Family

Want to dig, but lack soil to turn?

Something comes over me in the spring that compels me to dig in dirt and to plant and transplant things and throw mulch wherever I can.

I know. My family thinks I'm crazy, too. It's beyond my control.

Recently I've even been scouring the classifieds and car lots looking for a small truck that doesn't cost more than I've saved for my last child's college fund just so I can go get mulch when I need to and have it on hand. My husband hasn't filed for divorce yet — that I know of.

This overwhelming urge to garden has been with me as long as I can remember, but once I left home, there was a decade in which I could only dig at the roots of a small houseplant.

I think I had permanent damage from holding all that in.

If you are in the same boat, if you need to dig but have nowhere to turn the soil, a community garden just might do the trick.

Wiser folks at the Senior Citizens Center have known that for years. So have the folks at the Ballard Griffith Towers who have added a pond with aquatic plants and large Koi fish to their garden of vegetables. The harvest is shared among the people who live there.

For those of us who don't live at the towers or attend the senior center, other outlets exist.

In addition to the two gardens above, eight other community gardens can offer opportunities to get our hands dirty. Some have restrictions and assigned plots, but others are open to the public.

Community gardens are essentially plots of prepared land in which either edible crops or ornamental plants are planted, or both.

Jim Embry, founder of Sustainable Communities Network, which has been instrumental in adding more community gardens around Lexington, said he encourages individuals and groups to get more involved in gardening to produce wholesome foods.

”We'd like to see more churches involved like The Rock/La Roca (United Methodist Church) in creating gardens of eating,“ he said.

Bruce Mundy, who has helped in establishing gardens in the inner city, said he and Embry need more help.

”We don't have a problem with other people stepping up,“ Mundy said. ”We do it because our hearts are in it. We don't get paid for it. We just feel like it needs to be done. We know how transforming gardens can be.“

So do I.

There are two new gardens this year: Southland Community Garden in Hill 'n' Dale Park, off Southview and Fairview drives, near Southland Drive, and the London Ferrill Community Garden, next to the central fire station at 219 East Third Street.

The Southland garden has assigned plots. For more information contact Mason Colby at mason.colby@gmail.com.

The London Ferrill garden will have 20 assigned plots and open plots. Sherry Maddock said the open plots will be tended by volunteers, with the harvest going to older people in the community and to other organizations.

”It will be of benefit to older and local residents who don't feel like they can physically do the gardening,“ she said.

Saturday a group of volunteers from the University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture will be there to help out in any way needed, starting at 9 a.m. Call Maddock at (859) 559-3837 for more information or if you feel the need to dig.

The Rock/La Roca United Methodist Church community garden sits behind Arlington Elementary School on North Limestone Street. Church members and neighbors got together with that one last year, planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and beans. Call the Rev. Aaron Mansfield at (859) 255-0712 for information.

The Nelson Avenue Art Garden, 318 Nelson Avenue, off East Third Street and Midland Avenue, began a year ago as a project for young people in the Youth Green Corps. The garden contains a variety of different flowers, herbs, and vegetables in addition to various art projects and a horseshoe pit in the back.

Mundy said volunteers meet there every Saturday about 10 a.m.

The Winburn Community Art Garden, 1169 Winburn Drive, and the West End Community Empowerment Project garden, located at the Black and Williams Center, 498 Georgetown Street, are open to the public. They feature ornamental plants and vegetables.

At Winburn, planting and tilling is ongoing on Saturdays in April and May from 1 to 3 p.m.

So there's no excuse. If nothing else, you can stop by my house soon and help me.

I assure you my husband and children won't be anywhere nearby.

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