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In My Garden: Dru & Jeannie in Italian Village

Anne Evans Anne Evans
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Dru and Jeannie Simmons are not new to gardening. They have been participating in the Italian Village community garden for a number of years. But this year, the plot was sold and no longer able to be used as a community garden. Rather than give up, they teamed up with 17 other households to create a new garden. It has been pretty successful so far for most of the households. You might even say there has been a smidge of garden envy going on. Read on to find out more about what they are growing and what their plot looks like.

To get a spot in the lot, neighbors wanting in needed to pay $80 for the cinder blocks to mark out the beds and the dirt to fill them. The beds are approximately 3′ wide and 14′ deep. They have marked their plot out in 15″ squares to help with neatness (and looks). Although these were not to be elaborate because if the land were to sell the beds had to be ripped out asap, some people have gotten pretty fancy with their trellises and cages. Some pictures of the overall gardens below:

Dru and Jeannie’s plot (pictured below) contains: roma, red cherry and yellow cherry tomatoes, lemongrass, jalapeno, anaheim and serrano peppers, two zucchini, white pancake squash, arugula, spinach, chard, green onion and white and red radishes. The blocks are filled in with a border of marigolds. They also have a few herbs in containers on their backyard patio. This year, Dru grew everything from seed. He estimates he spent about $40 total on seeds from Oakland Nursery. The arugula has been a great producer this year; next year they will probably plant about half as much. They are pretty happy with their garden. It only needs weeded a couple of times a week. It is great though because that is time often spent hanging out with other neighbors caring for their garden. Usually, community garden plots face the obstacle of obtaining water. A neighbor has offered to provide the water for everyone and then estimate the overage on their water bill and divide the extra cost with the gardeners. Nothing beats growing your own food!

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