Garden planning update 10-6-14

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Dear Community Garden neighbors;


Thanks again for your interest and good ideas for our community garden. Here’s status report (privately for our group). We have to submit plan with budget within a few weeks to get approval to use this plot of space.



It is blacktop space so we need raised beds (or pots, etc.) that can be rolled away easily and quickly when the organization needs the space for other activities.


We’ve had some interesting ideas from Glen, Christie and Tara, plus resource suggestions from Jack on NextDoor. Just to start, we’re looking at these specs:



 Just to have some outdoor grow space for neighbors who have little or no outdoor space for plants. Once we prove this works for us and does not interfere w/ organization granting space, we can grow our ideas and propose larger concepts for spacial use.



I cannot give this information until our plan is approved because we don’t want to erode chance of approval by having many people asking questions of staff at this business. It’s in our neighborhood within the Jack London District area, walkable from all the loft/apartment buildings in the area.



There are many big ideas we could plan but they must fit size, budget and mostly volunteer time to create.


We are all volunteers working full time, running our own businesses or just busy with life! We have 4 sponsors for in-kind discounts or donations (i.e. plants, mulch, etc.)


In order to have the best chance to gain full approval, we are required to start with a  simple, very low budget and self-managed & rented plots. Scale Plan of plot is available upon request, albeit hard to read in 1/8″scale. Here’s a translation to oversimplify:


We have 2 areas of usable space within one larger area.


Area 1:

17′ 7″ x 16′ 6″   – has space for #3 – 8 ft. rolling beds (or #6 – 4 ft. beds – or whatever configuration of beds/pots/barrels/etc. we decide upon) plus #3 pots for trees or bushes.


Area 2: 

24′ 8″ x 16′ 7″  – has space for #6 – 8 ft. or #12 – 4 ft. rolling beds.




Raised beds full of wet soil are extremely heavy. Even if heavy weight casters could be attached to the legs of the bed without splitting the wood, they would still be inordinately heavy to move.



The entire garden needs to be rolled away (to fit a small area where it can be chained) in 5” or less, ideally. We do not have ‘Staff’ to handle this so must make it extremely easy for 2 organization members to move, as needed, for other activities.



We have not definitively decided this yet because much of the design depends on budget and resources. Design will follow practicality on this project.


The organization will require a nice cohesive look to the garden areas and will likely have input on design. Mostly, it’s critical to find and get an estimate on how beds can rollaway before more time is spent on design ideas.** (see addendum below)



The garden areas are not behind a locked fence, but with open access to the public. Gardeners risk theft or vandalism that simply cannot be controlled at this space.



Again, we want this to be low cost, low maintenance, created quickly by Dec. 2014, if we gain approval. Ideally, we’d like donations from the community rather than having to purchase expensive items. But we need to maintain cohesive design so it doesn’t reflect poorly on the organization.

  • Gardens need to be maintained.
  • Guidelines need to be developed and executed.
  • Volunteer time will be needed to get the basic beds (or pots or whatever we use) set up.
  • Someone will need to coordinate useage, budget, guideline enforcement, renting garden space, any issues (or great ideas!)  that arise, and liaison with the organization.
  • Procedures and processes need to be developed so that when one volunteer must leave, others can take over.
  • Policy for garden bed rental will need to be developed and equitably implemented.

IF YOU CAN HELP PLS. NOTIFY ME SO I CAN START A LIST OF THOSE WILLING. At this time, the goal will be to give first priority for garden space rental to those who put in the most volunteer hours!



We’d like to submit our plan and budget by Nov.10 to get approval in time to begin creating the garden area and ideally planting before the rains begin. That means we need Answers, Costs, Solutions, and Volunteers now!!!! If the plan is not submitted in time, we may lose the space.




What we’ve investigated: Tara checked with Bicycle Coffee about making metal frames large enough to hold heavy, rollaway raised beds. Unfortunately, they are not available to do this for any price, while busy with their own internal projects.


Does anyone have a source for carpenters, wood, casters and handles? My alternative idea was to make rolling “wagons” so those could be easily rolled away and far easier to build.


For area 1:  One –  13’x7’  “Wagons” (rolling platforms) to hold a 2 beds and 2 bushes +

One- 13’ x 2’ wagon for one bed and one bush


For area 2: #3-  19’ x 2’ wagons for 2 beds each



The organization will likely not fund an entire project so my guess is that we’ll need each gardener to absorb cost for their own materials, maintenance, water useage, etc. through a 6 month rental price. For example, if the total budget came to $11,000 and 4’ space was allocated to each gardener, we’d have 18 spaces renting for $611 each. If the organization picks up part of the cost, rentals can be reduced. WEIGH IN NOW ON YOUR THOUGHTS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Can you see now why I need your help budgeting?????



Let’s plan a meeting on Sunday 11/2 at 5pm so we can lock in rest of the details, estimates and early plan ideas.





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