Friday, June 3, 2011

Columbus Growing Coalition Breaks For Summer

Last night, the Greater Columbus Growing Coalition met at the Florentine Restaurant on the near West Side for its last meeting for the summer.

Highland Youth Community Garden. When I arrived, Peggy Murphy was giving a presentation about the Highland Youth Garden in the Hilltop on the near West Side. She discussed in detail their recent experience with installing a drip irrigation water system and what's involved in hooking up to City water. They do not know how much it will cost for the season, but the Weinland Park Community Garden folks suggested that it could run from $350 to $900 for the season (depending on the weather). Ms. Strader from the City's Public Utilities Department was present to answer questions about other water options and tentative plans by the City Health Department to lease 550-gallon water tanks (like the one at the SACG) to City Land Bank Community Gardens so that they could harvest rain water or perhaps purchase water from the City Service Department (that could be delivered by street cleaning trucks). However, this idea is very tentative. We also discussed the need to also purchase a deduct meter (so that the garden is not charged for sewage in addition to water) and the cost involved in turning on and turning off the city tap at the beginning and end of each season. It was surprisingly expensive.

Peggy also announced that Strader's Nursery had been extremely generous and donated 300 flats of tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, etc. to the Highland Hilltop Garden yesterday. Hundreds of neighbors descended on the garden to share in the good fortune. The ever-so-helpful Patrick Kaufman from the Franklinton Community Garden loaded up the back of his yellow pickup truck with flats of tomatoes and cabbage for the rest of us to share. I brought back a flat of cabbage seedlings for the SACG. (When I arrived at the SACG, I found Charlie, Louise and Fred there finishing up the cultivation of our last two plots. We are now fully cultivated for the season and will not have room for more gardeners unless people drop out. Frank had also installed our wonderful gates. Louise wasted no time in putting cabbage into the ground).

Group Discussion. The Coalition then engaged in a discussion of what we would like to accomplish as a group. Some people felt that improvement was needed in publicizing the existence of the group and time/place of the meetings. There was discussion about creating a Facebook page (which won't help me because I am not on Facebook and do not plan to join in the foreseeable future). The group liked sharing resources (such as the seeds that were shared in our last meeting) and the seedlings in this meeting. Trish thought that we should do a better job of setting out alternatives for community gardens based on our level of resources. Some gardens have no money and need leads for free or shared resources. Others have grant funds and can adopt more elaborate options (like backflow watering systems). Patrick would like to have a list of experts on various topics (like pruning fruit trees) so that he would know who to call on a particular topic.


There will be a FREE gardening workshop at the SACG on Wednesday, June 8 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss companion planting. Barb Arnold from the Franklin Park Conservatory will be leading the discussion. It would be a good idea to bring a folding chair.

Derrick announced that had free art for community gardens. The art is created by local youths. Contact

Growing Hearts and Hands Community Garden on Oak Street is having a workshop on preserving produce through dehydration on July 19 at 1:00 p.m.

There will be No GCGC Meeting in July and August because we are all so busy with our gardens. If you want to get on the GCGC email list, contact Noreen Warnock at Local Matters (because she is having trouble reading everyone's handwriting from the sign-in list):

Peggy announced that the God's Gardeners will be meeting on Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30 at Christ Lutheran Church in Bexley to discuss plans to start 200 new church-supported community gardens in Columbus in 2012. (I will be strawberry picking this morning and will bring some to the meeting as an inducement -- if they are still edible:).

Finally, I am sad to report that the Franklinton Garden did not win $50K from the Pepsi Refresh project competition. Patrick said it was a good experience and they gained some new volunteers and contacts from the attempt. :(

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