30 June 2012

Urban Gardening

Here is a little day-in-the-life post about being a gardening intern at the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati. Today I will be highlighting two gardens that I've spent a good deal in this last week: the West End Garden and The People's Garden in Over-the-Rhine. These are two of the oldest community gardens in Cincinnati. People's is the oldest, coming in at a whopping 30 years. It's followed closely, by only five years, by the West End Garden at 25 years. We start our day at the Civic Garden itself where we load up the truck.
Then we head to the gardens, this is the West End Garden. It is largely tended by retired people from the neighborhood, though there are three young men who have plots in the garden. Gerri, the garden manager, was giving me a little history about the garden and spoke about how the garden has had a harder time recently with it's gardeners getting so old (she was 70 herself, though she didn't look a day over 50!). It's harder for these folks to make it down to the garden on a regular basis and then to garden in heat on top of it. Gerri said that most of the folks walk here, not many people have cars in the area which makes it harder for the older crowd. She was rather dismayed at the young people's lack of interest in the garden, however she was very encouraged by the three young men who were tending plots in the garden.
This is the compost pile, followed by the wind row compost. Earlier today you couldn't see that there was a compost bin around the pile and the wind row was non-existent. The difference between the two methods is that the compost pile is (technically) a hot bed of micro-organism activity. It is supposed to be turned often and will in turn kill any organic matter (even weeds) that is put into it. A wind row is a slower, colder method that promotes larger organisms like worms, ants and beetles. It's benefits are that because it is completely exposed rats can't/won't/are less likely to make nests in it. It's also very low-maintenance.
This is the People's Garden in Over-the-Rhine. It is currently going through a tougher time as the garden manager's health is declining. It is made up of individual plots, youth plots and community plots. I'm not sure who tends the youth plots but it is likely a neighborhood-based program. The community plots are available for all the gardeners to take produce from. The Civic Garden Center (me and Peter) generally tends these plots.
This is one of the other interns, Ellie, who primarily works in garden youth education.
And this is Peter, my boss, whom I work with most of the time (I work under 3 others as well!).
I am hoping to document the other community gardens that I work in this summer, as there are many, and are exceptionally diverse and wonderful!

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