Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Valley

Turns out I get to do even more gardening this year. I've been on the waiting list for a space in one of the City of Bellingham's four Community Gardens for months. Longer actually than I've even known about the Cordata Community Gardens. Finally, I received word from the City that I get one of their spots. Seems they've had some "no-show" gardeners from past years, have several "final notices" out and can let me know this week which space will be mine at the Happy Valley Community Gardens.
Originally called the Sven Hoyt Community Garden and leased for years now by the City of Bellingham, the Happy Valley Community Gardens have been referred to locally for as long as I can recall as one of those "hippy" gardens, so I decided to pay a visit there today to see just what I might be getting myself in for. Perhaps the locals labeled it a hippy garden because even by the early 1970's, it was well known that it was an organic garden. Possibly one of the first organic community gardens in the city of Bellingham, before organic gardening was cool, it seemed that anyone interested in growing their own vegetables without the addition of poisons and pesticides was labeled a hippy. Isn't it interesting how times have changed!
This year-round community garden, located on the west side of 32nd Street in the Happy Valley neighborhood, is in a wonderful location that gets full sun. Quite a large garden area, I couldn't tell how many spaces there were in all as many have been combined over the years because the City allows families to rent up to four spaces each. The garden spots there were in a variety of stages of gardening - some quite elaborately fenced and colorfully decorated.
Other spaces appeared to be more of a work-in-progress, and others looked to have been completely abandoned. No doubt, some of the previous owners of those abandoned-looking garden spots must be the recipients of those "final notices" my contact from the City mentioned, and one of those abandoned-looking spots will soon be mine. Looks like by mid week I will have lots of hard work to get started on!
Generous in size at 10' X 20', the spaces allow for ample room in which to put several raised beds and still have a walkway. As I wondered around viewing the gardens, I liked the look of this spot the best. With this as a model, I would like to do something similar with my space. I could include a barrel on a stand of some sort for water storage, add a small composting or worm bin, include a container for storage of my hose and garden tools and perhaps even add an old chair for when I want to simply sit and admire my own little "hippy" garden.
Since the Happy Valley Community Gardens is less than a block from what was my father's favorite place to get fresh produce, Joe's Gardens, I couldn't resist stopping there too. What a score I felt I made. Not only did I pick out the most beautiful giant head of pesticide-free red-tipped leaf lettuce that I've practically ever seen in my life (and for only $1.25), I picked up some beautiful bedding plants for my new garden space - again, extremely reasonably priced when compared to the local chain-store garden centers. Acorn squash, spaghetti squash, yellow patty pan squash, an early green cabbage, red cabbage, even artichokes, I can hardly wait to get them in the ground.
The Happy Valley Community Gardens.



  1. I can't believe there are no comments !

    This is a lovely post, full of interesting stuff and great pictures.


  2. Thank you, it really is a fun place to garden ...


Thanks for commenting!