Deltona Community Gardens were established to provide an organic gardening space for residents to grow — or learn how to grow — food. Jim Pescha, whose wife founded the group, said the gardens died off during the height of COVID-19. Deltona Strong, a community organization, has taken over the gardens, and has been sowing the seeds of gardening love again.
“The focus is twofold,” Pescha said. “It gives people an opportunity to garden, by renting a garden bed. And it gives people a group to talk to and learn from.”
Paula Pescha said since retirement, the couple have made a real effort to live a sustainable lifestyle, and their love of gardening caused them to think out of the garden box.
“I saw a program on TV that had garden beds,” she said. The Peschas were inspired to bring that sort of co-op food sourcing to Deltona. They toured several parks and found inspiration at Vann Park. Paula Pescha said the City Commission was very encouraging.
“They really embraced it, it went right through,” she said of the commission passing the ordinance. “Way easier than getting chickens allowed. That took three years; this took no time.”
The couple turned over their gardens of love to Deltona Strong.
“Marcy (Mead) has done a fantastic job,” Paula Pescha said. “We had 12 beds, and they’ve more than doubled that to 28 beds. We volunteer and support them as much as we can.”
Marcyana Mead, director of Deltona Community Gardens, said the gardens are maintained by volunteers, and in addition to renting beds, they do outreach to educate residents on gardening and environmental issues. This spring, at an event to promote the well-being of bees, garden members planted four beds with wildflowers. Volunteers also gave educational presentations on bees. Wildflower seeds were available to participants free of charge.
“Future events to give back to the community are in the planning stages,” Mead said. “A Fall Festival and edible plant sale is planned for October.”
There are two prime gardening seasons in Central Florida: March to August and September to February. Deltona residents can rent a garden box for $20 a season; nonresidents can rent a box for $30 a season.
Gardeners and volunteers meet the first Saturday of each month. Anyone interested in gardening or volunteering is welcome to attend.
For more information, please visit the Deltona Strong website at deltonastrong.org and the Deltona Community Gardens Facebook page @deltonacommunitygardens.