Cindy's sunflower

A dwarf sunflower grows in plot B-18 at Squaw Creek Park near Marion in August 2012. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

B-18 has been my home away from home in the summer for the past decade or so. The numbered plot is one of the city gardens at Squaw Creek Park near Marion. I just received my notice of renewal this month, but am debating whether or not I’ll renew my lease.

I started gardening the 20-by-50 feet of land once I realized my backyard garden wasn’t nearly the size I wanted to grow corn, pumpkins, loads of tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables.

But the environmentalist in me always questioned the drive just to reach the garden, off Highways 100 and 13. Plus, although I choose not to use chemicals on my plants, it seems most gardeners out there do, so the vegetables I feed my children get coated with the drift from nearby sprays.

Last year, I bought a raised bed to use in my backyard, which produced an abundance of veggies until a rascally critter decided to dig up virtually every plant inside. I need to find a fix for that this year while I debate returning to the city garden.

For those of you in need of land, garden plots are available for public rental for $20 each, plus a $4 lease, at Ellis and Tuma parks, in addition to Squaw Creek.

New gardeners can rent plots beginning at 8:00 a.m. on March 13, 2013, at Ambroz Recreation Center. For more information call the Ambroz Recreation Center at (319) 286-5731.