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Work still needed for community garden

Natural Perspectives

June 30, 2010|Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • The Southern California Edison property at the end of Atlanta Avenue is flat, but this portion is covered with gravel and heavily compacted.
The Southern California Edison property at the end of… (Lou Murray, HB Independent )

While Vic was in Morro Bay with one of his birding classes last weekend, I worked on plans for the new Huntington Beach Community Garden. Sorry, Fountain Valley, membership is limited to residents of Huntington Beach. The garden group expects to be able to set foot on site this month at the Southern California Edison property at the end of Atlanta Avenue.

I attended both the fundraising and operations committee meetings this past week. The air in those meeting rooms was positively charged with excitement, as after a year and a half of hard work, the group is finally going to get its garden space.

Dave Dominguez and Jim Engle in Community Services have worked just as hard to get agreements hammered together to make a community garden a reality. And City Councilman Devin Dwyer has pushed hard to make it happen. But a lot of hard work remains. It's going to take money to turn the land under the power lines into a functional garden, and it's going to take a lot more hard work to implement the plans for 84 individual/family garden plots on this property.

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One of the challenges the group faces is that part of the land has been covered with gravel and compacted by heavy equipment. Southern California Edison mowed down the weeds recently, and we can see the nice flat expanse that awaits us. But this isn't pristine farmland. The property has seen some hard use, and weeds have grown there for decades. It's nice to know that the hard clay will grow something.

First, the group must clear the property of weeds and gravel. That is going to require the use of a 40-horsepower tractor with a scraper and scoop. Rental is $400 a day, but the good news is that the group has a qualified volunteer operator. Before the plots can be laid out, the edges of this one-acre property will need to be hand-cleared, and that's a place where the members of the garden club and interested members of the public can pitch in. Then the group will test the soil for heavy metals and other potential toxins. That's another expense.

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