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Gridley Herald

Community Garden and Composting Hub in Gridley

Mar 06, 2024 02:19PM ● By Grace Mahannah, photos by Grace Mahannah
Kathy and Grace Mahannah have provided leadership to The Garden at St. Timothy’s in Gridley, developing it for community beginning and experienced gardeners. 

GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - What can you do with a plot of land that’s empty and full of weeds? Plant a garden and start composting with your neighbors! St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Gridley, with the help of generous grants from the Episcopal Foundation of Northern California and California Alliance for Community Composting, has transformed the lot next door to the Church at 450 Jackson Street into a garden and composting center for the community. It is a place to grow food or learn how to garden, a drop-off site for compostable kitchen scraps, and a peaceful outdoor space for people to enjoy.

The Garden at St. Timothy’s opened to the public in May 2023 with 20 newly- built and filled garden beds for rent in the following sizes: 5’x6’ at $15 per year, 5’x8’ or 4’x10’ at $20 per year, and 5’x10’ at $25 per year. Each bed has drip irrigation. The yearly enrollment price includes both water and irrigation supplies, which are provided by St. Timothy’s. The system is on a timer and waters automatically so that gardeners don’t have to worry. To rent a plot, please email [email protected] or call 530-218-6636.

The idea for a community garden at St. Timothy’s began back in 2015 with the Gridley Community Roots Garden, which closed in 2018. The Church’s relaunch of the garden includes individual garden plots for rent, a teaching garden which doubles as growing space for food to give away to the community, a children’s garden and mud kitchen, an outdoor sink and potting area, as well as shaded seating and pleasant surroundings for those who gather.

The Drop in the Bucket composting program at St. Timothy’s started in August of 2023 with generous help from the Butte Environmental Council. Anyone in the community may sign up to drop off kitchen compostable materials at the garden, for example: fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and paper napkins (no meat, bones, fat, oil, or dairy).

All compost produced at the garden will be used at the garden or shared with those who donate kitchen scraps, while reducing the amount of organic waste going to the landfill. To sign up to bring kitchen scraps to The Garden at St. Timothy’s, go to Butte Environmental Council - Composting at and scroll down to find the links to Gridley.

The Garden at St. Timothy’s is part of a larger effort by the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California (and The Episcopal Church across the U.S.) to return its unused property to agrarian uses. Plenty of grant money is available for garden and farm projects. Locally, St. Timothy’s wanted to offer Gridley a garden that is both useful and beautiful, to encourage people to grow food with their neighbors and to increase food security in the community.

With faith that the grant funds would come through, St. Timothy’s began preparations for the garden in July 2022: cutting weeds and clearing rubbish, grading and leveling the ground and solarizing. The Church paid for a new chain link fence on the alley side of the garden.

By the fall of 2022, volunteers were digging trenches, repairing existing piping, and installing new in-ground irrigation pipe and sprinkler valves for the watering system. Old lumber leftover from the first garden was repurposed to build a potting bench, outdoor sink, and mud kitchen for children.

In March of 2023, new redwood was purchased to construct the garden beds, and many volunteers showed up to tackle the job of filling the beds with soil and compost. Pathways between beds were covered with donated wood chips.

The newest addition to the garden is an 8’X16’ greenhouse that is currently under construction. Other plans include comfortable benches and a small fountain at the center of the garden, espaliered fruit trees, a rainwater recovery system, and a redwood deck at the front garden entrance.

Gardeners and volunteers at The Garden at St. Timothy’s get together monthly to learn more about gardening and preserving food while enjoying each other’s company. Everyone is welcome to attend the meetings, which take place in the church offices.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of projects, ranging from garden maintenance and composting to building projects, publicity, and social media. If you would like to learn more about what’s going on, volunteer to help, or donate to the garden, email [email protected].

Recently, Butte County Local Food Network donated a free food stand to The Garden at St. Timothy’s, so that gardeners can share their produce with the community, and the community can bring food to share with others as well–fresh, whole vegetables or fruit are welcome. The food stand will soon be located in front of the church at 410 Jackson Street.

The Garden at St. Timothy’s is growing, thanks to the gardeners, volunteers, and many other folks who have given their ideas, effort, interest, and support. There’s plenty of room in the garden and it’s always open … come and take a look!

Stanley Matthew Norby St Timothys

 Laurie Stanley and Matthew Norby have enjoyed The Garden at St. Timothy’s.