Avant Garden sign

Enjoy the Avant Garden, Benicia

You might know by now that I love gardens. When I was wandering and discovering Benicia I really enjoyed finding the Avant Garden on First Street in downtown Benicia. What a great name for a community garden!

Sign for the Avant Garden. It says: Join us!It turns out, and not surprisingly for Benicia, it also has a cool history. The first community garden in Benicia was established in 1999 on East 2nd Street on a lot owned by the Heritage Presbyterian Church. A chair and some garden plots.Named after its founder the late Dr. Ed Swenson, the Swenson Community Garden teaches organic farming practices. In 2003 Swenson founded the Benicia Community Garden (BCG) which is now a county wide organization and known today as Sustainable Solano. Swenson believed that community gardens can produce a “second harvest” of social, economic and ecological benefits. Way beyond gardening, Sustainable Solano hosts free classes on local foods, has a community share plot to share produce for people in need, and teaches sustainable urban agriculture methods. 

Sign at the gate of the Avant Garden welcoming people.This Avant Garden is open to the public to enjoy, take classes, and hang out. To apply for one of the 43 plots you have to sign up on the BCG waiting list. A plot is $85 annually and covers maintenance and the water bills.  

What is your favorite community garden?

Soil & Water garden plot at the Heritage Park in Mountain View.

Plant with Soil & Water, Mountain View Heritage Park

Sign in garden box: Smelling me calms the body - lavender

How did I miss this? A true community garden at Heritage Park is now in its sixth year. Earlier this month I discovered Heritage Park in Mountain View and wrote about the tiny house. But the city also reserved room for a garden project. You can volunteer for Soil & Water every Saturday from 10 am – noon. This is a family friendly event that will teach you about gardening. Once a month Soil & Water will try to offer a kid-focused event. But in any case they will provide easy activities, like watering, for the little ones. Teenagers are also welcome and can earn community service credits. Volunteers will share the harvest. 

View from the entrance of the Soil & Water community garden plot, Heritage Park.

To get started you can sign-up on their website. Due to COVID-19 the number of volunteers is limited and masks might be required. If you plan on helping, you should also bring gloves, a hat and a water bottle.

Heritage Park is at 771 N. Rengstorff in Mountain View.

If you like to expand your garden volunteering you can help out at the SCU Forge Garden, Wednesday 10 am – 1 pm, Friday 9 am – 11 pm.

Charles Street Gardens, Sunnyvale

Garden for all senses

Charles Street Gardens SunnyvaleThe Charles Street Gardens in Sunnyvale opens its doors each Tuesday from 11 am – 1 pm. This is not only interesting for the curious gardener like me – always a pleasure to see what and how other people grow vegetables and more – but here the children’s garden is a special treat.

Kids are encouraged to feel, smell and touch the plants in a few raised garden beds.

The chickens that live in the coop next to it are a bonus.

Charles Street Gardens chicken, Sunnyvale
Do you garden with all your senses?