The clock is ticking for Tempe's College Street Garden, which for 25 years has been operated by green-thumbed members of the community, including the Kids Garden Club. Employing a "multi-phase organic composting system and several different methods of chemical-free gardening," the half-acre garden has, over time, been built up into "a rich oasis of organically grown flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit trees."
It's also been sitting, for two and a half decades, on property belonging to a generous landlord who asked nothing of the gardeners other than payment for the water they used. This situation, alas, has changed--the property has a new owner who has evicted the College Street Garden, effective Thursday, July 1. As a result, the tenders are currently employed in a frantic effort to move the garden, fertile dirt and all, to a new permanent home at Gentle Strength Cooperative, nearby at Ash and University.
The ambitious work of moving hundreds of plants, seeds, trees and bulbs, as well as the lovingly wrought soil out of which they're growing, to the new site is being supervised by Garden Coordinator Beverly Austin. She can't hope, however, to do it by herself. "We've already had some response from the public, and that's nice," says Austin, who also works at Gentle Strength. "But I'd stop short of saying we can get everything out of there by July 1st. I'll get the seeds and bulbs and plants that I can move, but beyond that it depends on how much help I can get."
The horticulturally sympathetic are thus encouraged to turn out on this, the last weekend before the garden's move-out date, and volunteer their hands, backs and--especially--pickup trucks to the cause. Donations of cash or materials are also welcome, to help with the cost of equipment rental.
In the most danger of being left to City of Tempe sanitation as a sacrifice is the soil and "brown compost." Austin isn't about to lose a greenhouse and a shed, which have already been disassembled, and are awaiting a ride from some kindly truck owner. "We'll get them moved, if I have to strap them to the back of my car," says Austin. "But it's a Honda Civic."