Sparrow Community Garden Sees New Growth

Image of dirt path flanked by vegetation on both sides.

Sparrow Community Garden is located in the Witter Ranch neighborhood of Natomas. / All photos courtesy Doug Snell

BY DOUG SNELL
FOR THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Sparrow Community Garden in Natomas is hosting a mobile plant sale at 2 p.m. today, May 21.

The Miridae Mobile Nursery — think food truck, but with plants — will be parked at the garden with California native and pollinator-friendly plants, as well as other garden starts for sale, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be parked at 3619 Sparrow Drive.

Nestled in the Witter Ranch neighborhood, Sparrow Community Garden has seen a rebirth this spring. At the beginning of 2020, most plots had been abandoned and were overgrown with grass and weeds.

At that time, only four out of 12 plots were being used to grow food and flowers for local families and pollinators. But within just a few months, membership has grown and all of the plots on the .13-acre site are now growing food. The garden has two ADA plots and a common area.

Sparrow Community Garden is overseen by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. It was built in 2010 as a “long term, temporary garden” using volunteer, community labor.

While most of the city’s community gardens are permanent installations, Sparrow Community Garden is situated on property which will eventually be paved over to extend Natomas Crossing Drive west of Interstate 5. (That work had been planned for this year, but has since stalled and currently there is no estimation when it will move forward.)

There are community gardens tucked into parks and vacant lots all over the city. A new one is currently being built a neighborhood near Westlake.

Sparrow Community Garden members have noticed a recent uptick in home gardening for food security. They hope to develop some momentum from this newfound interest and develop a larger community of gardeners and urban food growers in Natomas.

Members had planned to start hosting community events at the garden including classes on seed starting, composting, organic gardening, planting for pollinators and other topics. But most of those plans were put on hold until after the shelter-in-place orders have been lifted.

Today’s plant sale at the garden is a chance to safely pick up some new plants and to talk to experts on growing in the area without leaving the neighborhood.

The garden’s members have partnered with other gardeners, designers and nurseries to provide garden tips for the community via Instagram. There, the group posts photos of the garden, garden tips and, eventually, announcements for community classes.


You can find them on Instagram at @sparrowcommunitygarden.

Image of colorful hand-painted sign which reads Sparrow Community Garden.

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