Dear PoP – Seeking public garden space

Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

“Dear PoP,

i live in a second floor condo in mt. pleasant….and would love to have a garden. even just a little space to grow tomatoes.

i’ve asked around a bit, but no one seems to know of any unused yard area in the mt. pleasant/columbia heights area that could possibly be adapted for a community garden. i would be willing to rent some space for a reasonable fee.

there must be others around who would like to do the same…any ideas?”

Back in January 2009 I posted about a great group called Sharing Backyards. I think this might be just what you’re looking for. Does anyone have any other recs for a community garden? I’ll gladly repost the info from Sharing Backyards:

“One of the biggest challenges facing urban gardeners is access to land. It’s hard to garden in an apartment, but most of the community gardens in the city have years-long waitlists. So what’s a would-be gardener to do?

Sharing Backyards was created to address that need! The website encourages urban gardening by connecting people who have space to garden and are willing to share with people who would like to have a gardening space. Whether you’re an apartment dweller in search of some good earth or a property-owner with land to share, this site’s for you.

The DC chapter of Sharing Backyards is brand new, and we hope you all will take a minute to visit the website. Go to to add your listing to the city map and help us get the project off the ground.”

9 Comment

  • Post on the mount pleasant forum under “Hot Questions”. I seem to remember someone asking there for an unused yard and getting some takers. There was a community garden at Bancroft at one time but maybe it’s not around anymore.

    • I have a friend who was just tending the garden at Bancroft on Sunday and said it was looking a little neglected, so maybe they could use some help.

  • There’s lots of extra space in Rock Creek park. Just go plant some stuff and don’t tell anybody.

  • We live in MtP and have a big empty backyard! Let us know if you want to talk about it?

  • There is an active community garden on the east side of Bancroft Elementary School (on the 3400 block of Mount Pleasant Street NW). There are a number of plots, though I’m not sure if any are open. Usually there is someone working on their plot on weekends.

  • There is a list of community gardens here – some are run by DC Dept of Parks and Recreation. The plans for the new Justice Park (coming to 14th and Euclid)include community garden plots.

    Kelly Melstead is the contact person for the DC Parks and Rec run community gardens ([email protected]).

  • Interesting that you chose that picture. That’s a shot of the garden next to Children’s Studio School at 1301 V Street NW. I built that garden I guess it was four years ago. It’s a large space–no soil, just rubber pads over asphalt. It was obvious we needed to build containers, but not so obvious what material to use. We did not want to use treated lumber because this was to be mostly an edible garden. We looked at Trex–made out of recycled wood and plastic–but it was so expensive. So were cedar, redwood, etc. We finally opted to build frames out of untreated 2x4s and cover them with outdoor-grade plywood. Unfortunately, the containers only lasted about three years before they started to seriously decompose. My daughter no longer attends and I’m no longer involved with the garden. It looks like someone decided to replace the wooden containers with bath tubs. Very clever. The metal benches you see were donated by the condo association at 13th and Clifton. It’s a fabulous garden with lots of fruit trees, witch hazel, jasmin. Salad greens and herbs grew liberally. And there’s a small pond with water plants like cattails and lilies. I’m glad to see the garden active again. Do visit.

  • So good to read about all of this! I wrote a post myself on Artful Mom DC about kids and gardening but had yet to hear about Sharing Backyards or the gardens at the schools mentioned above. Thanks!

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