A vibrant canvas of green—maybe 50 shades of that color—is blooming in a garden plot off 112th, not far from Tyee Elementary School.
As one solitary gardener tended his small, but crowded, raised section, a visitor meandered the fenced field, giving in to the temptation to massage tomato and mint leaves, inhaling their distinctive aromas, and visualizing a bountiful produce-filled cornucopia later in the season. “Nothing compares with home-grown food,” says Larry Dunlap, who paused from his gardening. “There are even ladybugs at work,” he exclaimed.
Larry has maintained a garden plot there close to his SHAG apartment for the past three years. It’s not as much work as his one-time yard-sized garden, he added, but he enjoys the work.
After several weeks of watering and weeding, the increasing bounty, from tiny gold carrots, small pink beets, parsley, cilantro, kale and red and green-leaf lettuce, to potatoes, squash, corn, tomatoes, mint and more, gets riper and riper. It’s Dunlap’s personal “farmer’s market,” and all growing in Lakewood’s Community Garden/
In late April, during the 2015 Parks Appreciation Day, an impressive new gate was installed at the garden’s entrance, along Loch Lea Rd. Levi Ott, Lakes High School freshman and member of Boy Scout Troop 436, along with several fellow scouts, completed the gate project for his Eagle Scout Rank in time for the yearly event.
There are 38 individual plots, at $20 apiece, and the garden includes a separate area that’s maintained by Lakewood service groups such as Clover Park Kiwanis. The abundant harvest is destined for the Food Bank. Dunlap expands about his appreciation of homegrown produce and the space leased from nearby First Baptist Church to grow the veggies. “Naturally raised food is best.”