Who are we?
We are a group of individuals, with a common passion for the soil, plants and community. We garden together at Marymoor Park, located in Redmond, WA. We are an non-profit organization and social-club (501c7), which is managed by volunteers who gladly share their expertise and time for the benefit of the group. We allow membership to our organization on a plot-based availability, which requires a small rental fee and service requirement. We currently rent out 208 full-size plots measuring 10′ x 40′ and 14 half-size plots measuring 10′ x 20′. We are also in the process of creating ADA beds.
We cultivate fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers for our own use and donate some that produce for the benefit of Hopelink. From 2002 to 2012 foodbank efforts have grown, collected and delivered 46,000 lbs of produce for local families in need.
Who were we?
According to garden legend, Marymoor Community Garden began some time in the 1960’s as a park feature. Some daring King County employee or group decided to create a community garden that was approximately 3 acres at Marymoor Park. Surveyor posts were installed, and irrigation was laid. However, the east end of that garden was never full to capacity and often sat fallow for years on end.
Each year in the fall, King County would bring out their tractor and disc the entire garden. Gardeners at that time could not have any structure or perennial, unless you wanted to haul it away in the fall before annual turning of the soil. One problem that arose from this discing effort happened when a gardener (who is unknown, but lives on in infamy) brought in some comfrey. And oh, how that comfrey loved our soil. It spread like tax code and was helped by the discing effort each year as the roots were chopped up and spread further and further in the park.
As the years went by, people started noticing that this pernicious plant was spreading throughought the area, especially in the un-used east end of the garden. Rather than covering everything with black plastic, the park came up with the idea to create a Pet Memorial, eliminating much of the comfrey, and reshaping the size of the garden to the present 2.1 acres we enjoy today.
Fast forward to 2002. King County suffered budget cuts county-wide, with Marymoor Park being no exception. As a result they had to re-task a staffer at the park who managed the community garden. Jack McKinnon long-time gardener (since 1989) describes it this way, “I drove into the garden and noticed a piece of paper attached to the kiosk. It said “We’re sorry but due to budget cuts the community garden is closing after this season.” He spoke to his friend Michelle Raymond and they talked about what could be done. Both had the same idea, “Let’s run it ourselves!” They approached park management and it was agreed. Marymoor Community Garden was now known as the Marymoor Community Gardeners Association or the MCGA ! Many gardeners stepped up during that time to fulfill board positions and administration and gave us the base of support that got us started. King County has been key in helping this process for which we are forever grateful.
In spite of the comfrey which every now and again tries to make its presence known, we’re happy to say that we have been running independently since 2002!
Who will we be?
The future is rich and fertile with opportunity. While we currently focus on helping folks grow their own produce and donate some of that to our local foodbank, we also are striving to become more educational. We occasionally provide seminars on seed starting, composting etc and try to have guest educational speakers. Another area of focus is improving organic methods of gardening. We continually strive to keep the soil safe for future generations by eliminating all sources of potential toxicity and improve that soil by regular amendment and soil cultivation practices.
There has been a community garden in Marymoor Park since the mid-1960’s. It is our sincere hope there will be for the next 40 years as well!