PINELLAS PARK — Ask a renter or some condo owners that burning question from the nursery rhyme: How does your garden grow?
The usual answer: It doesn't. Apartment and condominium association rules ban gardening.
That's about to change in Pinellas Park, where City Council members have okayed the construction of a community garden at Freedom Lake Park.
The idea came from a city resident who had a plot in the community garden near Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg. But that city wanted to charge her $100 on top of other fees because she was not a St. Petersburg resident. Frustrated and disgruntled, she seized the moment when she bumped into Pinellas Park council member Rick Butler. Why, she asked, doesn't Pinellas Park have a community garden?
Butler said his immediate reaction was, "why can't we have a community garden?"
The city staff studied the idea and visited the Azalea site, as did Butler. Council members then agreed that the staff could spend about $12,300 to build 16 garden plots. The cost includes dirt, fencing, irrigation and signs.
Freedom Lake Park, at 9990 46th St. N, is a 40-acre passive park that has two walking/jogging trails, fishing and picnic areas, and a dog park. The park backs up to the Mainlands.
The community garden will be at the entrance to the park by the DAV building.
The garden's 16 plots will be separated by 7-foot-wide aisles. Eight of the plots will be 5 by 8 feet and rent for $10 per six-month growing season. The other eight will be 5 by 16 feet and will rent for $15 for the six-month growing season.
Gardeners will be allowed to grow fruit, vegetables or flowers. Trees and shrubs that would cast shade onto other plots will be forbidden, as will invasive species.
No one knows how popular the idea will be, said Debra Rose, the city's library and recreation services administrator, but interest is not expected to be limited to apartment and condo dwellers.
The city plans to provide a plot for members of the 4-H club and will construct the beds high enough to be accessible for disabled gardeners or those who simply don't want to bend over too far.