Monday, September 12, 2011

Tacoma Community Garden Tour 2011

This past weekend was the Tacoma Community Garden Harvest Tour.  Terry and I took the opportunity to visit a few gardens we had never seen before and were impressed by the diversity of garden styles and gardening techniques used.  We even gleaned a few great ideas that we want to try out.  

The most impressive garden we toured was the newly built Gallucci Learning Garden at S. 14th and G St. in the Hilltop Neighborhood.  It was organized by the Guadalupe Land Trust as an engaging demonstration garden to teach and inspire the community and children to grow edibles.  The garden showcases many different growing techniques in a very beautiful, well-designed space that makes great use the steeply sloped once vacant property.

Architectural Model of the Garden
(note all the terracing)

Large paver entry and patio for gatherings.
Salamander sculpture welcomes visitors.

Great use of block retaining walls to terrace the slope.

Bamboo arches and trellises built by local SE Asian gardeners are featured throughout the garden.

Burlap sacks are filled with soil to grow veggies and flowers.  They also serve as a small retaining wall for the terrace behind it.  (I love this idea!!!)  Very inexpensive way to create the sides of a raised bed.  Children in 4-H are learning to garden here.

This wagon contains straw bales that are used for planting.

This raised bed is bordered by blocks on one side and a double layer of cardboard covered with burlap on the other side.  Wooden stakes hold the cardboard in place.  (Love it!)  Another inexpensive (perhaps FREE!) way to border a raised bed.  I imagine you could just add more layers of cardboard as they decay.  Also, cardboard can be shaped to make curves easily for more creative raised bed shapes. 

The wonderful host at this garden noted that the community has embraced this space, but it is challenging to get younger adults and teens from the neighborhood to volunteer and get excited about growing food.  The majority of the active gardeners in the immediate area are elderly.  

With forty-five community gardens in Tacoma/Pierce County, we only had time to visit four on Saturday.  But we came home excited and inspired by the ideas we saw and the enthusiastic gardeners we met.  With more community gardens popping up around the city/county, we know that the seeds are planted and with time and persistence they will grow.


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