The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Getting dirty is worth it

The benefits of community gardens are countless, the hardest part is getting a plot

Juan De Anda | Staff Writer
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Gardening has been praised for creating community, improving diets and beautifying neighborhoods while reducing crime, food costs and resource consumption.

While gardening may produce a bounty of social and personal advantages, it can be a complicated endeavor in a city environment.

Luckily Sacramento provides an outlet for those wishing to reap the benefits of a green thumb: Community gardens.

According to community garden manager Bill Maynard there are five community gardens in the Sacramento area.

“Our gardens vary from 10 plots to 54 plots. Many people use the plots: friends share plots, some are families, some students or retired persons from all walks of life,” Maynard says.

“The gardens meet many needs of a neighborhood,” he says. “Food access, beautification, community building, friendship, education, and the ability of growing fresh vine ripened produce in the city — you can’t beat all that!”

“I made a really delicious herb chicken dish the other day with my chives,” says biologist and avid gardener Kevin Marr. “And, oh my God, fresh cut herbs are amazing.

You don’t have to deal with the flavor that goes away when they are dried and bought from the store.”

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“I’m providing food for myself, I’m growing plants that give oxygen back into the atmosphere and I recycle all that I find into compost. I come here at least five days a week with my dog and it gives me something to do after work. It’s light exercise, and it’s good for the soul.”

City College art major Marion Guild says that you don’t need to go a community garden, but can convert any small backyard into a flourishing garden and still feel fulfillment.

“It was fulfilling to make a salad or stir fry from things in my backyard — a space that was only the size of a twin bed frame! 8 by 10. We once used an old iron bed frame, too. It was the gate and it was literally a real vegetable and flower bed.”

And although Guild doesn’t have the time to go to a community garden or her own space, she can’t stop gardening.

“I sprout beans in my kitchen for salads and grow herbs in pots. Gardening made me want to continue to grow food. You are giving life and it’s like a little family you have growing in your yard or pots. You and the plants are giving each other something beneficial. Plants are food, beauty, and they are so easy to grow.”

Those interested in planting a community garden, only need to do a few things, says Maynard. First, contact the garden manager, or city garden coordinator to check on plot availability and whether space is available, but you may end up on a wait list of up to 3 years.

Once you do have a plot, there are a few restrictions to be aware of.

“You can’t grow berries, cactus, morning glories, mint, bamboo, and other things that spread. You have to keep it weeded and used for growing, don’t let it lay unused.”

Lindley Karstens of provides this advice learned from gardening: “Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.”

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