Kindness is…Growing Carrots

Hello garden friends and Grow Appalachia followers!

It’s March 2018, and since our last post we’ve celebrated the holidays and now winters end, well sorta. We got a few inches of snow on the first day of spring! Nevertheless, Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden is beginning to awaken. The garden is full of excited, committed gardeners who already have hoop houses are on several beds, pansies and daffodils are cheering up the space, and pea and dill seeds are in the ground.

Part of Over-the-Rhine’s new year resolution is to lead a successful market garden.  I  will be growing flowers and herbs for profit, selling a majority of my crops to neighborhood restaurants and small businesses. My  journey will be documented through this monthly blog, so stay tuned for a colorful, fragrant season.

Other garden plans include growing vegetables and herbs for a local food pantry. Our garden is located near several popular breweries, which inspired  another gardener to add a trellis to one of the brick walls in order to  grow hops!  Soil temperatures are slowly rising, and potato plugs will soon be going into the community bed. A bean teepee surrounded by purple and green cabbage will be fun addition to the back corner communal section of the garden too.

Two volunteer days with local organizations are planned for this spring: April 27th from 1:00PM-4:00PM and again on May 5th from 10:00AM-12:30PM. Organizing groups to tour our garden and lend us help allows for more people to learn how to grow food and of course getting bigger jobs completed faster. During these volunteer dates we hope to knock out spreading a load of compost to our raised beds and a load of wood chips onto our pathways. If you are interested in joining us on these dates or would like to set up a time to tour and volunteer in our city garden please email me at

“Kindness is… Growing carrots,” was written by a sweet kindergarten student at St. Francis Seraph School located 2 blocks from Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden.  I work at the school, and I am fortunate to be able to share my love and knowledge of gardening with students by taking field trips to the garden and through teaching health & wellness classes.

Thanks again for following our urban garden, Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden, and we look forward to sharing this seasons adventures through our monthly blog. Please enjoy a few pictures from recent garden meet ups.

Peace, Love, Happiness and Gardening,



Christina Matthews, Garden Coordinator

Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden
Cincinnati, OH



Daffodils are a sure sign that spring is near and make us happy as we are busy planning. They also make a great addition to home bouquets.






Seeds are started in the shed as well as in my home. My cat Riff Raff is keeping a close eye on my baby flowers.



Spring Food: Sweet turnips, kale and rhubarb


Season Extension!

Spring pansies, two pink dianthus perennials, and a forsythia bush are being added to the garden for a early splash of color.


 A broadfork is used here to loosen the soil in our front bed, thanks to my husband for tilling the plot. I will begin to plant a succession of sunflower seeds for my new fresh flower business in the next few months.


Check out this huge earthworm that surfaced while loosening the soil. Earthworms are well respected garden friends as they offer many great soil benefits.

This picture shows where one of our community gardeners plans to add a 20 ft trellis up the brick wall and grow hops.


About the Author:

For over thirty years Civic Garden Center (CGC) has been working with neighborhood residents and community-based organizations to create community gardens as well as providing technical support and advanced training in growing fruits and vegetables using organic practices. Our goal is to not only to start community gardens but to provide ongoing support so they will be sustainable and thrive into the future. The first community garden was the Over-The-Rhine People's Garden, built in 1980. Since then community gardening has blossomed all across greater Cincinnati. There are dozens of these magnificent green and growing areas throughout the city. Cleaning up and converting blighted, vacant lots improve the image of the neighborhood, how people feel about it and about themselves. These thriving green spaces create a nurturing refuge, often in places where there are no other parks or green space available. Community gardening brings people living in these neighborhoods together, helping to rebuild the bonds of community. Neighborhood residents who participate have direct access to the fresh, nutritious produce these gardens provide. Our award-winning Community Gardens Program is one of the Civic Garden Center's longest-standing community outreach efforts. Starting with a pilot garden in 1980, the program was formally established in 1981(as the Neighborhood Gardens Program) to assist community groups, primarily in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, converting blighted vacant lots into beautiful and productive community food gardens and parks. The current Community Gardens Program continues to provide individuals and groups technical assistance, leadership training, horticulture education and start-up support to help them successfully organize, plan, build and sustain their gardens. A core component of the Community Gardens Program is the Community Garden Development Training (CGDT) program. CGDT offers a unique and successful set of tools to help neighbors of all ages come together to create community gardens. The heart of CGDT twelve class series is the peer-centered curriculum that allows participants to share their talents and utilize community resources to develop and implement neighborhood gardening projects. The CGDT curriculum is three-fold covering community development, garden administration and sustainable gardening practices. Twenty-eight years of experience has demonstrated the practical value of these projects: • Community garden programs teach participants self-reliance and a variety of skills useful in running the gardens and in other aspects of community work and family life. • Community Gardens offer participants direct access to fresh, nutritious produce. • Numerous health studies show that gardening positively impacts body, mind and soul, benefiting participants from both active and passive involvement. • Gardening provides unique recreational outlets and a healthy source of exercise for people of all ages. • Community gardens bring people together, helping to build the bonds of community. • Cleaning up and converting blighted vacant lots improves the image of the neighborhood, how people feel about it and about themselves. • Reports show that this kind of community involvement can actually help reduce vandalism and bring down crime rates.

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