Como Corner Community Garden - 22nd Ave SE & Como Ave


Gardeners typically meet at 6:30 pm on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday evening of each month. Come for one, session, or come for them all! Gardeners of all skill levels are welcome, and on the job training is included! 

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Como Corner is tended by dedicated volunteers who meet there regularly. It is a visible part of the community's strong environmental ethic. Located mostly on railroad property, this perennial flower garden is at a very prominent intersection in the urban SE Como neighborhood. What was once a weedy vacant lot is now a volunteer supported "park" and restful bus stop where many pedestrians & bikers take respite. The colorful beds beautify this important Minneapolis neighborhood node and facilitates community building through "neighbors-meeting-neighbors" at the garden.


Como Corner - Seeds and Germination

• The Como Corner community garden was established by volunteers! In fact, about 50 volunteers helped get the garden off the ground in 1992. Today, volunteers continue to be essential to this Como area community garden and several other community gardens.

• The first act at this garden was the 1992 "guerrilla" planting of a silver maple tree. The original Silver Maple tree is now gone, but can be seen in this 1995 photo. Silver Maples are extremely difficult to garden under due to the heavy shade and serious competition for water and nutrients in the soil. The current crabapple tree is much more garden friendly. Prettier in the spring too.

• The Como paving project in 1992 supplied the materials for edging beds. Diane Pederson and fellow gardeners carted the found edgers from the street to the garden.

• The heart-shaped flower bed was the 1st garden bed at Como Corner. An aerial photo really shows the shape.

• Como historical lore says that in the 1920's, there was a shoe repair shack on the site (might have something to do with the old soles found here). 

• In the past, Mannings Bar & Cafe has allowed gardeners to tote water to water plantings. Toting water only provides a drop of what many garden plants need during dry periods. Many of the plants were selected for their ability to tolerate dry spells well, such as daylily, phlox, catmint, lamb's ears, mountain bluet, hosta, goldenrod, spiderwort, coneflowers, monarda, baptisia, and columbine to name a few. (The last six are native Minnesota plants or their cultivars.)

• In 2002, SECIA purchased the south-western corner of the garden from a San Franciscan, who finally realized he was paying taxes on land that would never support a building (about 60 square feet or enough room for a good garden bed). This gave SECIA a legal foothold in a mostly railroad-owned lot. 

• Water is now supplied to the garden through hoses that extend under the storm sewer to a hydrant on the northwest corner of the intersection. SECIA pays a fee to the City to use this water. We are hoping to install a cistern within the next year or so as part of our stormwater watershed plan to supplement or replace this City water use.

• This garden has won awards! A Governor's Urban Garden commendation in 1992 and a Blooming Boulevard in 2001 to mention two.

• A billboard used to be on this site and was removed in 1995 with help from changes in city ordinances.

• The garden regularly has extra plants for distribution. While spring is the best time to transplant, divisions can happen almost anytime during the season if they are well watered. Anyone who come to work in the garden is welcome to share in its bounty -- and to bring new species to plant.

• The benefits of an urban community flower gardens such as Como Corner are NUMEROUS! Community gardens give neighborhoods an ongoing focus for community-organizing efforts. They increase a sense of community ownership and stewardship. Community gardens increase eyes on the street and gardeners become more familiar with what is happening in their community as they talk to each other. Community gardening is recognized by the Minneapolis Police Department as an effective community crime prevention strategy. The act of gardening itself is a fantastic form of physical exercise. Finally, gardens such as this add greenspace, a sense of place, and beautification to their neighborhoods.

• The plants in the garden are nearly all donations! Most are from neighbor's gardens. Rice Creek Nursery was the first commercial plant donor. In recent years, the Minnesota Horticultural Society's MN Green program has secured many new plants for Como Corner and many other public spaces in SE Como.

• Como Corner's most pesky weeds are Creeping Charlie and Creeping Bellflower. Sound familiar? Charlie comes out pretty easily with hand pulling but spreads just as easily. Creeping Bellflower was a common old fashioned garden flower that has taken over many gardens. It needs to be dug out by the roots, usually with a good garden fork. 

• The garden's peak is in July -- with a riot of hollyhock, phlox, daylily, liatris, and coneflower. 

• Como Corner's bench was bought with neighborhood funds and installed by volunteers.---this seat is open to all and provides great views of the garden, trains, and the neighborhood.

• Como Corner's volunteers also adopted the bus shelter -- before Metro Transit moved it. The volunteers who pitch-in at Como Corner pick up litter throughout the garden, boulevards, and bus shelters.

• Como Corner always needs more supporters! Volunteer-supported spaces need a wide network of resources to ensure their upkeep. Volunteers are not just gardeners, but carpenters, phone callers, photographers, truck and tool owners, designers, publicists...the list goes on. What talents can you offer to your neighborhood?

• Como Corner has been lucky the past few years to have spring cleanup support from University student groups. We have also had "volunteers" from the Restorative Justice program, who have been great workers,

• The neighborhood adores this garden and like many other community gardens, it has nurtured many new friendships as people weed and plant together. It is a fine example of how to create community and beauty in highly visible but un-buildable site.