Community garden marks 5 years
The Mukilteo Community Garden is celebrating five years of growth this year.
The non-profit garden annually donates 1,000 pounds or more of produce to the Mukilteo Food Bank, Everett Women and Children’s Shelter, Northshore Christian Church Pantry, Cocoon House, and the Everett Gospel Mission.
The nearly 1 acre garden at 44th Ave. W. and 76th St. S.W. in Japanese Gulch devotes 1,200 square feet to growing crops for food banks.
In the remaining space, residents can rent out beds to grow their own food.
The garden also offers classes throughout the year on how to grow a variety of vegetables.
“It just makes me feel wonderful to know that we’re helping children to not be hungry and to eat healthy,” volunteer Debra Bordsen said. “It’s also great fun. We have a lot of people at the garden who volunteer, and it’s fun to get together and do something good.”
In 2009, the city of Mukilteo approached master gardeners Lois Brown and Lynette Gardiner about starting a community garden in Japanese Gulch after getting several requests.
With the help of master gardeners and other volunteers, they transformed a field of blackberries and rubble into a lush, producing garden in a matter of months.
“It was just a volunteer grassroots effort, literally,” said Bordsen, Brown’s daughter.
“When we started, everything had to be done by hand,” said volunteer Bobbie Bassett. “We couldn’t bring equipment in.”
The garden has developed in its five years, expanding from its original 10 rentable beds to 51.
Community donations have provided the garden with a fence, shed, two greenhouses, water and electricity – and lots of mulch. The garden can now grow crops during the winter season and make its own starts.
Gardeners routinely grow tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, onions, broccoli, kale and squash.
After five years, the community garden has a lot to celebrate, however, the future of the garden is uncertain.
The garden is located on city property, and can only stay there as long as the city allows. The master gardeners created the garden in 2009 knowing it was a temporary deal.
There have been talks of building a baseball or soccer fields or a senior center in its place. According to volunteers, the city hasn’t given the garden any notice to move out – yet.
“We’re just going to continue on doing positive things for the community, and when the time comes, we’ll just take a look around for another place to go,” Bordsen said.
If and when the city does decide to develop the land for other uses, volunteers say that everything in the garden can easily be “transplanted.”
On Sept. 21, the garden will unveil their third annual yearly calendar at ACE Hardware in Mukilteo. The calendar is the only fundraiser for the community garden.
It features photos from the garden, as well as planting tips.
Purchased your calendar at Papa Murphy’s, ACE Hardware, the Chamber of Commerce and The Beacon for $8 each.
Although the future of the garden isn’t certain, gardeners say it has become a center for community activity.
Bassett said that sometimes she and other volunteers will arrive to do some gardening and find residents having their lunch in the garden, surrounded by the growing vegetables.
“It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, because it’s all been done by volunteers and donations,” she said. “We’ve looked at other community gardens in the area, and this one is outstanding. Absolutely outstanding.”
The Mukilteo Community Garden hosted an After Hours Social in the garden to celebrate its fifth anniversary in July. It featured live music from The Charlies, food and garden tours.
At the garden social, the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce presented gardeners with “The Golden Hoe” in honor of the garden’s five years in Japanese Gulch.
For more information on the availability of planting beds, volunteering, gardening classes and making donations, visit the garden at 4005 76th St. or go online to www.mukilteogarden.org.
Zoe Jovanovich is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.