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Springfield plants demonstration garden

6/13/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

SPRINGFIELD — It took a little collaboration to construct the Springfield Township demonstration garden, recently set up in Springfield Lakefront Park along Canfield Road.

According to Springfield Parks Board Chair Jerry Salisbury, the purpose of the garden is to show Springfield residents examples of how to grow healthy, nutritious food in small areas. The garden demonstrates intensive cultivation techniques that include raised-bed gardening, container gardening, bag gardening and rain gardening. It also demonstrates the amount of food production possible with carefully amended soil, the use of compost, gardening with limited sunshine and more, he added.

The garden will be used to grow food for the community and the Boyd Esler Senior and Community Center, according to township officials. Items planted include beans, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, tomatoes, cucumbers and a large variety of herbs, as requested by the Senior Center’s meal program coordinator, according to Salisbury.

Salisbury said the concept for the garden was originally conceived by Parks Board member Norma Schweda. Salisbury said he and Pat Rossi, also a member of the Parks Board, are Master Gardeners, and they applied for grant funds from the Master Gardeners of Summit County to build the garden after trustees approved the effort. Several months ago, they received $1,000 for the project.

Salisbury said several others in the community came together to build the demonstration garden.

Richard Kirby, a member of Boy Scout Troop No. 282, was looking for an Eagle Scout project, and Salisbury said he suggested this one.

In addition, the Home Depot located on South Arlington Street provided all materials at a 20 percent discount, and Becker’s Herb Farm provided flats of flowers and trays of plants at no cost.

Salisbury said Kirby, his father, Ron; his mother, Vicki; his brother, Ryan; and Troop No. 282 completed the demonstration garden June 7, just in time for the township’s first Friday evening concert at the Vincent J. Mealy Memorial Gazebo, located nearby, and visitors to that event were able to learn about the various gardening techniques. He said 20 visitors requested information that evening.

“This was an excellent example of the township, community organizations and community businesses working together to improve the quality of life of our residents,” said Salisbury.

The grand opening of the demonstration garden is tentatively scheduled for June 21.

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