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Natural Perspectives: Community garden is set to bloom

December 29, 2010|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
  • Huntington Beach's future community garden site is now a compacted gravel parking lot. Vic and Lou's future plot is right about where that mud puddle sits.
Huntington Beach's future community garden site… (HB Independent )

The people of Huntington Beach received a great Christmas present — final permission from Southern California Edison to begin building a community garden on Edison property at the end of Atlanta Avenue. And a happy new year!

Vic and I will be among the many new gardeners who will cultivate a plot there. We have tried so hard to grow our own food in our small yard. But we can't grow much with the limited space there. Our fruit trees helped push up the poundage of our annual harvest this year, but we grew only about 200 pounds of produce in 2010. Our new 15-by-20-foot plot at the community garden will give us a lot more space. And it won't be in the shade like our home garden.

And there is more good news to report. The Huntington Beach Community Garden group and the Orange County Conservation Corps applied jointly for a grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing California. The proposal has been funded, so the garden group will have the help of the strong young men and women of the corps for some of the heavy work of clearing the ground.

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I took a look last week at the future garden site. It lies under the power lines at the end of Atlanta Avenue. The garden group sure has its work cut out for it. Part of the site was compacted by Edison and covered with several inches of gravel to serve as a staging area for Edison's heavy equipment. That area had several inches of standing water after the storms of last week, which dumped 7.5 inches of rain on Huntington Beach.

That's the section where Vic's and my future plot lies. I wanted a plot that was close to the entry gate, but that area has the most compacted soil. It's going to be a challenge converting a parking lot to a produce-producing plot.

The rain is feeding weeds in the rest of the future garden. Non-native grasses, mustard and wild radish are growing like — um, well, they're growing like weeds. So the people who will be growing veggies in the back half of the future garden area will have a huge weed seed bank to contend with. We're going to need the courage of pioneers to face the challenge of being the first gardeners on this site.

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