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Collage of Photos in the Ochs Garden

Chester Ochs 4-H Center to Open Community Garden in Fall

The Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center will open it’s first inter-generational garden in Fall of 2019.  The Ochs Community Garden will be open to any Pinellas County Resident interested in gardening. 

BACKGROUND

On June 19, 1991 the property was turned over to the citizens of Pinellas County and called “The Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center” and the Chester Ochs Park, in keeping with Chester Ochs’ request to have his property become an official county park three years from his death.  The buildings of the Chester Ochs 4-H Center were originally the living residence of Chester Ochs and a small retail shop of his citrus grove. These were converted to meeting and storage areas.  The land was his citrus grove and apiary.  The 4-H Educational Center has been exclusively used by Pinellas County 4-H and Extension, while the park is open to the public with trails and dog walks.

The Chester Ochs 4-H Center has been an active and critical portion of the UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension office. Since then, the center has provided countless youth and 4-H volunteers an opportunity to teach and experience activities from archery to agriculture over the past twenty-seven years.  The primary focus for the center has been youth gardening, as it is one of the last large plots of land in the area and to honor the center’s history in agriculture.  Day camps, overnight camps, and many clubs have met here since it’s donation.  Many residents and 4-H alumni and volunteers have fond memories of the center, with new memories being made to this day, as the center retains it’s mission to teach the youth residents of Pinellas County vital skills for their futures.

CURRENT USES

The Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center is currently the home of the 4-H Garden and the 4-H Archery Clubs.  The garden club will meet on Saturday mornings beginning in the fall of 2019.  Topics will include container gardening, pollinators, composting, and more.  The archery club meets Monday afternoons.  If interested in joining these clubs, contact abowers@pinellascounty.org.

COMMUNITY GARDEN FOR 2019-2020

  • Who: Open to all Pinellas County residents interested in gardening
    • Youth ages 5-18 and adults 18 and up
    • Limited to a max of 10 8×8 ft plots (or more if smaller) for adults and 4 8×8 plots and container gardens for the youth
  • What: An inter-generational community garden at the Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center. All garden plot proceeds go to benefit the Chester Ochs 4-H garden, youth, and club.
  • When: Garden open to adults Monday and Fridays 9-11am and youth and their families Saturdays 9-11am
    • Informational Meeting for adults: September 13 at 9am
    • Informational Meeting for 4-H club: September 21 9am
    • Fall planting season to begin on October 7th, ending in January
  • Where: Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center, 14644 113th Ave N, Largo, FL 33774
  • Why: To provide a community gardening space for the benefit of Pinellas County residents to have access to fresh food, recreation, and educational opportunities as well as to teach youth important life skills such as responsibility, science competencies, teamwork, gardening, and many more.
  • How: Community gardeners will pay a fee or volunteer a certain number of hours per season
    • Cost or hours needed per plot:
      • 8×8: $50 or 20 hours of volunteering
      • 4×8: $35 or 15 hours of volunteering
      • 4×4: $25 or 10 hours of volunteering

More details or to register for the community garden plot: Eventbrite Registration

Notes:

All community gardeners will be background screened through Pinellas county, since youth are often at the site. This will also give gardeners access to worker’s comp and other volunteer benefits. Volunteer projects will be garden maintenance and beautification, or working with youth gardening education on Saturdays (additional screening may be required). To apply and get the volunteer process started, fill out the Pinellas County Volunteer Application here and select “4-H” as your interest and write “community garden” somewhere in the notes sections: http://www.pinellascounty.org/forms/vip-volunteer–application-form.htm

Email Alyssa abowers@pinellascounty.org or call 727-582-2597 for more information!

Ochs Vegetable harvest

Spring Vegetable Harvest

Ochs Garden in Full Bloom in Spring

Ochs Garden Plots