GARDENING GODDESS: Growing Space in High Demand at Local Community Gardens

Fenton Street Community GardenBeth Py-Lieberman in her plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden.

GARDENING GODDESS • BY KATHY JENTZ

Takoma Park and Silver Spring residents fill up the local community garden plot slots as soon as they open and the demand for more spots is great.

The first local Takoma-SS area community garden opened in May 2009 at Sligo Mill Overlook. Since then, four more community gardens have opened and all have current waitlists. Patricia Lynch (patricia.lynch@montgomeryparks.org), community garden administrator for the Montgomery Parks system, says you can still apply for space in 2013 by going to the online form (http://www.montgomeryparks.org/permits/find/community_gardens_program.shtm). Plots may open up as the summer vacation period heats up and folks abandon their growing spaces for various reasons (moving away, family illness, etc.)

The wait lists are rebooted annually and if you are interested in a plot in 2014, you should fill out a new application when the new years’ forms go live in the web site (around Feb 3, 2014). Pat advises that you can apply for more than one community garden at the same time to increase your odds of getting in.

Pat and David Vismara, Horticultural Services Division Chief, are always scouting new possible locations on county park land and school property. They do consider other privately owned sites, though it is more complicated to get permissions and long-term agreements in those cases.

Fenton Street Community Garden

Beth Py-Lieberman in her plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden.

The demand for more growing spaces in the down county area can conflict with other green space needs where there is such limited land availability. “Reports from early in the program were that people were hesitant to have the gardens in their community,” commented Pat. “Now we see a much higher level of acceptance of them. After people are seeing how they operate, they see it is a benefit not a problem.”

Meanwhile, gardeners may be losing some of the growing space they have at Sligo Mill Overlook, “The community is a looking at the playground that may impact the size of the garden,” explained Pat. “Depending on how the playground is sighted they could lose some plots, but it could take a year or so to decide. There is a possibility of gaining plots uphill as well. We will have to see how it unfolds as ADA requirements for new playgrounds include that they be on a 1% grade site with nearby handicap parking.”

Takoma Park and Silver Spring Community Gardens:

• Fenton Street Local Park
7904 Fenton St, Silver Spring, MD
Offers 42 plots. Plots are either 200 or 400 square feet.
Water and deer fencing are available.

• King Street Park.
7980 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD
Offers 27 plots. Each plot is 200 square feet.
Water and deer fencing are available.

• Long Branch Community Garden
at the Long Branch Community Recreation
8700 Piney-Branch Rd, Silver Spring, MD
Offers16 plots. Each plot is 200 square feet.
Water and deer fencing are available.

• Maple Avenue
7620 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD
The garden is not on park land. It runs along Maple Ave in Takoma Park and is an above ground container garden on an apartment parking lot. Each container is 2 ft x 6 ft and has a water reserve so they are self-wicking. Container water reserves are filled 3 times a year by park staff.

• Sligo Mill Overlook Community Garden New Applications
6400 Orchard Ave., Takoma Park, MD
Offers 34 plots. Each plot is either 200 or 400 square feet.
Water, deer fencing, tool storage and seating are available.

About the Author:

Kathy Jentz is Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine.
Washington Gardener magazine, is the only gardening publication published specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs.
The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners. They have real-world knowledge and practical advice with the same problems you experience in your own gardens. They share their thoughts on what to plant in deep shade, how to cover bare spots, which annuals work best throughout the humid DC summers, and much more. If you are a DC area gardener, you’ll love Washington Gardener magazine!
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About the Author

Kathy Jentz
Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener magazine and is a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Washington Gardener is all about gardening where you live. She can be reached at @WDCgardener on Twitter and welcomes your local DMV gardening questions.

2 Comments on "GARDENING GODDESS: Growing Space in High Demand at Local Community Gardens"

  1. Just an FYI, there are other garden plots available through the Montgomery County Parks. I live in Silver Spring but go to the garden at Briggs-Chaney because the “city” plots were unavailable. Just wanted to let people know there are more than the ones listed in the article.

  2. Thanks, HeatherG. We decided not to include the Briggs garden in this listing, even though technically it is at an SS address, as it was too far out for the inside-the-beltway target readers of The Voice.
    Pat Lynch did mention Briggs’ plots are fully occupied (a first! since being administered under the MC program) and has a wait list going now as well, so no plots currently available there at the moment but things do change quickly as “life happens.”

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