Happy Fall from Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden!
Cincinnati, Ohio— We made it through another season! A season like nothing I have ever experienced—gardening through a pandemic. But, none the less, it was fabulously successful and fun.  We are now headed into my favorite time of year— Autumn.
The peach tree and apple trees are picked clean and the gardeners and I are transitioning our beds to cooler weather crops including Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots and lettuce. Gardener Jill has had great success starting many of her fall crops with seed—beginning at home under grow lights. So anticipating what she is going to bring to the garden each week is a large part of the fun.
Although one might assume gardening would begin to slow down as colder weather is approaching, that is simply not the case. Gardeners are busy this time of year harvesting and preserving their crops for winter, saving seed for the next year, and dusting off season extension materials. There is always work to be done in a garden. And lots of volunteer opportunities!
Speaking of volunteering, Garden Club has resumed for the fall!  At this point, the youth members have been focusing primarily on watering and collecting litter—two very important, much-needed components. As a small independent business owner, sometimes my work schedule impedes my ability to volunteer as often as I would like. It warms my heart to know that, even in my absence, these committed teens are there to take up the reigns and get the work done. I am often inspired by what grows in the garden, but what inspires me more is the enthusiasm and dedication of these young people.
The garden itself has gotten quite the attention this year too! Renowned photographers and social-media influencers have come to check us out. Laura Jones, for example, an independent photographer with a real eye for capturing nature, stopped by to take a few shots. She’s also one of my best girlfriends and a snazzy gardener too! Here are some photos from her visit.  Make sure to check out her instagram @jones.bloomphoto and her website https://www.bloom-photo.com.  She is so talented!
Another fabulous photographer, Stephen T. Shumard, also came for a visit. Stephen is responsible for the successful Cincinnati Instagram page, @513_Cincinnati. He not only took photos, but shared the history and stories of our garden with all of his followers.  We love the photos!
In addition, we were fortunate to have Anna Mae Groves and her family come down to volunteer in the community garden. Following their tour, they stayed to help us clear the fence line from litter and overgrown morning glory. Anna is an inspirational beauty expert who shares great Do-It-Yourself tips on social media. In addition to volunteering, Anna is a great client who frequently purchases flowers from me. 🙂  Check her out on Facebook & Instagram @annamaegroves
Finally, one of the biggest treats this summer was the opportunity to partner with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Due to the pandemic, many of the musicians are unable to host their usual concerts. As a consequence, they have been partnering with community gardens across the city to preform pop-up shows. OTR People’s Garden was their first performance! It was a true delight and I know our plants were loving the music too.
A heartfelt Thank You goes out to all these great people for bringing attention to our garden. The more people we can reach, the better!
Speaking of better, my growing business is thriving. Being outdoors, my business is not as impacted by this dreaded pandemic as others have been. My heart goes out to those less fortunate entrepreneurs. Gratefully, my gardens are still pumping out lots of gorgeous blooms and pinching myself with the amount of interest my fall garden wreaths are generating. I have been collecting and drying bits from the garden all summer long and it is definitely paying off.
Here is a note from Greg Potter the Community Gardens Coordinator for The Civic garden Center of Greater Cincinnati:
Here at the Civic Garden Center, it has been amazingly busy. In addition to all of our usual work with the Community Gardens, our education has gone 100% virtual. While we have been able to keep that going even through the spring when the staff was furloughed it was a bit piece meal. These last couple of weeks there has finally been enough breathing room to strategize about how this effort can work most effectively in an ongoing manner. Anyone that is teaching virtually knows that it takes even more time for class preparation. Our cooking classes are being done live much like you would see on TV but our gardening education requires us to shoot video and edit it for broadcast during the webinar. A lot of time and staff involvement. The payoff? We are reaching more people. Now it is up to us to make that engagement the most effective possible. We are going with at least one monthly garden and one monthly cooking class year round! It’s going on right now but the logical jumping on point for new gardeners will be in December. We will walk anyone through the process of growing food for themselves from the germ of that idea to a bountiful harvest. The next two classes coming in October will be Fall Clean-up and then we will have a Seed Saving class with guest instructor Ben Cohen, a grower for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! It’s hectic, sometimes stressful, always challenging and what we were always meant to do.

The Victory Garden Class Calendar 2020-21

October – Garden cleanup, Seed saving

November – Lesson learned and thinking about next year

December – So you want to grow food?

January – Planning your garden pt. 1 and 2

February – Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening, Seed Starting

March – Soil health, Garden Bed Prep

April – Starting Spring Crops in the ground

May – Weed Management, Pest Management

June – Irrigation and Fertilization, Supplemental Protection

July – Fall Crop Planning, Cover Crops

August – No class

September – Season Extension

In the interim, thanks for checking in with Cincinnati’s oldest community garden. Until next month, stay well friends!


Flower Farmer-Florsit & Volunteer Community Garden Coordinator for Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden