Monday, August 10, 2009

Bexley Area Community Gardens Welcome ACGA Visitors on Saturday

On Saturday, community gardeners from across the nation visited four Bexley area community gardens as part of the American Community Garden Association national conference being held at nearby Franklin Park Conservatory. The ACGA hosted several garden tours for its visitors, including tours of new community gardens and nearby church gardens.

The New Garden tour started at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden. Alysha, Betty and Maxcine joined me in welcoming about fifteen visitors in the morning from places as diverse as Anaheim, California; Camden, New Jersey; Burlington, Vermont; St. Louis, Missouri; and Atlanta Georgia, as well as their guide, Christine Nohle (owner of the former Urban Gardener in the Short North). The tour presented an opportunity for experienced community gardeners to advise new community gardeners through their early growing pains.

They were extremely friendly and supportive of what we had accomplished. Like many other visitors, they were fascinated by the height and shape of Alysha’s tomatoes (especially the beefstake tomatoes). Some of them each took a tomato with them in order to harvest the seeds for their own gardens next year.

At Stoddart, they asked about the following issues and provided the following suggestions:

* Suggested that we attach a 500-gallon water tank to the downspout of a nearby vacant building to collect rain water which will sustain us through the dry season (especially if we were to expand). It could be decorated with graffiti from neighborhood artists and kids.
* Asked about our policies and procedures for expelling gardeners;
* Suggested that we begin charging at least a small fee from each gardener in order to create a fund to buy more compost and to give them a feeling of ownership in the Garden’s success;
*Suggested that we increase the size of the raised beds for the pumpkins and to add compost to where the tentacles grab the ground;
* Suggested that we apply for grants in order to purchase common tools for the neighbors who do not own their own;
* Suggested that we apply for a grant to pay for environmental pollution testing;
* Asked about whether I keep regular “garden” hours so that gardeners know how to reach me;
* Asked about our many sunflowers;
* Discussed the pesky construction debris lying immediately under the soil.

At Bexley, Barb, Mike and Mike’s girls welcomed them in the morning. They discussed how to overwinter the garden, adding compost, allocating work, children’s gardens, the lovely new benches and planting more flowers to attract bees.

After the Bexley Community Garden, the new garden tour then visited the new garden at the Governors’ Residence. The Church Garden tour included the Christ the King garden on Livingston Avenue.

I wish I had a better picture as they toured each part of the Garden, but they kept me so busy that I was unable to take a picture of anything other than the first two visitors coming off their bus in front of the Stoddart Garden.

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