Community garden sprouts up in Silver Spring
Parks department collecting applications to cultivate plot of land
Downcounty residents will enter a lottery to cultivate a garden plot now that Fenton Street Urban Park was given the green thumbs up to host community gardens.
The Montgomery County Department of Parks is accepting applications through Feb. 10 from those interested in renting a plot of land during the coming growing season, said Ursula Sabia Sukinik, community garden coordinator. A third party will draw names Feb. 11 and winners will be notified in early March.
"Depending on the weather, we're hoping to have the garden tilled, marked and laid out for April," Sabia Sukinik said.
Those living within a half-mile radius of the park have first dibs on a garden plot; their names will go in the hat for the first pull. A second pull will include anyone outside of that half-mile radius.
The gardens will include 27 plots measuring 200 square feet and 15 plots measuring 400 square feet.
Parks will provide water, mulch and woodchips for gardeners, she said. All plots will have deer fencing.
In addition to accepting applications, Sabia Sukinik said she's looking for a volunteer coordinator who can schedule cistern filling and ensure that gardeners are following protocol. The volunteer will receive a plot free of charge in exchange for the services.
Fenton Street Urban Park expanded in 2009 when Montgomery County Park and Planning acquired two parcels of land, said Bill Gries, land acquisition specialist for Park and Planning. One parcel came from James J. Madden Inc., a plumbing and heating contractor, and another from the trust of John P. Madden, totaling about 0.4 acres.
The parcels contained a house, a small warehouse and a garage that has since been removed, Gries said. Park and Planning wants to acquire two more parcels of land owned by Philadelphia Avenue Associates and a right-of-way owned by the county which would expand Fenton Urban Park to a total of 1.3 acres, he said.
Because the land once housed a plumbing company, Parks needed to test the soil. All tests came out clean, Sabia Sukinik said.
Montgomery County now boasts 260 garden plots spread out over four community gardens. The existing gardens are the Sligo Mill Overlook Community Garden in Takoma Park, the Briggs Chaney Community Garden in Silver Spring, the Bradley Park Community Garden in Bethesda and the South Germantown Recreational Park in Boyds. A total of 300 gardeners use this public land to grow their own fruits and vegetables at a low cost. A 200-square-foot plot that costs $30 per year and a 400-square-foot plot that costs $50 per year.
The Fenton Street Urban Park Community Garden is temporary because the county plans to develop the space into a "gateway" park, a welcoming green space for those entering Silver Spring from the south, Sabia Sukinik said.
"I think it's probably fair to assume that it's going to be three to five years before there's going to be any movement on the gateway park," she said.
want your own garden?
Find the application at
Mail completed application to:
M-NCPPC Community Gardens Program at 16641 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville MD 20855 or e-mail to the attention of Ursula Sabia Sukinik at Ursula.firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Fenton UP application"