Scratch Your Gardening Itch

Short of ideas for your Grow Your Own Garden? Recently moved into a condo with no available garden area? Living in your van? You might want to drive or stroll over to the IFAS Urban Garden located on Superior Street near the IFAS center Started decades ago, the IFAS garden provides a limited number of plots for folks who are sans soil. For folks who have both soil and sunlight, but might lack ideas, the garden is a creativity incubator.

At a recent open house, Master Gardeners, under the leadership of Mary Puckett, Veggie Gardener Wizard, informed novices and pros alike about bowl gardens, pollinator gardens, Square Foot Gardens and other configurations that looked they belonged at the French Court of Louis the Sun King. Everything was beautiful. Nothing reeked of disheveled 60’s plots.

Speaking of reeking, the compost piles at the Urban Garden were models of non- odiferous excellence. Made of recycled wood (perhaps pallets) the piles promised lots of rich soil for fall planting. Structure assures that compost can be moved from bin to bin without sacroiliac sacrifice, a real zapper of gardening enthusiasm.

For folks whose ideas of urban farming go beyond the beautiful bowl or the raised bed, the back field of the Urban Garden is full of ideas and also some available plots. Most interesting are the tomatoes grown in the blue buckets. Marching in orderly rows like Marines on parade, the buckets present a vista of easy care harvest. Directions for creating the buckets can be found by searching

IMG_20150619_092721_207IMG_20150619_093659_200Sitting under a shady fig arbor at the crossroads between the  front and back yard, Sam Eisenberg, Garden Historian and raconteur, explained a framed picture of the garden’s past. The Urban Garden had moved many times before it came to Superior Street and Sam had been a part of each move. A retired engineer who has worked on more volunteer projects than Jimmy Carter, Sam and his wife Neena have not only gardened but have also helped landscape Habitat Houses, shot surveyor line , and encouraged gardeners at every level.

And that, of course, is one of the powers of gardening——-the power of personal connection. Gardeners speak a common language: mulching, weeding, seeding, irrigation etc. Gardeners give. They share squash, stories, implements and sometimes seeds. On occasion, they exhibit attitude as was expressed on the bumper sticker, “You Cross fit? I Garden!”



About Victoria Freeman