Dear Crabby, Where Are the Community Gardens?

Dear Crabby,

Does Rochester Hills have any community gardens? It seems like with what is happening in the world right now, they sure would come in handy as the victory gardens did during the World Wars.

George Greenthumbs

Dear Mr. Greenthumbs,

I remember victory gardens! Let me tell you, it was quite the sight to see all these mini gardens sprout up all over the urban landscape of Detroit. Up until then, the only ‘gardens’ I’d seen where when we traveled to Oakland county where there was more wide-open spaces and fields covered in crops. Speaking of victory gardens, I remember my dad and a neighbor having a friendly wager over who could grow the biggest vegetables without using any pesticides. Those two men spent a lot of time tending to their veggies, but I’m happy to report that in the end, my dad was victorious. One of the carrots he grew was just a little over a foot long and six inches around at its fattest point. My dad let me take it to show-and-tell and then we cut it up to share with the class as a snack. Ahh, to be a kid again. Ya know, it’s funny you should ask about community gardens this week seeing as a lot of people in Michigan are still steamed about Governor Whitmer’s ‘ban on seeds’ from last week. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can still buy seeds.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

That’s right folks if you want to garden you can. From what I understand, the Governor’s executive order calls for the closure of garden centers of over 50,000 square feet. So, if you know of a local feed or hardware store that sells seeds, by all means, stroll on in and support a small business. Now there may be a limit on how many people can be in the store at a given time, but you should be able to still shop there. And that’s really what the order was about – limiting how many people are aimlessly wandering aisles and allowing for fewer employees to be in the store as well. If what you need can only be found in a garden center at one of the big box stores, a little birdie who works at one told me that if you order something online, then most of these places can pull what you want and bring it to your vehicle. Isn’t that easy? The only thing I’m wondering in all this is isn’t too early to plant anything in Michigan? The Upper Peninsula saw two feet of snow this week. The calendar may say spring, but this is still Michigan folks. Anything can happen. OK. Now that we know the seeds are safe, I can answer your question about whether or not there are community gardens in our area — You’re in luck! We do!

I found about three community gardens in the Rochester/Rochester Hills area. First, there is The City of Rochester Community Garden (located on Woodward/Ludlow curve behind the baseball field) and The Wabash Park Community Garden in the City of Rochester Hills (located in the Wabash Park off Wabash near Rochester Road). Of course, there is an application process and rules each gardener is asked to follow. One thing these gardeners are encouraged to do is dedicate part of their garden to the Rochester Area Neighborhood House community food bank or help maintain the food bank’s part of the garden. The Rochester Area Neighborhood House is also the recipient of another community garden called “Grow to Give,” which is located on the property of Faith Church (160 W. Hamlin Road) in Rochester Hills. The majority of the produce they raise goes to the Neighborhood House on a weekly basis and then a smaller portion gets sold at the Rochester Farmers’ Market with all the proceeds going back into the garden to cover maintenance, supplies, and the like. Now my understanding is that the “Grow to Give” garden got help from Raising Rochester which is part of the nonprofit KidzKare. According to their website, their raised bed gardens have harvested nearly 8,000 lbs. of fresh produce with over 70 percent of the harvest is donated! I’m not sure how much is being done with these gardens at the moment, but if you Google you can find out more and then roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty when the time in right. As for me, I still plan on getting my veggies the old-fashioned way – from a can of V-8.

I hope this helps and happy digging!

Dear Crabby


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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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