Gardening is not only a way to sprout one’s own food source, it cultivates a relationship with nature as well as with fellow green thumbs. Though rental plots at the Peace Lutheran Community Garden are filling up, the church is still offering Dickinson residents a chance to get their hands a little dirty and enjoy a summer of growth in the garden.

Currently, the Peace Lutheran Community Garden in Dickinson has 48 rental plots, and 12 remain open. Dickinson community members are encouraged to complete an application through Peace Lutheran Church’s website.

The church provides tools for gardeners to use such as a few smaller hand tools, shovels, rakes, hoes, watering cans as well as water. The garden gets tilled in the spring. Each plot costs $25 with a $15 deposit fee per plot, which is returned at the end of the season.

“I'm finding that several of the people who have rented spots live in apartments, and so they don't have a yard to grow anything in and they don't have equipment to do it so that's really handy,” Pastor Mike Pretzer said.

Though the Peace Lutheran Community Garden is a relatively new area that was established in 2017, Pretzer said he is eager for the 2021 summer season and hopeful that each year the garden continues to grow with gardeners and the number of rental plots. For people who don’t have access to a yard, this is one way to enjoy the summer outdoors, he noted.

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“You can grow much more flavorful and much more nutritious food if you grow it yourself. Plus it's therapeutic, I think, to be working in the dirt. It's an inexpensive way to be outside, grow your own food (and) get some exercise,” Pretzer said. “So there's just a ton of benefits from gardening. It's good mental therapy too; there's lots of benefits.”

There are no limitations as to what gardeners can grow at Peace Lutheran Community Garden, Pretzer said. However, the community garden prohibits the use of chemicals, he added.

Down the road, Pretzer would like to see at the end of the season a harvest gathering with all of the gardeners.

“I think one of my goals is to build relationships among the gardeners, so that people here can meet somebody else here and develop a relationship or a friendship that they maybe wouldn't otherwise have,” he remarked.

For garden applications and additional information, visit the church’s websites at peacelutherandickinson.com.