State's first-ever 'Little Free Garden' sprouts in Ocean Springs

State's first-ever 'Little Free Garden' sprouts in Ocean Springs
The first Little Free Garden in Mississippi has popped up in Ocean Springs (photo source: WLOX)
The first Little Free Garden in Mississippi has popped up in Ocean Springs (photo source: WLOX)
Gardeners who sign up to build a Little Free Garden will get an official emblem (photo source: WLOX)
Gardeners who sign up to build a Little Free Garden will get an official emblem (photo source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's a community garden planted by residents who want to share with their neighbors and hope that their neighbors will do the same.

Mississippi's first-ever Little Free Garden has popped up in Ocean Springs. Planted by Gary and Katie Bachman in a 2x4 space, it will eventually grow herbs.

The idea is one that has been sprouting around the country, said the Bachmans.

"There's a couple in Florida. There's a couple in California, but this is the first one in the state of Mississippi. That's pretty cool," Gary said.

Little Free Garden is similar to the Little Free Libraries that are scattered throughout cities, including many here on the Gulf Coast. The idea behind the garden is for people to plant something, give something, take something, leave something.

"We put up our Little Free Library on the other end of the property to share books with kids in the neighborhood, and it's been a fabulous thing," said Gary. "Kids are in there all the time. So with me being a gardener, growing vegetables, we share vegetables all summer long, all winter long with our neighbors."

Gary is a research professor at Mississippi State University Extension. He specializes in ornamental horticulture and hosts Southern Gardening, which airs in the 6 p.m. news on WLOX each Saturday. He said it was his wife Katie who spotted the idea first.

"My wife saw this idea of Little Free Garden. It's like boom, we have to have one of these," he said.

It'll cost you $25 to register a Little Free Garden on the national website. You'll get access to plans on how to build your garden and what's best to grow during which season.

Plus, you'll also receive an official emblem. Then, you create a Facebook page for your individual garden. The Bachman's is number 146, Little Free Garden at Heritage Cottage.

"We're going to grow a variety of fresh herbs. Share them with our neighbors, and teach them what a great thing it is to have fresh herbs to add to your dinner and your meals," Gary said.

Gary and Katie also own a farm, and Katie cans her own vegetables. This Little Free Garden is something they'll both enjoy.

"A lot of folks won't garden because they think it's hard. But once you taste some of the fresh goodness that you can grow yourself or your neighbors grow, then people will say, "you want to know something. I'm going to try that," Gary said.

Little Free Garden is located at the Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm, a space developed by the Bachmans to show that a small growing space can produce an abundant harvest. They grow seasonal heirloom and specialty vegetables, as well as a variety of microgreens year-round. The Heritage Cottage is located at 5001 Heritage Lane. You can find more information about it on their Facebook page HERE.

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