A new place to grow in Pacific Beach; community garden opening at St. Andrews
Published - 05/04/17 - 03:09 PM | 1793 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bit by bit, progress is being made adding new community gardens in Pacific Beach.

The latest announcement is that St. Andrews by-the Sea Episcopal Church in PB at 1050 Thomas Ave. is converting part of its front lawn for garden space.

Leigh Adams, who's shepherding St. Andrews new garden addition, said the notion of the church joining the local gardening mix was suggested by Paula Gandolfo, PB's “godmother of gardening.” Gandolfo has been promoting the activity far and wide, including lobbying to have a community garden included in the ongoing De Anza Revitalization Plan for redeveloping the regional park.

“I'm the church's garden coordinator, and I'm in the process of forming a leadership committee,” said Adams, adding they're still one member short.

“We need to fill a big need to find somebody willing to step up and be secretary,” she said noting, “Once that's done, we can begin planning for the garden.”

Adams said there will be about 20 plots in 4-foot by 8-foot and 4-foot by 6-foot plots available to local gardeners to use on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It will cost users $20 to $25 a month for water, insurance, mulch, compost and maintenance of their plots, which will mainly grow vegetables in planters,” Adams said. “We're also hoping to put in a few fruit, citrus and fig trees on a sloped terrace in the church's front grassy area left of the entrance.”

Gardeners will be expected to devote eight volunteer hours annually for upkeep of theirs' and others' plots in the church garden.

Gandolfo talked about gardening's importance.

“The best part of a community garden is the community,” she said.

“It's a place where people learn new skills, develop friendships and promotes healthy eating.”

Noting there's no "available" land for community gardens in PB, Gandolfo pointed out places like Crown Point Park, with it's vast area of passive use, can't be converted into a Community Garden because the city's policy about public park land is that 'passive space' can not be re-purposed. 

“Hence, my application to the city in 2015 for 1.5 acres of the De Anza Revitalization Project,” continued Gandolfo. “If the space is designated as a community garden, then a community garden can be included and the PB community garden can once again thrive. That's about 80 gardeners, plus new members.”

Even individuals like Russel Goltz, who lives in a condominium on Mission Boulevard at Opal Street in PB, are also getting into the gardening act.

Goltz's sidewalk in front of his condo complex had a hedge along the sidewalk for 35 years. He's found a “higher” purpose for it.

“It was a big ugly hedge and we took it out and planted vegetables, including cherry tomato plants in a 2 1/2-foot-wide, 115-foot-long stretch,” he said, adding he has kale and 12-foot-high sunflowers growing in his narrow gardening patch. “I have carrots and radishes and a little herb garden with sage, oregano, basil, chives, scallions, cilantro and garlic.”

Referring to his homespun garden as “a community experiment,” Goltz commented, “It's not a huge garden, but it's noticeable on a corner.”

Goltz pointed out people need to “think outside the box” sometimes in re-imagining outdoor space that could be re-purposed.

“There are plants that grow in the dark without a lot of sun,” he noted. “People have shaded areas. I found another little area I'm tearing out and putting in carrots and things that grow.”

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