The Green Thumb: Sink roots into Tracy's community garden
by Kathy Thomsen / For the Tracy Press
Jul 11, 2013 | 2276 views | 0 0 comments | 265 265 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Looking for more space to garden? Or maybe you’ve never gardened before and would like to begin this year.

Perhaps you are looking to share your garden expertise, or lack of, with other gardeners. Maybe after sitting in an office all day, you have a desire to simply dig in the dirt in a safe and peaceful environment with other people doing the same.

And, of course, you just know the fresh vegetables you pick off your own plants will be several times tastier than what you get at the grocery store.

One option is gardening on a single piece of land collectively with a group of people. Community gardens provide fresh produce and plants, as well as satisfying labor, a sense of community and connection to the environment.

If the idea appeals to your inner gardener, just such a spot is available in Tracy at the intersection of MacArthur Drive, Mount Diablo Avenue and Third Street.

The property was originally intended to house a new church for Tracy First Presbyterian Church. After it sat empty for several years, however, plans changed. The late Rev. Stan Davis suggested using the property for a community garden.

A committee gathered, plans were made, the city of Tracy cooperated and now, three years later, 33 plots have been rented out.

The garden has a total of 44 plots, each one 25 feet by 12 feet with its own water source. The garden is surrounded by a fence of berries. If you haven't had a chance to pick any, they're delicious, but not easy to pick, which is the purpose of the fence.

All the gardeners have made their plots unique: some are artistic, some may include plants you’ve never heard of before. The fun part is discussing your own style and varieties of plants with the other gardeners.

There is a contract that details rules and regulations. An upfront deposit and yearly rental fee are required, both of which are very reasonable. The garden is “green,” with restrictions on what chemicals can be applied.

Several unclaimed plots have been planted with produce specifically to be delivered to Tracy Interfaith Ministries and McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter. Emerson House, which offers transitional living for men, has become involved and is raising produce on three plots.

For more information, or to sign up for a plot, call 835-3247 or email

The more the community gets involved, the more fun and beneficial gardening can be.

Not to mention healthier.

• University of California-certified master gardeners are available to answer gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 953-6112 or

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