Plots available to grow at the Center Line Community Garden

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 9, 2018

 Those interested in securing a plot at the Center Line Community Garden can inquire with the Center Line Recreation Department at (586) 757-1610.

Those interested in securing a plot at the Center Line Community Garden can inquire with the Center Line Recreation Department at (586) 757-1610.

File photo by Brian Louwers

CENTER LINE — Imagine tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini plants growing to maturity, nurtured by the bright sunshine, cool rainfall and warm earth of a Michigan summer, and you can almost taste the healthy goodness.

With metro Detroit still firmly locked in the icy grip of winter, it’s not too early to start thinking about summer vegetable gardens. That’s especially true if space is an issue at home and you’re looking for an off-site plot to grow your own veggies.

Look no further than the Center Line Community Garden, where garden beds are still available for just $10 on Dale, just east of Van Dyke. Fees collected for the 23 12-by-3-foot sites go to pay the water bill.

“We’re looking to increase our membership,” said Bernadette Helkowski, one of the garden’s founding members. “This is our eighth season, and we’ve got our core group of people who are still continuously part of the garden. Every year, we like to have new people.”

Mary Gerstenberger serves as the secretary for the garden, organized as a cooperative effort between the city of Center Line and the Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene, on Frazho in Roseville. She’s a longtime educator with the Michigan State University Extension office in Macomb County, and is also a speaker with the Michigan Master Gardener Association, with extensive horticultural knowledge and specialized expertise in areas that include community gardening, vegetable gardening and water quality.

Gerstenberger said managing a plot at a community garden that’s open to the public is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have enough space at home but is looking to grow safe and healthy produce to meet the needs of their family.

“It gives them some additional space if they want to put in a garden and they can’t do it in their yard. If they live in an apartment complex and they want to grow some fresh food, it’s a readily accessible place to go,” Gerstenberger said. “It’s a nice opportunity for people who just need a small area to grow a few things they really like, and it gives them an opportunity to meet other people in the area.”

Gerstenberger said studies have shown positive residual effects in areas where green spaces and community gardens flourish.

“They say it makes it safer. It’s like eyes on the street,” Gerstenberger said. “It’s always a benefit to have community gardens, to the community at large.”

Those interested in securing a plot at the Center Line Community Garden can inquire with the Center Line Recreation Department at (586) 757-1610.