Summer days in the City Garden

Happy summer Grow Appalachia friends! 

This summer has been filled with so many highlights I don’t know where to even begin! So I will just start. First up, victories from the Summer Sprouts “Grow Your Business” class. I created a 5 week course where I taught students the basics of how to start a business, grow flowers and food, healthy eating habits, and how to prepare the produce for market.  Some of my personal favorite moments include a hot pepper eating contest, teaching the group how to make their own boutonnières, and listening to the youth recite and fine tune their elevator speech. Fall Sprouts ”Grow Your Business” class is picking back up with a new group and will begin next week. 




Growing flowers for profit in our market gardens has been a great success this year, and we have so many ideas to make next year bigger and better. The majority of the flowers the gardeners and I have grown can be seen in the restaurants located in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati.   We have also been selling flowers by the bucket for special events, and I’ve had the opportunity lead flower crown parties—which is my favorite. It has been great to use the flowers as a way to get more people interested in supporting our city garden. 



Gardeners, Jill and Chris have been doing so much in the garden too! The hops Chris planted have grown all the way to the top of the trellis and are flowering. Both Jill and Chris are garden machines, but watching Jill grow so much beautiful food has been really incredible. Her garden beds are gorgeous works of art!  All season she has been dedicated to the garden. I enjoy watching her growing and sharing her food. She has an amazing gift of being able to teach others in our community how to do it as well. Lately she has been harvesting what’s left of our summer crop and preserving it. Cheers to two of my garden heroes!


The garden has been producing so much yummy heart healthy food for us and the community to enjoy. What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable you like to grow? Here are a few of ours.


Thanks for coming back to read about our garden adventures. We’ll be back in a few weeks to talk Fall!

Peace, Love, Gardens & Flowers, 

Christina, Garden Coordinator for Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden 

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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