Nikiski is a little greener these days. Gardeners have tilled and planted a garden next to the Nikiski Community Park on Hedberg Drive, where volunteers can plant, pick and take home their own produce.
Toni Loop, of Nikiski, has been planning the project for a while and made headway this summer. About a third of the garden is now planted.
“The first five rows are potatoes," she said. 'We have white, red and purple growing. And then we have two-and-a-half rows of zucchini and crooked-neck squash. And then we have four rows of cabbage and broccoli.”
Loop wants the space to be available to people who don’t have their own plots at their houses, or who don’t know how to garden.
She also sees it as an opportunity for people in Nikiski, and beyond, who can’t afford fresh produce to volunteer and harvest their own food.
“And if I don't get much more volunteers then also the produce will go to food-giving organizations, like the North Methodist Church and the senior center," she said. "I know they like my potatoes.”
Nine-year-old Benjamin Loop has been helping his mom with the garden. He does 4-H with his brothers, too.
“It was super dirty." he said. "And planting potatoes, it was easy. But the eyes on the potatoes love to pop out.”
Loop is waiting on more plants and volunteers to fill the remaining space in the garden.
“Anyone who wants to learn, or give me wisdom, that’s fine — I’m open to learning new things," she said. "Because right now, I’m pulling lots of horsetail. Anyone can pull horsetail. Anyone can pick up a stick. There’s sticks all over the place, because I haven’t had time to take all the roots and the sticks out.”
She was hoping to put up raised beds, too, but hasn’t raised enough money yet to do so. But she’s gotten many other donations and offerings from the community, including fertilizer, broccoli and cabbage from Everetts Acres. She says someone even offered a greenhouse.
Toni Loop can be reached for donations or information about volunteering at 907-740-1476. Monetary donations can be brought to Jackie Carlson at the North Peninsula Recreation Center. Follow the garden on Facebook here.