Gardening can be a great activity that brings peace into one’s life, while also saving on the cost of groceries. In Pasco County, there are community gardens that allow residents to claim a plot for free and grow fruits and vegetables.

Locations range from Dade City, Land O’ Lakes, San Antonio, Zephyrhills, Shady Hills and Wesley Chapel. Community gardening has been growing in popularity throughout the years. UF/IFAS Extension Community Gardens Program Assistant Chris Carreiro said one of the benefits of gardening is improving your mental health.

“If you can imagine early in the morning, there you are, you’ve got your plants, and that disconnection you get from your normal routine gives you a sense of well-being, and that can cascade,” Carreiro said. “If you’re having a bad day, the next day you might go to the garden and feel better.”

The other benefit is growing your own food, Carreiro added. The community garden is open to all residents, and with the price of groceries these days, it can save you money if you grow your own food.

While each garden offers a space for individual use, a section is cordoned off for gardeners to plant seeds and share their yield with others. Everybody tends the community plot and harvests what they would like from it.

The Pasco County Community Gardens website, www.pascocountyfl.net/3396/Community-Gardens, offers helpful videos of recipes as part of its “Pasco Plant to Plate Cooking Series.” The latest recipes feature hot pepper boats, no-bake stuffed peppers, bell pepper pizza, and eggplant pizza bites.

For information on the Community East Gardens, contact Kyle Christmas at 352-521-1255 or kchristmas@pascocountyfl.net and for information on Community Central and West Gardens, contact Chris Carreiro at 813-996-2411 Ext. 2458 or ccarreiro@pascocountyfl.net.