By the Bay

Veggies a great garden fundraiser

judysalamacha@gmail.comJune 24, 2013 

Fresh and chemical-free are the reasons the veggies harvested for salads and sides paired with barbecued organic chicken will taste great at Estero Community Garden’s annual dinner Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12. The Coalesce Book Store on Main Street in Morro Bay has tickets.

Board members of the future Los Osos Community Garden will be taking notes. Estero Master Gardener Johanna Varland reported she’s been sharing ideas with Stacey Hunt, project manager for Blue C Community Garden of Los Osos.

“We’re in our 10th year, while they are just getting started. We’re pleased to help them avoid any bumps we might have experienced,” Varland said.

Varland lauds the Morro Bay United Methodist Church for providing adjacent land near Del Mar Park that the church wasn’t using.

“Councilman Noah Smukler, Susan Heinemann and I were at an initial meeting with church members,” she said.

“We now have 42 plots — all planted. They are in high demand.”

An annual $65 fee pays for water usage, and the gardeners maintain their own gardens as well as the common areas, she said.

“We contribute from our gardens for our annual dinner as well,” Varland said, noting this year’s proceeds will support the church’s Children’s Center.

“We have an urban orchard we maintain and share the fruit with each other and the church,” she added. “The children will visit the gardens and learn tips and to appreciate eating their vegetables.”

She credited the Conservation Corps for its help with projects, and thanked Bruce Santoianni Construction and Dan Enns of Pacific Sheet Metal, which fabricated and installed a rainwater collection system to help with a demonstration garden.

Hunt, active in Bioneers, said the Los Osos lot on 11th Street is unique since it is privately owned. Her aunt, Celia Mingus Zaentz, offered the group a 10-year lease to develop something special for Los Osos. Now 88, she was married to jazz musician Charles Mingus, who dedicated his creation, “Blue C,” to his wife.

“We broke ground in February and hope to plant 15 plots this fall,” Hunt said. “Los Osos Rotary helped us clear the property and provided fencing materials. We’ve planted five fruit trees. The Conservation Corps graded and weeded. Supervisor Bruce Gibson donated soil and tools, and Sage Gardens has donated 10 percent of its July 20-21 sales receipts. Our next challenge is the water system.”

Enter the Blue C Community Garden’s logo contest by Aug. 31. Find more information at

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at or 801-1422.

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