Getting the infrastructure in place for a garden can be a challenge, particularly for people with small yards, no yard, or those who live at a high altitude.
In a joint effort, Pine River Shares and the Pine River Garden Club held an essay contest to give away strawberry towers to local residents.
Several entries were submitted by families in Ignacio and Bayfield. Winners ranged in age from 3 years to 90 years old.
Club members and volunteers gathered on May 6 at the Pine River Library to build the towers and give them to the recipients.
A team of reviewers from both groups reviewed the essays and scored them. Entrants were given points for telling why they should win, how they would care for their garden and how they would protect the garden from critters
Lucas Maestas, the youngest winner, dictated his essay to his mother.
She asked, "Why do you want a garden?"
"Because I want fruits and vegetables and when they're ripe I can eat them," he told her. "I want to learn about gardens."
The eldest winner is 90 and wrote:
"My husband and I were raised by parents that raised wonderful gardens. The first summer of 1949 when we were first married we raised a garden that did well. For the next several years we changed farming operations but we always raised a garden. What a good feeling it gave us to be able to say we almost raised everything we ate and to have good food stored in a freezer and cellar, with plenty of produce to share with family and friends."
The Pine River Garden Club will host its annual plant exchange from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the library. Participants can bring a plant, take a plant or make a donation and take a plant. There will also be crafts, baked goods, drinks, and a drawing for prizes at the event.