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Rent a garden at SCC for $90 a year

You can rent a 20 by 30 foot garden at Scottsdale Community College for $90 a year!


Community garden grows on college campus

by Diana Balazs - Nov. 20, 2009 10:34 AM

The Arizona Republic .

For the past 30 years, Scottsdale resident Joe Lobue has tended to his vegetable garden at Scottsdale Community College.

Lobue, 66, a retired maintenance employee with St. Daniel the Prophet Catholic Church in Scottsdale, grows Italian zucchini, fava beans, peas, onions, artichokes and eggplants. An old monkey bar serves as a support for the plastic he uses to protect his tomatoes.

The community garden started in what today is a campus parking lot. The garden now spreads across 6 acres on the northeastern corner of the campus at 9000 E. Chaparral Road. The public can rent one or more plots and plant to their hearts' desire. The annual cost to rent a 20- by 30-foot plot is $10 for insurance, $40 to rent the plot, plus $40 for water. New members pay a one-time equipment assessment of $62.

Lobue said the secret to a successful garden is water and manure.

"The only thing I grow in my beds is organic," he said.

The garden is a well-kept secret, said Scottsdale resident Paul Kuffler, president of the Scottsdale Community Garden Club, which oversees the garden. The club meets the second Saturday of the month at SCC except in June, July and August.

The club, formed in 1976, has about 65 members. It subleases the land from SCC, which leases its campus from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Kuffler said the garden was there long before it was in vogue to be green.

"It just points out if you have common sense and do it the way they did it 50 years ago, 100 years ago, it was green then, too," he said.

Scottsdale resident John Clark, 75, the club's secretary, has gardened at SCC for a decade.

"I had a friend that was gardening here and I'd always worked on my lawn and yard. It's hard to grow a garden at home," Clark said.

His garden includes yellow squash, broccoli, green beans and corn.

"I just picked about 70 ears," Clark said.

Kuffler, 70, said the plots are rented by people of all ages.

"Young people and old people like John and me - a real cross section," he said.

There are 177 garden plots and 117 are rented.

Mesa resident Lorne Jenkins, the club's vice president, has gardened at SCC since 2001.

The retired carpenter said his neighbor was gardening and invited him to see the community garden. His garden includes peppers, radishes, corn, garlic and onions.

He enjoys the peace and quiet and his fellow gardeners.

"We all share information, and we share products," he said.

Kuffler agreed that gardeners swap produce. He, for example, is not growing corn, so Clark supplies him with it.

"Everybody that's out here loves to see things grow," Kuffler said.

He said he enjoys being outside. And gardening keeps retirees like himself busy. He has had a plot for eight years.

"You fade away if you don't have something to do," Kuffler said.

His garden includes an area tended by his youngest grandchildren.

His crops include Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, dill, cauliflower, radishes, carrots and an Asian vegetable - the seeds were provided by a fellow gardener from Vietnam. It looks like a bean and tastes like a radish, Kuffler said.

Most are growing vegetables to use at home or give away.

On Wednesday, Scottsdale Parks and Recreation Director Jan Cameron and Terry Erickson, a city parks and recreation manager, visited the garden on a fact-finding mission.

"We've had some citizens talking about wanting to do one in one of our parks, and we realized there is this jewel here and we wanted to learn a little bit more," Cameron said.

Scottsdale resident Lisa Haskell has lobbied for a community garden in south Scottsdale. She rents a plot at SCC and said more people should take advantage of the garden.

Mike Smith, 61, is a retired Scottsdale Water Department employee and has been gardening at SCC for three years. He said he always has had a garden and enjoys seeing the end product. Smith's garden includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, turnips, onions, spinach, lettuce and carrots.

"Think green and we're doing it," he said.

More information: or Paul Kuffler at pdkpay


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