It was just four years ago that officials from the city of Phoenix, the Phoenix Parks Foundation, members of the community and more first gathered to officially dedicate a community garden at Phoenix’s Mountain View Park, 9901 N. 7th Ave. There was a lot of excitement and interest in the garden, which allowed locals to “rent” a plot and grow vegetables, herbs and more.
However, over the years the garden became more or less abandoned, the soil unusable, the watering systems no longer working. Interestingly, it was another garden “loss” that helped turn the attention of one nonprofit organization toward this unused community garden.
Keep Phoenix Beautiful, which had a large project site known as PHX Renews at Central Avenue and Indian School Road, lost that site earlier this year due to the property owners wanting to put the land up for sale. While a smaller site was eventually located a few miles away, it seemed a good time for the organization to look for other potential garden projects in the community.
“After Keep Phoenix Beautiful lost our main garden site at Central & Indian School, the Phoenix Parks Department approached us about activating and managing the Mountain View Park garden site,” explains Tom Waldeck, president & CEO of Keep Phoenix Beautiful. “With our experience at PHX Renews, it was a perfect fit.”
After signing an agreement with the Parks Department, Keep Phoenix Beautiful set about assessing the irrigation, cleaning out the beds and ordering new dirt and compost.
Several tons of soil from Gro-Well in south Phoenix (www.gro-well.com) was purchased at a discounted price. Jeremy Vasquez, co-owner of Butler Hydroponics, located just down the road at 7th and Dunlap avenues, installed shut-off valves for watering at each box.
A “Planting Day” was held on Nov. 4, where members of the community were invited to check out the revamped garden, sign up for a box, and get information about what is in season for planting right now from Gail LaTour, a Master Gardener who will oversee Mountain View Park and offer gardener assistance.
“You have to be here to garden,” LaTour points out. “There is no automatic drip system. You have to turn your water on and off, as needed.” Gardeners are also responsible for keeping their area clean, with no empty plant containers or seed bags left laying around.
“This is your garden,” LaTour says. “I’m going to be here to help get you what you need. But I’m a part-timer. I expect this to be your community garden.” LaTour adds it is a great opportunity for families and small groups to grow their own herbs and vegetables, get outdoors and improve a vital neighborhood park.
Those interested in renting a garden box pay $60 for six months, which pays for the water and soil preparation. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call 602-314-6445. There is also a donation button on www.keepphxbeautiful.org, when you make your payment, indicate in the memo box that it is for the Mountain View Community Garden.