Castro Valley Sanitary District
21040 Marshall Street, Castro Valley
Gardening experience: Total 1 year at this location.
Garden size: one acre, 86% native
Showcase feature: In the spring of 2006, a drab, high-maintenance garden containing hedges, roses, and a thirsty lawn (which consumed 24,000 gallons of water a year!) was removed and replaced with native and Mediterranean plants by Michael Thilgen of Four Dimensions Landscape Development. Thirty-six species of natives—twenty-three of them locally native—have been incorporated into this small garden. The renovated landscape, which has reduced maintenance and water costs, is maintained by students with disabilities, in a program run through the Castro Valley Adult School.
Other garden attractions:
- A bioswale (shallow depression) allows storm water to drain slowly and naturally into the soil. The excavated soil was re-used on site to create a raised bed.
- Cardboard and two inches of mulch help to control weeds.
- Check out the informative signage (the body of each sign was made from scrap aluminum), and the weather sensor—which measures temperature and evaporation, and tells the irrigation system when to water.
- Ask about the building, which is certified as a "Green Business" because of its use of recycled and recyclable materials.
Gardening for wildlife: There are no pest problems here! Insects are considered valuable additions to the landscape, and a visible sign of a healthy ecosystem.
From Oakland/580 East: Proceed south and east to Castro Valley. Exit freeway at the third Castro Valley exit (Center St).*
From Oakland/880 South or Fremont/880 North: Take the 238 connector to Castro Valley/Stockton and 580 East (238 later becomes 580 East). Exit at the Center St. exit.*
*From Center Street: Turn left and cross back over the freeway. Turn left at the fist traffic signal (Castro Valley Blvd). Proceed west to Marshall St. (the second traffic signal) and turn right.
From Livermore/580 West: Proceed West on 580. Exit the freeway at the Crow Canyon Road exit. Turn left onto Castro Valley Blvd and proceed west to Marshall St (the fourth traffic signal). Turn right onto Marshall St.