By Amanda Sears
The Madison County Conservation District (CD) is launching a new local cost share program for Madison County gardeners. The purpose of this best management practice is to promote wise use of soil and water resources while encouraging production of quality food in a limited area. Many people that are interested in producing some of their food do not have areas large enough to garden conventionally. Raised beds also allow some people that have reduced mobility to continue to produce homegrown vegetables and fruits.
The signups will begin Feb. 19 and continue through March 1. There is a limited amount of funds set aside for the program and approval will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program will be carried out subject to the conservation board of supervisors review until designated funds have been allocated. The Conservation District will provide 50 percent cost share to Madison County gardeners to a maximum of $250 per household. Eligible components for cost share include pre-constructed raised garden beds, and/or materials used for construction of raised garden beds, soil amendments for the garden bed, rain barrels for watering the raised beds and materials needed for rain barrel installation.
Soil quality and proper soil amendments are fundamental to successful gardening in raised beds. Compost, well-rotted manure, peat and other soil amendments may be added to soil for the raised beds. Soil tests are required once these are placed in the constructed beds. The soil test is free of charge as it is paid for by the Madison County Conservation District and Madison County Cooperative Extension District Board. Soil samples will be sent from the Madison County Cooperative Extension Service on Duncannon Lane to the University of Kentucky to determine proper nutrient needs to grow your intended vegetable or fruit. Needed fertilizer and lime per results of the soil test can be cost shared as part of the 50 percent cost share up to a maximum of $250 per household. Raised garden beds require more frequent watering than conventionally grown gardens. Installation of a rain barrel is an excellent water conservation measure that will benefit production of quality produce.
Sign-ups for cost share on raised garden beds will be at the Madison County Conservation District Office at 1024 Ival James Blvd. Suite A1, Richmond, KY 40475. Madison County Conservation District Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For further information contact the Conservation District at email@example.com or phone 859-624-1981, Ext. 3.
Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.