Frederick County Government is known for taking residents’ opinions and ideas and putting them into action. In fact, in January of 2011, a Frederick County resident requested that the Parks and Recreation Division establish a community garden in Frederick County Parks. Staff began evaluating potential areas within County parks and concluded that Ballenger Creek Park would be the best area to meet the needs of a community garden with several neighboring communities.
In December 2011, the Frederick County Parks and Recreation Division discussed initiating a Community Gardens Program at Ballenger Creek Park with the Frederick County Board of Commissioners. This request was approved by the Commissioners and the Community Garden was constructed and selling plots within 2 months. The Parks Maintenance crew placed 4 water hydrants on each side of the garden making it convenient for each plot renter to access. Christine Paugh says “the watering options are great!”
When asking gardeners why they wanted to rent a space in the Community Garden, they all had similar answers. Many renters grew up with family gardens but living in townhouses or condos, they don’t have the “luxury of having a garden in the backyard”. Another reason for having a garden is to grow vegetables and save money on produce at the store. Gardening is a fun family activity and it will give children and grandchildren a “chance to learn and appreciate gardening...and the fruits of labor”. Humeyra Taskent says “I would imagine kids putting some effort into growing something [vegetables] will be more interested in tasting it!”
There are many benefits to renting a community garden plot in Ballenger Creek Park. One of our renters says it’s a “quiet green space where residents can relax and find respite from the stress of daily life, bringing together people of different ages, backgrounds, and income levels to work collaboratively for the good of their neighborhood”. You can also “learn some gardening tips” from other gardeners and “trade excess harvest”, says Brian Klein.
Some of the types of vegetables being grown in the community gardens include tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, green beans, onions, broccoli, spinach, snap peas, peppers, pumpkin, cantaloupe, watermelon, herbs, and even some sunflowers and marigolds. Raymond Conrad gave a tip that “pumpkin blossoms can be pan-fried and eaten after they are blossomed”, however, he warns, “if you cut the blossoms off, you won’t have any pumpkins in the fall, but they will be worth it as they are delicious!”
Anyone who is interested in growing their own vegetables can rent a 15’ x 15’ garden plot, with access to water, a compost bin and parking. Garden plots can be rented now through November 15th for $67 per year. The garden will be accessible 7 days a week during park hours.
Ballenger Creek Park is located at 5420 Ballenger Creek Pike, Frederick, MD 21703. Frederick County Parks and Recreation is still taking reservations for Community Garden plots.
To make a reservation, please call 301-600-1646. There are only a few plots left so call now to make your reservation. Garden plots are first come, first serve and there is a plot diagram available online at www.Recreater.com, along with other helpful information. Don’t delay, start your garden today!