Getting Down and Dirty In Our Community Gardens

By Max Resnik


5 photos

June 28, 2011 Updated Jun 28, 2011 at 6:16 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The Allen County Extension Office says the number of community gardens in the Allen County area has increased 50-75% in the last five to 10 years.

In fact, the extension office says more than 150 homeowners from the area have gone to the office to have their soil tested to determine which crops are best suited for their gardens. Gonzalee Martin, Agricultural Extension Agent, says gardeners are discovering the joy of eating fresh, locally grown vegetables.

“Once people get in the habit of growing their own vegetables, they have a tendency to enjoy fresh grown, local foods and once they start growing it, it becomes therapeutic and they enjoy it and continue to do it."

That is the case for Khyla Cotten and Treva Datcher who joined their Aunt at St. Henry’s Community Garden today. Khyla says working in the gardens gives her the opportunity to learn discipline.

"It's nice to have fresh food instead of store bought food, and it shows you discipline because it takes a long time and you really appreciate it."

Paul Gerardot is in charge of the garden at St. Henry’s. He says they have a diverse crowd of gardeners and encourages everyone on the southeast side to come out to make the southeast side more beautiful. Time, love and care are the biggest investments gardeners can make at St. Henry’s according to Gerardot.

“We provide the water, the dirt, the boxes. They provide the plants, the hard work, the love and the care it takes to grow the plants. You know, in the end of the fall, if we want to and if they want to set up a little tent and sell some of them, they want to give some away to the people, that's really what our goal was."

Gerardot says there are about 110 different plots filled at the garden with everything from collard and mustard greens to cabbage, corn and tomatoes. After the fall harvest, gardeners will be given the chance to sell or donate some of their vegetables.

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