The garden lottery

With demand for gardening space so high, the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department will hold a lottery drawing to see who gets a plot in its newest community garden.

In February, the Parks Commission unanimously approved the installation of a community garden in Garden Way, a neighborhood park in southwest Ashland. The addition brings the number of city-owned community gardens to four.

Wet weather has slowed construction at the site at Garden Way and Clark Avenue, but Parks Department managers believe its 10 plots will be ready for the coming growing season.

The drawing to pick 10 gardeners for those plots likely will take place in late April, said North Mountain Park Nature Center Stewardship Coordinator Linda Chesney.

Nature Center staff manage a waiting list of 30 people who have been hoping for space in the city's other gardens along Hersey Street, in Clay Street Park and in Scenic Park. Their names will be put into the lottery drawing, Chesney said.

"For 10 lucky people, there will be plots in this new garden," she said.

"Unfortunately, it won't take our wait list down to zero, but it will help."

People who win a space in the garden will get much more than just a rototilled patch of ground.

Features will include a fence border, a crushed rock path for people to walk on, garden boxes and a layer of special cloth under the dirt to deter gophers, said parks worker Jim Hagemann, who has been building the garden.

He plans to use his carpentry skills to build an on-site gardening shed, similar to sheds he built at the Clay Street Park and Scenic Park.

There will be two rows of five plots that measure 4 by 12 feet each, Hagemann said.

Parks managers estimated the cost to build the new garden will be $4,000.

Community garden users pay $25 to $75 for an annual lease, based on plot size, and a $20 deposit.

The spaces are for noncommercial organic gardening only.

Chesney said people renewing their leases have first priority for existing plots. To be added to the waiting list, call the Nature Center at 541-488-6606.

Other local organizations also offer community garden space when openings are available.

For information on the Southern Oregon University Ecology Center of the Siskiyous garden on South Mountain Avenue, call 541-552-8512 or send an email to or

For information about space in the Eagle Mill Garden on Eagle Mill Road on Ashland's outskirts, contact Brett Schumacher at 608-772-2738 or

For information on the Blue Heron Park community garden in Phoenix, contact Dave van de Velde at 541-535-6466 or

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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