The Brooktrails tennis courts were given new life on the morning of June fourth, when two-dozen volunteers helped tear out asphalt and took the first steps of creating a newcommunity garden. The tennis courts had become a wasteland of broken bottles, cracked concrete and blackberry vines until Brooktrails residents decided to turn this eyesore into an asset. Since sunlight is at a premium in this redwood-dense neighborhood, the tennis courts offer a perfect location to catch some rays and locals were enthusiastic about repurposing the site.
Creating the Brooktrails Community Garden is a massive undertaking and has only been possible through a group effort. Monthly meetings at the Brooktrails Lodge garnered input from numerous community members, many of whom showed up for community garden workdays. The California Conservation Corps also pitched in, ripping out blackberry bramble and building redwood garden boxes side by side with Brooktrails residents.
John Johnson, the new owner of the Brooktrails Lodge, used his track loader to pile chunks of broken asphalt and clear the earth for the garden boxes. He has plans to open a fine dining restaurant and a pizza place at the Lodge that incorporates fresh, organic produce from the community garden. Johnson has offered scholarships for residents who are unable to pay the fifty-dollar price tag on a garden plot in exchange for ripe fruits and vegetables for his chef. He has also volunteered the Lodge as the site for monthly community garden meetings.
“We accomplished quite a lot today, but there is still more work to be done,” said Garden Manager, Tim Ramming, “We are trying to put in half of the garden plots as phase one of our project. Looking towards the future we hope to have all the beds built, an arbor covering the center, a green house and a permanent toolshed.”
“We’ve sold sixteen plots so far, with only one left that we’ll develop during phase one,” reported Freddie Long, Treasurer, “We’ll establish a waiting list for people who want to be included in the next phase of garden building.”
The Brooktrails Community Garden will be accessible to all members and some of the asphalt will be left in place to create handicap parking spots and allow wheelchair access to several raised garden beds. Each garden plot measures 4 feet by 16 feet and costs fifty dollars. Included in the price of the plot are soil, compost, drip irrigation, access to communal tools and resources, seeds and a Brooktrails Garden Project t-shirt. Communal membership is available for ten dollars and the benefits include invitations to all garden events, a t-shirt and a share of the bounty from the communal harvest.
While much was accomplished during the workday, there is more work to be done before Brooktrails gardeners can finally get their heirloom tomatoes in the ground. Several more community workdays are being scheduled for this summer and all are invited to join the effort.
15,000 sq feet
10 raised beds
23 in ground plots
arugula, beets, bush beans, bok choi, broccoli, corn, eggplant, fava beans, kale, peas, spinach, squash, swiss chard, tatsoi, tomatoes,
POUNDS PER YEAR
Call the Mendocino County Gardens Project Office at 462-1958
Sign up to keep up with what's growin' on
around Mendocino County and Lake Counties!