GOLD HILL — A quarter-acre garden near the city's water treatment plant has just about everything — a sunny spot, plenty of water, a variety of plants already growing tall — but a supply of green thumbs ready to help water and weed the bounty this year have yet to sprout this year.

GOLD HILL — A quarter-acre garden near the city's water treatment plant has just about everything — a sunny spot, plenty of water, a variety of plants already growing tall — but a supply of green thumbs ready to help water and weed the bounty this year have yet to sprout this year.

A handful of local residents who helped get the Gold Hill Community Garden started this year are looking for help.

Their efforts will help provide needed groceries for a local food bank serving low-income residents, as well as provide groceries for anyone willing to help work the land.

In recent weeks, Curt and Faith Shuler have flown solo in tilling the soil, establishing seeds and plants and soliciting help.

"We need volunteers to make it a real commmunity garden instead of just a single family garden," said Curt Shuler, 72, with a laugh.

Shuler said, with area food banks warning of increasing need, the garden seemed like a no-brainer idea.

"It's a great idea. We just need to get the word out and get some more help," he said.

"So far, it's just my wife and I. And there's a lot to be done."

The project was initiated by city officials, so materials, plants, seeds and water are all provided by the city. If all goes well, this year's garden will yield a harvest of tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, herbs and other types of produce.

Local resident and garden coordinator Judi Holdeman said that while she'd distributed some 400 fliers in recent weeks, she'd gotten little response in her quest to find willing bodies to help work in the five-year-old garden patch.

Holdeman said she viewed the garden as a nice feature for the small town and a good opportunity for local residents to help one another during tough economic times while saving a little on fresh produce for their own households.

The bulk of the produce from the garden, she noted, is headed for the Gold Hill Christian Center food bank, though anyone contributing will get plenty of fruits and veggies for the pantry.

"Pastor Williams (from the Christian Center) said people are coming into the food bank and they feel really bad because they didn't expect to be in the position that they're in," she said.

"We're hoping those who've received help would be willing to help in the garden"¦ I think this really could be a wonderful opportunity for people to have the experience of giving and to realize how much they will get out of that experience."

"They say many hands make light work," she added.

Shuler said volunteers are primarily needed for weeding and watering.

"It's a spot that's well-watered so we have crop after crop of weeds, so they have to be taken care of," he noted.

"Too bad we can't sell those or give them to somebody for food." Shuler said volunteers of all ages, available for as few or as many hours, are welcome to call for details on the garden, located off Highway 234 before Sardine Creek Road.

For more information, contact the Shulers at 855-2576.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Contact her at buffypollock@juno.com