Prairie Village Community Garden Project in full bloom

Kevin Butler tends to the tomato plants he’s raising on his plot at the Harmon Park Community Garden.

A seed of an idea planted years ago in Prairie Village has finally taken root — and is likely to grow even bigger next year.

Organizers of Prairie Village’s Community Garden Project, which spent years in various stages of planning before being formally announced last fall, recently found out it will receive a grant from the Kansas Community Gardens Project. The group will get $4,767 through a program administered jointly by K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Health Foundation.

Prairie Village Environmental Committee member Thomas O’Brien said the group will be meeting next week to formalize its governing structure and discuss potential uses for the grant money. O’Brien anticipates the project may nearly double the number of plots available to interested gardeners next year.

The 18 plots made available at Harmon Park and the 10 plots made available at Cherokee Christian Church sold out within days of being opened up for reservations.

“When we first got approval to move forward with this, we wanted to start conservatively considering we had no real plans,” he said. “There was a ton of interest when we announced this, and so far it’s been really great. We’ve been very fortunate.”

Project leaders have even been in talks with Cherokee Christian to replace the church’s playground area with garden plots.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the people at Cherokee and the people on the Prairie Village Parks Committee,” O’Brien said. “The process of seeing this thing through has been almost leaderless — just a lot of people who wouldn’t let the idea die.”

Kevin Bulter, a Prairie Village resident who already had a garden in his backyard, was among those who lined up to secure one of the Harmon Park spots. He now visits his plot several times a week, often with his kids in tow.

“There are certain things you just need a little more space to grow, so I knew we wanted to get a plot,” he said. “You get a great sense of community. Everyone shares tips with each other, so you end up learning a lot.”