Drought dries up community gardens

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BISMARCK, N.D. - A number of community gardens are spread out across Bismarck, with the state drought ongoing how is it affecting gardens?

The Community Garden at Basin Electric Community Cooperative produces fresh produce that they donate to local food pantries. By this time last year they would have already donated 250 pounds of food. This year that number is down to just 50.

"We were feeling really good at the beginning of the year because we got planting a week earlier than we normally do, which is awesome. I don't know if you remember, the beginning of this year was super hot and super windy and that has definitely taken a toll on our garden this year," said Tracie Bettenhausen, Garden Coordinator for Basin Electric.
Some plants were lost entirely.

"You can tell where the radishes started growing and then they just completely burned off, which is so sad! It's always one of our first crops that we harvest and we take it to the Burleigh County Senior Center and they love the radishes and this year we had nothing, " said Bettenhausen.

Their plants have made some recovery, as you can tell by the green garden, but their first harvest came two months later than usual.

"We have a sprinkler set up, and if any business is going to try and run a garden like this. It's really good to have a sprinkler set up that you don't have to worry about too much, but the wind was so strong that it was usually blowing the water away from our crops, and so that's kind of made things a little bit difficult," said Bettenhausen.

Last year they provided about 1,000 pounds of food for the area. They hope to produce at least half that this year.

Steve Neu, the coordinator for the city community gardens says the drought hasn't affected them. The city provides a system of hoses and as long as the individual gardeners take advantage of it their plants have been doing well.