Hello from Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden located in the inner city of Cincinnati, Ohio! It’s our 7th year with Grow Appalachia and we are off to an interesting start as we garden our way through a pandemic. More than ever before, I feel certain that learning how to grow food is an essential life skill. Because of the coronavirus, we have shifted our busy spring calendar—full of gardening and cooking classes, group tours, and new gardener introductions—to growing as much as possible (6ft away from each other, of course). One of the staples in my house has been what I call, OTR vegetable soup. Especially kind on your budget and it’s full of vegetables from the garden. The hearty soup stock is made with garlic, celery, and onions,  parsley, chive, turmeric, himalayan salt, and water. All ingredients that are known to help you stay healthy!
Along with fellow gardeners, Jill, Chris, and my husband, Jeff, we have been busy with preparing and planting the city garden with flowers, herbs and food. Our hope is that by June we will be able to invite more people into the garden. But until then we will continue to tend to the precious spring crop until it is ready to share.
Gardeners Jill and Chris are a wonderful couple who have been gardening with us for a few years now. Chris is always there to help us fix something. The weed wacker, mower, broken garden beds—you name it, he can fix it. When he’s not busy fixing something, helping a neighbor, or cleaning up the litter in and around the garden, you’ll find him tending to his hops. Yes, hops, the stuff you make beer with.  We all look forward to his OTR garden brew! Jill is our vegetable queen, although she grows a beautiful flower patch too!  Her winter planning and seed starting has paid off.  She began bombing the garden with delicious seasonal foods like heirloom cabbages, kale, peas, carrots, onions, beets, turnips, radishes. leeks, celery, and potatoes way back in March.  We are starting to reap the rewards now!
Jeff and I have been spending our time growing flowers in the market garden section of Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden. We have also been planting a fair amount of vegetables and herbs in the community sections of the garden and clearing more beds for planting. I have also been able to stay busy as a second-year flower farmer-florist by offering contactless bouquets. It appears that sheltering at home sparks a need for beauty and the outdoors that a beautiful bouquet of flowers can provide. I even have a waiting list for personal customers as well as other florists! So, hopefully, this is a sign that everything is going to be OK.
 Although gardening classes are not currently offered, due to social distancing, a few of the youth who attend the garden club have stopped by the garden fence line to ask about their plot and want to know what I am doing.  It warms my heart to see them care so much about their plants. Before they left I made sure they took a few spring blooms home with them too.
Community Gardens Coordinator for the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati, Greg Potter,  has been doing a great job of filming gardening how-to videos. In the link below you can find his seed starting video where he uses common household items as the planting container, along with many other great tutorials about native plants, water conservation and more. Check it out!
Thank you for following our urban community garden via our blog. We’ll be back again next month. Stay well and garden onward!
Peace, Love, Happiness & Flowers,
Garden Site Coordinator for Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden