One of about 130 plots in the Kentucky Community Garden waiting to be cleaned up and tended to

This is part one of a four-part gardening series

The lot at the corner of Franklin and West 38th Street in Cleveland, OH, has quite a history. It started as a reservoir that provided water for the community, then became a garden for the City of Cleveland’s educational horticulture program, then a victory garden during World War II, and then in the 1970s it finally became what it is now – Kentucky Garden, the oldest community garden in Cleveland.

That’s how Gail Long, Steering Committee Chair, started the new gardener orientation on Saturday, April 12. With a group of about 20 new gardeners waiting to see their plot of land where they can grow anything they want, Gail reviewed everything they need to know about their upcoming year of gardening with each other, including the most important thing:

“This garden doesn’t work without all of us pitching in,” she stressed.

This means aside from tending to their own plots, they need to put in 5-10 volunteer hours (depending on the size of their plot) of garden community work throughout the year, like keeping the border of the garden nice or taking care of the community garlic plot, which isn’t the only food they grow.

Gardeners are able to partake in the community flowers and fruit, including peaches, pears, berries and grapes – one of the perks of being in the Kentucky Garden community. The other benefits might differ depending on the person you talk to. For some people, having a plot in this garden means food for their family. For others, like Gail, it’s a relaxing time they look forward to. But for everybody, being part of the community means fellowship.

Looking at the group of new gardeners, this garden might be the only thing they have in common, but the feeling of comradery is instant. They’re all here for the same thing, even if it’s for different reasons. And though they’re strangers now, they are all part of the Kentucky Garden community.

Gail’s community garden etiquette:

  – Respect other gardeners, their personal property and their plots.

  – work together and communicate with each other.

Mr Beams community garden lighting:

  – Kentucky Garden, as well as other community gardens, let gardeners tend to their plots whenever they want. If you’re working at dusk or into the night, we recommend keeping an UltraBright LED Lantern with you for convenience and safety

Read the rest of the series here:

  – Part 2: Urban Chicken Keeping: How to Get Farm Fresh Eggs From Your Backyard

  – Part 3: Learning Life Skills Through the Garden

  – Part 4: American Farmers: As Important Now As Ever