Community garden finds new home

Community garden finds new home
Oceanside’s community garden relocated in May. Vegetables have been planted are already sprouting. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — The longstanding community garden, which previously occupied North Weitzel Street, has found a new home on Nelms Street. The garden relocated due to development on the city site.

Maria Yanez, city management analyst, said the new garden opened in May. Planting began within two weeks, and sprouts are already starting to peek through the dirt.

Twenty-five local families requested garden plots. Most are nearby residents who live in apartments or rent houses where there is no space for gardening.

Garden rules dictate that food grown in the free community garden can not be sold. Families must use the food for themselves or donate it to a community charity.

The city pays monthly bills for an onsite water tank, and Porta Potty service. There is no electricity or lighting at the site, so garden hours are from sunrise to sunset.

Gardeners have keys to the fenced site. They bring in their own tools, seeds and drip irrigation hoses to farm individual 10-foot-by-10-foot plots.

Yanez said the previous site, which had 53 plots, served as a social center to meet, exchange crops and talk with fellow gardeners.

Prior to its opening, a lot of work was done to get the new site ready for planting. Trash was hauled away, soil was amended and tested, and the garden was sloped for proper drainage.

Residents helped prepare the garden site as part of a neighborhood restoration project.

“The community really takes ownership and helps maintain the project,” Yanez said.

The new site boasts water spigots at each garden plot. This is an added convenience over the former garden, which had one shared spigot.

Another new feature is quarterly garden education meetings for participants. Yanez said meetings will offer gardening expertise on a range of topics, and provide an opportunity for city staff to check in with residents and answer questions.

Future plans are to add a compost bin and picnic table to the garden site.

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