Community Gardening and Paying it Forward


| 5/8/2017 10:53:00 AM


Tags: Gardening, Planting, Mary Niehaus Ralles, Ohio,

Mary Niehaus RallesGardening is moving into full swing here in the Midwest. We’ve survived the late frosts. And while there are still some unpredictable days where I want to turn my heat back on, it feels like a beautiful spring has finally arrived. Each morning I am greeted by a warm sunrise creeping up through the trees and into my bedroom window, illuminating the sky.

These sunrises feel even more symbolic, as I feel that each passing one brings me closer to my move out of the city and back into the country. I struggled a bit in deciding what to do about setting out a garden this year, knowing I likely won’t be here at summer’s end.

Last fall, a friend of mine tilled a new garden for me in my backyard. I then trimmed it with 100+ year old granite stones and finished it off with a couple of wrought-iron stands holding clay pots with flowers. At the time it seemed so lovely and held so much promise for planting, when seeds and seedlings would slip gently into the powder like dirt, taking root and producing a stunning display of vegetables and fruits, just begging to be picked.

I considered leaving the garden fallow with the expectation that I wouldn’t be around to reap the rewards and harvest. Ultimately, I found myself unable to resist the chance to dig in the dirt, don my floppy sun hat, and plant seeds. I just couldn’t imagine wasting a planting season and summer harvest on the off chance that I might not be here to enjoy it.

So I began with a few standard staples to put in the ground: potatoes, onions, and strawberries. I had a few pepper and tomato plants I’d started from seed indoors, and I wanted to explore a few local nurseries to find more mature and hearty starters of strawberry and pepper plants. I found a great little place in Batesville, Indiana, called Five Oaks Garden, where there is a large selection of plants as well as a lovely display of candy-jar-like containers with scoops and bags for purchasing seeds.

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