My regular readers will remember that we took on a small plot in a community garden last year. We attempted to employ the three sisters method of growing corn, squash and beans. While the corn and beans did reasonably well, the winter squash was a complete disaster. Undaunted, we applied for a larger plot this year. Our space at the International Harvest Garden for 2016 was going to be a 12’X36’ rather than our 12’X12’ from last year. Before we began work this year, our fantastic coordinator offered us the plot next to ours as well, making our space 24’X36’…plenty of room to try some new crops!
The International Harvest Garden is located southwest of downtown, making it very convenient to our home. During the height of summer where minimal equipment will be required, we can bike to the garden to weed, water and harvest. The mission of the garden, provided by Franklin County is threefold. Preserving green space. Community gardens add to the acreage of parks and other means, while allowing the land to be used in a productive manner. Support food banks. Community gardens often help supply local food pantries. Fresh produce is always in high demand, and a portion of the food grown at each garden could be directed to food banks in the immediate vicinity. Helping Those In Need. There is a critical need for improved nutrition in low-income communities. Access to fresh produce in these areas remains a challenge, and it is often the case that residents must travel significant distances to obtain it. Efforts can be made to connect low-income residents and food from community gardens.
Ohio ranks among the worst states for food security in the U.S. In throughout the nation, 17.4 million households don’t have enough food to eat. That is absolutely appalling! We will be donating part of our harvest to the Mid Ohio Foodbank this year so I hope we have bumper crops. We began to lay out the garden, digging up raised beds and laying down straw for paths and mulch. We still have quite a bit to get planted, but I thought I would share our plans and our progress!
We will be growing corn this year in a larger space, along with sweet potatoes, three varieties of heirloom potatoes, onions, amaranth (a grain), brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. We are going to employ a new technique (to us) to grow paste tomatoes, peppers as well as winter squash. We sunk 1-3 gallon planting tubs into the ground at intervals. These will house manure, which will be watered to deliver nutrients to the root of the plants. We are also trying a few new crops this year since we have the room. We are going to attempt to grow watermelon and cantaloupe. We are also going to try our hand at growing peanuts and sorghum (for chicken feed and syrup).
We are making progress and we hope to have many more pictures of maturing crops to share…and of course the crops themselves to eat!!
It is such a blessing to have a community garden available and I encourage everyone to check out the resources in their own community to participate in a community garden!