About 20 people with an interest in starting a community garden in Temple Terrace gathered for the first time at Saturday afternoon to learn more about what such a project might entail.
Residents with growing experience, including a couple members of the Temple Terrace Garden Club, and others listened to Robin Milcowitz and Kitty Wallace share their experiences starting gardens in Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights, respectively.
“I think planning and getting your name out there—planning noisily—is a good idea,” Wallace said.
Both Milcowitz and Wallace said they had trouble finding sites for their gardens as the City of Tampa is reluctant to give away land.
But Temple Terrace residents might not have such a difficult time locating a plot for their garden. Resident said he has talked to James Chambers, the city’s director of , who seemed to be open to the idea.
Rimbey said he sees Temple Terrace’s community garden being a partnership between residents and the city. He said the city has between six and 20 acres on a TECO easement. There are about four potential TECO parcels off Davis Road that could be used.
TECO officials have indicated they may be willing to allow a community garden on county property just outside of Temple Terrace, north of Navajo Avenue across from McRae Road. TECO is building a substation on the property, but once it’s complete in six to nine months from now, they are open to discussions about a 7- or 8-acre parcel of land for use as a community garden, reported in a .
“We need to find out from James Chambers his preferences,” Rimbey said.
Milcowitz and Wallace also suggested the Temple Terrace group:
- Visit the American Community Garden Association website for information on how to structure themselves and avoid infighting
- Constantly recruit residents to be a part of the project
- Have the soil analyzed once a property is found
- Think about how plots will be divided and fees will be charged for those who use the garden (Seminole Heights, for example, charges $35 per year for individual plots that are six feet in diameter and $25 per year to work in the communal area)
- Consider rules for gardeners to follow (such as plot maintenance)
- Look at grants that are available for community gardens
- Start a community compost
- Think of ways to attract bees and butterflies to the garden
- Get a toolshed to organize tools and keep them locked up when they are not in use
“This is a great first meeting,” Milcowitz told the group.
Milcowitz is planning to speak at the Temple Terrace Garden Club’s Nov. 9 meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. at the .
The Temple Terrace Community Garden group will take a trip to visit a potential site for the garden at their next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.
To stay informed on this group, check Patch for updates and join the Temple Terrace Community Garden Facebook page. You can also share your ideas in the comments section below or on Facebook.