 24 inches in height.

Columbus PRIDE is comprised of volunteer individuals and organizations in and around Columbus whose mission is to promote an enhanced quality of life for citizens of Columbus through education, leadership development and recognition. The goal of the “Planter Box Program” is two-fold. One, provide ownership of plants to residents and provide them with access to fresh produce. Two, recycle feed tubs that livestock producers use but have no means of discarding after the feed inside the tub is consumed by livestock. Many producers are left with feed tubs after the winter feeding season with no way of recycling them. This will provide livestock producers with a way of discarding their used tubs and provide someone with a mini garden.

Seedlings will be started through a Cherokee County K-State Research and Extension program called Highlights with Extension that is held the first Friday of every month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Cherokee County Extension Office. Used feed tubs will be collected throughout the month of April. In May the tubs will be filled with soil furnished by Farmers Coop. The plants will then be transferred into the tubs and delivered to qualifying residents.

Columbus PRIDE is seeking clubs, organizations, groups and individuals to help with the filling and delivery of the “planter boxes” to qualifying applicants. Columbus PRIDE is also looking for residents that may not be able to utilize the community garden due to transportation, health issues or other concerns but would like to care for their own plant and reap the rewards of consuming the produce they grow. If you could benefit from the program or know someone who may, please contact the Cherokee County Extension Office at 620-429-3849. The program will be limited to the first 75 applicants. If you would like to volunteer in the implementation of the program, Columbus PRIDE would greatly appreciate the assistance and you may call the same number to volunteer.