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FYI Community Garden is Growing

A recent cold snap pushed the start of the FYI community garden’s growing season back a few days, but at least the delay wasn’t weeks like the beginning of last year’s growing season. For that, FYI Community Garden Director Jim Tipton is thankful.

Near record rainfall in the spring of 2020 halted planting that is traditionally done right after Mother’s Day until the ground was dry enough to be able to plant weeks later. This year, the gardeners were able to start planting in mid-May.

“We are in good shape,” Jim said. “Everybody was anxious to get going. We know what to plant right off the bat, in case there is another unexpected frost - things like cabbage and broccoli. And you can plant seeds that stay in the ground.”

“The beginning of the year and end of the year are crucial, but that is part of being a gardener - being flexible,” he added. “Timing is also a big key.”

Last year’s wet spring grounds didn’t prevent a successful community garden season. Our gardeners shattered their original 2020 goal by donating 2,063 pounds of fresh produce to area food pantries. This was a major increase over the 1,300 pounds donated in 2019. The goal for 2021 is to equal last year’s 2,000 pounds of produce donated to the Park Layne and New Carlisle food pantries.

Jim was able to purchase his own garden tractor, which aided him greatly in preparing the ground for planting.

“It has helped getting the prep done more easily,” he said. “I don’t have to rely on someone else’s generosity and schedule. You have to be ready to plow when the time is right.”

This winter’s program to start growing plants inside produced much better results than in the past. “Everybody did a lot better this year with the lights, so we have plenty of plants to get going,” he said. “That saves a lot of money. And OSU Extension always donates plants. Their Master Gardeners grow their own plants and share them with us.”

This year’s program has at least eight families participating. If you are interested in having your own plot to grow vegetables for your family and/or for the community gardens, give us a call at (937) 845-0403. It is free to participate.

“I’d really like to get some young people and families who could learn and get the most out of it,” Jim said. “I can teach them how to can and pickle stuff, so you can save it for the winter. I still have beans from two years ago.”

If you’d like to help and don’t feel led to garden for yourself, the program can always use donations to pay for tools and repairs. Just call if you want to help in this way or visit and click on the donate button. You can designate your support to go to the gardening program.

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