Writer  /  Nancy Craig
Photographer  /  Ron Stiemert

Probably the most famous community gardens of the 20th century were the Victory Gardens during WWII. Not only did these gardens let people grow their own fruits and vegetables, but they provided a sense of patriotism. Now most community gardens are in urban areas, and some provide a sense of community and a way to support food pantries.

In Johnson County, the City of Greenwood under the Parks and Recreation Department has a community garden located on Fry Road. They rent 34 garden plots each year, and you can get their application for membership online at bit.ly/gw_garden.

The Greenwood Community Garden is perfect for those people with Green Thumbs but nowhere to garden. It is located along Fry Road between U.S. 31 and State Road 135. A 20-foot by 20-foot plot rents for $20 for community center members, $25 for city residents and $30 for non-residents. Returning members can reserve their plots before March 1. Newcomers can rent remaining plots beginning March 1.

The membership application packet lists rules and conditions for gardening at the site. The gardeners are expected to use organic practices, weed and water their own plots. The city provides water, but the gardeners must bring their own hoses and garden tools. Rob Taggart, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said some years, the parks department will till the ground, but they do not have staff on-site. Gardeners can call the Greenwood Community Center with questions at 317-881-4545. The Center’s address is 100 Surina Way, Greenwood.

Ron Stiemert has gardened at the Greenwood Community Garden in the past and had a very good experience, especially interacting with the other gardeners. You can see from his pictures that he was successful in growing watermelons; he got 13 good watermelons out of one three-plant mound. Ron also had success with beans, radishes, onions and early tomatoes. He said weeds were a major problem, and each gardener had their own technique to deal with them. Ron used straw and mulch to help control the weeds. The Fire Department next door has mulch free for Greenwood residents.

Gardeners can get information from the Purdue Extension offices. In Johnson County, they can call Sarah Hansen, Ag and Natural Resources Educator, at 317-736-3724.

There is also a Johnson County Garden Club that has educational speakers on gardening – visit facebook.com/JohnsonCountyGardenClubandGardenCelebration.

Marion County has a Demonstration Garden located at their offices on the Northwest corner of the Indiana State Fair Grounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis. “The garden demonstrates how to grow food and ornamental plants,” says Steve Mayer, Extension Educator-Horticulture for Purdue Extension-Marion County. “Gardeners can see and learn about plants adapted to Indiana and how to care for them. Gardeners can see award-winning flowers and vegetables as well as vegetable gardening techniques such as raised beds.” Visit facebook.com/PurdueIndyDemoGarden.

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is very satisfying and a great way to teach your children where their food comes from and how to care for the land. So if you do not have room for a garden at your home, you can always take advantage of the Greenwood Community Garden.

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