Welcome to the Summit Community Garden (SCG). This virtual tour will take you through the garden, exploring piece by piece, what makes this garden special, unique, and a beautiful place to Gather, Learn, and Grow.
From all of us here at SCG, we’d like to extend our deepest thanks to the community, local businesses, and partners who have supported this vision from the beginning. We hope you enjoy this space for years to come.
This tour starts at our entry gate, and will take you clockwise through the garden. Click on any image to enlarge.
Stop 1: Garden History and Entering the Garden
This community garden resides on what was originally farmland that was donated to Summit County under the terms that it would remain in the community for agricultural purposes. An agricultural easement was created to limit how the land could be developed – specifically used only for not-for-profit agriculture or farming. This agricultural easement is currently managed by the Summit Land Conservancy to ensure it is used for those intended purposes. Two years ago, Basin Recreation leased the land with the intention and goal that it would be operated as a community garden. SCG, a nonprofit organization, took over management and operation of the garden last year.
Last season was all about creating the infrastructure for the garden. Tilling the land, marking the garden layout, installing paths, mainline irrigation, and of course, the fence. Thank you to Basin Recreation for all of the help with the building of this garden. It couldn’t have been done without all of their hard work.
So, as you enter the garden, take notice of that infrastructure. The eight-foot fence will keep the large Park City vegetable predators (deer, moose, and elk) out of everyone’s gardens and away from their bounty. Also, the paths make for a pleasant and accessible way to navigate through the garden space, while being able to stop and take in the view from one of our benches. Now, on with the rest of the tour.
Stop 2: Perennial Herb and Sensory Garden
The first garden straight ahead as you walk into the garden, is our perennial herb and sensory space. This space contains herbs that come back year after year, like Sage, Thyme, and Chives. It will also contain plants that delight the senses like Lavender, which smells delightful, is gorgeous to the eye, and has a pleasant buzz from all the bees visiting the plant. We hope to expand this garden to include plants like Lamb’s Ear to touch, and native grasses to rustle in the wind.
Stop 3: Perennial Pollinator Garden
The garden adjacent to the Herb and Sensory Garden with wood chip mulch is our Perennial Pollinator space. This space is filled with perennial plants, shrubs, and flowers that bloom year after year. They are all climate appropriate for our “zone” and are all low water needs. The most important characteristic of these plants is that they attract and feed native pollinators. These pollinators include all kinds of bees (honeybees, bumblebees, mason bees, etc.), butterflies, and hummingbirds.
This garden contains plants that we would encourage you to plant in your own gardens to attract bees and butterflies to your home. These plants include species of Russian Sage, Agastache, Penstemon, Salvia, and Catmint, as well as many others. Feel free to ask any garden staff about all of the beautiful plants that fit our climate and attract valuable pollinators.
Stop 4: Fire Wise Garden
Our Fire Wise garden on the other side of our Herb Garden is an example of a garden that can help deter fire from reaching a home or structure. While no plant is fire proof, the plants located in the Fire Wise garden are not fire accelerants, and even have properties to help them withstand a fire. Some of the plants located within this garden contain natural soaps and oils that decrease flammability. Some have a high moisture content, and most grow low to the ground, which discourages a fire from climbing. The other important characteristic of these plants is that they don’t require much water. These plants can thrive with very little water, and can be quite beautiful. Some of the plants in this garden are Ice Plant, Soapwort, Hen and Chicks, Pussytoes, and Snow In Summer.
Stop 5: Kids’ Garden
Here is the beginning of something incredible. This space has been dedicated to our community’s kids. The Kids’ Garden is going to be a magical space for children to explore, play, and discover. We are in the process of building this space, and when it is finished, it will be a unique and fun space for kids to call their own. There will be multiple entrances to the kids’ garden that all lead to paths that take children through the space exploring different areas and activities. All paths will lead to the center wigwam, where kids have their own shady secret space. The wigwam is built from willow branches cut from willow bushes in the Uinta Mountains.
We encourage kids to be a part of the community garden and create their own community space with this Kids’ Garden. The Kids’ Garden will be made up of different discovery areas that will adapt and change with the needs and interests of our children. Ideas include a music space, a building space, a bug discovery area, and a game space. The garden will be enclosed by a living fence.
Stop 6: Community Garden Pods
The next six bed spaces are community plots (as well as one more on the far northeast side).
Now we begin to see the talents and green thumbs of our community plot members. Plot members are given roughly a 4’ x 16’ bed to garden to their heart’s content. Water is provided in the form of drip tape, which is the black tubing with blue stripes. This drip line is an effective and inexpensive way to water vegetables and fruits in a garden. It is a low water method, and can be used for many years. The gardeners also have the option to hand water any seeds or other crops with our hoses and watering cans found throughout the garden.
The raised wooden beds you see are for some of our community plot members that have disabilities or have a harder time bending low to the ground for extended periods. The raised beds were built by one of our community partners, PC ALL.
Each plot member belongs to a “pod.” These pods are the large physical beds in which their smaller bed is located. These pods are communities within communities, in that all members help maintain the pod to which they belong. They help each other out to water, to weed, and to look out for each other’s gardens.
If you are interested in a plot for next season, or would like to join our waitlist, please contact us here.
Stop 7: Compost Pile
In the back southwest corner, lies our compost pile. We have a two-stage compost pile to which gardeners can contribute garden material from their plots or the garden as a whole. With the two-stage design, gardeners will throw green waste into one side of the bin, and as it grows and begins to decompose we will finish it in the second pile. We will be working on this throughout the season, and would love to extend this to a three-stage system in the future.
Stop 8: BEES! (made possible by support from Ellie’s Private Chefs & Catering)
Bees are amazing! Without them we would be very hungry! Greater than 30% of all food crops for humans, and most crops used for animal food are pollinated by honeybees.
At the height of the summer, a vibrant healthy hive can have anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 bees! Almost all of these will be female workers. Workers spend their entire lives foraging for the colony, creating wax combs, loading cells with nectar and creating honey, protecting the hive and nursing the brood from larvae through adulthood. Scattered among the workers are a few males called drones whose only real job is to mate with the queen. And at the center of the colony is one female, the queen. She spends her whole life laying eggs into wax chambers and being fed by her female attendants.
Bees eat pollen and use nectar to make honey; thus, the best thing you can do for bees is plant lots of flowers and not use sprays! And leave the hardworking ladies alone, they don’t want to bother you as their last protective act, the sting, kills them. Support bees, we need them and they are struggling, plant pollinator gardens and avoid insecticides!
The beehive here at the Garden is a non-traditional hive called a “Horizontal Top Bar” hive. This type of hive was chosen for a few reasons: its design allows the bees to build a home to suit their needs and at their speed. The design allows for an observation window so we can observe the bees without disturbing them. Harvesting honey is simple and requires no special equipment. The cost of the hive is typically less than $70 as opposed to a traditional hive costing $300 or more. Most importantly its design is focused on the health of the bees and not on honey production.
Feel free to open the observation window any time to see what the bees are up to.
Stop 9: Low Water and Maintenance Lawn Space
Here is our community lawn space. While putting in a lawn can be a water hog, we really wanted a space for our gardeners as well as our community to gather and hang out. We decided on a low water, low maintenance grass seed, call No Mow Mix, from High Country Gardens. This lawn seed is specially a blended mix of six different dwarf Fine Fescue grass varieties. This turf needs little additional irrigation (except during dry hot spells) and when left unmowed, the grass blades create a wonderfully soft, swirling pattern. It is a great example of how to ditch your Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn!
Stop 10: The Demonstration Garden
Heading into the center of the garden, you have reached our Demonstration Garden. This space is grown and maintained by our garden staff, and contains fruits, vegetables, flowers, and cover crop that are climate and season appropriate for Park City growing. Much of what we grow will be donated to other local non-profit organizations and food banks to ensure those in need can also have fresh sustainably grown produce. Each “plot” is numbered and contains a different plant family for crop rotation down the line. We will be rotating each plant family through the four beds in order to prevent soil diseases and pest infestations.
⇒ Plot 1: Nibble Garden
This plot is a space from which the community can taste and “nibble.” It contains snap peas, cherry tomatoes, snap beans, and strawberries. As the garden grows, come check out and taste our varieties of delicious nibble friendly veggies.
⇒ Plot 2: Greens, greens, greens
This plot contains our green vegetables. Brassicas like kale, broccoli raab, cauliflower, and mustard greens live here. Lettuces, chard, and cabbages will also make their home in plot #2. Onions, scallions, and leeks are also found in this garden, as they grow well alongside and help brassicas thrive.
⇒ Plot 3: Roots
This plot contains our root crops. Carrots, radishes and beets are found in this plot. As the radishes move out with the heat of summer, they will be replaced with quick growing lettuces and mesclun mixes. The large green leaves you see in this garden are garlic. We planted garlic at our harvest and garlic planting event last October. We will be harvesting this crop in July, so look out for that opportunity!
⇒ Plot 4: Cover Crop and Flowers
This plot contains cover crop that will help enrich the soil, fix nitrogen into the soil, and prevent weed growth. It is usually used before planting or in between planting crops, and is a great way to increase organic matter in your soil. Some of the cover crop varieties also attract pollinators. We use Field Peas, Buckwheat, and Hairy Vetch during the growing season. Winter Rye is a good choice for fall cover crop.
The flowers found in this garden are Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Sweet Peas, Calendula, Cosmos, and Bachelors Buttons. And they will definitely be made into some lovely bouquets down the road…
You have reached the end of our virtual tour. But that doesn’t mean the end of strolling through the garden. Please visit us at 4056 Shadow Mountain Drive in Park City to take a real stroll through our community plots, peek through our demonstration garden, and spend some time on our lawn. The garden is open to the community from dawn to dusk. All we ask is that you close the gate behind you when you leave.
Thank you for your support and interest in Summit Community Gardens. We are thrilled to be here, and excited to see how everything grows over the season!