Last month we were approached by the Floyd County Housing Authority and asked to do a presentation on container gardens. The Housing Authority’s ROSS Coordinator, Sherry Hilton, is always looking for ways to help their tenants learn to live healthier, most effective lives and growing their own fresh produce is one way to do those things. (ROSS stands for Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency).
I arranged to take the demonstration of how to grow food in containers on your front porch to two different housing complexes—Ivy Creek and Warco—during their Summer Kick Off. The activities were geared for kids although there were plenty of adults around. I brought several different containers from new self-watering window box planters to empty coffee cans and proceeded to show the kids and their families that you can grow food in just about any kind of container you can find as long as there is drainage, sun and water. I was able to explain how some plants work together well and how the addition of flowers not only adds visible appeal but attracts pollinators.
At both sites, I had the participants sign up for a drawing and gave away all of the gardens that we made. Two of my favorites were a lettuce & tomato garden in a five gallon bucket and a pizza garden in a window box.
During my first meeting with Sherry, I mentioned that community gardens were often very well received in low income communities and that Grow Appalachia is working with several different gardens which met that exact need. Sherry didn’t mention names but said that there had been a small community garden at one of their locations but it had to be shut down. Apparently there was some argument over tenants who didn’t do the work eating the vegetables and I’m pretty sure there was a mention of firearms being involved. So while front porch gardens are not as productive as community gardens, I was encouraged to see small container gardens on several front porches.