Rocky River Community Garden: A Plot of My Own
My family and I downsized last summer, leaving behind a large house and yard in Medina for a townhouse-style condo in Rocky River. The idea of having a smaller space to care for and minimal yard work was very appealing to me—no more tending to the lawn and gardens!
We happily settled into our new space and began enjoying many of the amenities available on the West Side: A diverse offering of great restaurants, close proximity to events in downtown Cleveland, beautiful parks and, of course, the grandeur of Lake Erie.
By the end of the summer though, I realized that something was amiss at our new home. When I was cooking, I could no longer step out into my backyard and pick fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden for what I was preparing!
That’s when I did a little searching and discovered that there was a community garden right in Rocky River. For an annual fee of just $20, I could have my own 5’ x 10’ space to till, sow and nurture! In February of this year, I contacted Teresa Kowalski, President of Rocky River Community Garden (RRCG) to see if there was available space in the garden. She told me there were three plots available and five people who wanted one. Within 10 minutes of that phone call, I was at Teresa’s front door to hand her a check for $20.
The Rocky River Community Garden is self-supported and completely run by volunteers. As a tenant, you are required to give five hours of volunteer service to one of the garden committees and take a turn at either opening or closing the garden for one week during the season. Gardening tools and water lines with hoses are provided by the garden. Tenants are responsible for providing their own seeds and plants.
In addition to growing your own vegetables, there are also opportunities for learning and socializing. I have acquired much gardening knowledge this summer from the expertise of the master gardeners who have their own garden plots. At the Community Garden’s annual cookout and gardener meeting in June, Jacqueline Kowalski of the Ohio State Extension Office gave a “diagnostic” tour of the community garden. She pointed out that my basil was suffering from downy mildew and had to be removed and that baby romaine is NOT a summer crop (I still enjoyed it though).
This summer, my family and I are able to enjoy more farm-to-fork vegetables and herbs. They’re just a little ways beyond my backyard, but well worth the two-mile drive!
Meg Greenwald is the advertising sales & business development representative for The Rockport Observer. She lives in Rocky River with her husband and 15-year old daughter.