Marty Johnson debuts Marty’s Acre

WICHITA — With the end of his Saturday morning radio show after 25 years, Marty Johnson has been looking for a way to keep his Johnson’s Garden Centers top of mind for customers.

He’s decided Marty’s Acre is it.

That’s a plot of ground, though it’s more like a quarter of an acre, on Edwards Street near his garden center on 13th Street in Indian Hills.

“I’ve lived on Edwards my whole life basically, and it’s always been an empty lot,” Johnson says.

He bought it about a decade ago. Five years ago, he tilled it and began planting on it. Now, Johnson is wanting to involve customers there in a variety of ways.

He’s looking at it as “more of an informal way to reach out to people.”

“We’ll do informal classes,” Johnson says. “Hopefully we can show some ways that people can garden responsibly.”

That includes practicing water-saving techniques and growing new varieties of plants. There will be a picnic table so customers can stop by and hang out. The idea is to “just kind of have fun with it.”

He’ll share some food from the plot and sell some, too.

Johnson says he was partly inspired by his friend Robin Macy, who owns Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, and her song “Acre of Land.”

“I guess that’s the inspiration maybe for the name of the garden,” he says. “We’ve all been given some thing, as she says in the song, from our maker … to cultivate, create and prepare for the table.”