Euclid's green thumbers will soon enjoy fruits of their labor

Area residents assemble their rain barrel during a recent rain barrel workshop. Rain water collected in these barrels are better for yard plants, provide some reduction in water entering the storm drain, and saves on the water bill.

Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And so my garden grows.

Who hasn’t heard that nursery rhyme before? Sure, one can argue the political overtones of this little diddy, but let’s dispense with the that and focus on how the words fit so nicely with the magic that is taking place behind the Euclid city jail.

A number of Euclid residents have been making wonderful things grow in Euclid’s newest community garden, located behind the city jail on Milton Avenue. Early spring rains, summer sunshine and a lot of sweat equity seem to be the key ingredients to the mounds of vegetables, herbs and annuals that line the various beds.

Loraine Zupancic is the gardener-in-chief of this first-year venture. Her infectious enthusiasm and willingness to learn new gardening techniques and coach others in their efforts to grow their own have proven to be fun for those involved. As she had hoped, there seems to be a real community forming among those involved in this gardening effort.

Over the winter and into the early spring, the city of Euclid donated the land used by the community gardeners. Zupancic and her core team of volunteers worked with the city to provide water spigots and storage for gardening equipment and set the stage for would-be gardeners.

Those interested in community gardening completed an application and paid a nominal fee for gardening space that ranges in size from 10 by four feet to 20 by 10 feet. Some gardeners rototilled their beds. Others opted for a raised bed, and assistance was available for those who wanted to build them. Zupancic introduced “lasagna” gardening (built up layers of soil, compost and other organic material) for those who didn’t want to cut through and dig down into hard ground. Gardeners have wood chips, soil and composing organic matter available to add to their gardens. Many of the individual gardeners have gone so far to decorate their beds, giving them a homier look and feel.

Since this is a community garden, participating gardeners have agreed to volunteer time to the general upkeep and maintenance of the grounds. This work may include planting donated annuals and perennials to common areas, mowing and weed whacking the grounds, care and upkeep of equipment, and ensuring garbage is picked up. The shared responsibility for maintaining the grounds adds to the  commitment of those involved and that sense of community.

Zupancic is working with The Ohio State University Extension program to ensure the community garden is healthy and sustainable. She has brought speakers to discuss the merits of recycling, composing and rain barrels. She’s busy planning more speakers for the gardeners and community at large, and information related to those events will be available as details are finalized.

So, whether you are Mistress Mary, who is quite contrary, so Bob or Sue, make a point of stopping by Euclid’s community garden, just north of the city jail, and get inspired by the lovely things thriving there!

Read More on Green Euclid
Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 7:08 PM, 07.09.2011