REED CITY — Spring is the time to start thinking of gardening and begin planting.

In Reed City, community members can have their own space for free in the community garden, located next to the biodome at Reed City High School. The garden, complete with a total of eight 10-by-14 raised beds, was first utilized last year.

"We identified a need in the community," said garden facilitator Mark Livingston. "We had access to the area next to the biodome and the students take care of a lot of the grunt work for us."

Gardeners who have a plot must take care of the planting, weeding, watering and harvesting of their plants. Livingston said all types of plants are welcome, except corn, because its height can shade other areas of the garden. Last year, a group of Girl Scouts planted tomatoes and other vegetables, donating them to the St. Philip Neri Catholic Church's food pantry.

"I think people were surprised at how much you can fit in one of those beds," Livingston said. "Last year, I grew a couple of giant pumpkins in one of the extra beds we had."

The community garden is the perfect way to get active outside in the warmer months, especially for senior citizens and those living in areas unable to have gardens, he added. Plots are open to anyone who wishes to garden, and more space can be made if needed.

"There are an awful amount of people who don't have access to something like this, and this garden will give them that access," Livingston said. "And for older people, those raised beds are definitely the way to go."

Those interested in participating in the community garden can attend an informational and organizational meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday, May 4, at the Reed City Depot. Livingston added he always is available to help gardeners throughout the season and provide tips on how to make the most of their plot.

For more information about the garden, call Mark Livingston at (231) 388-1186.