Summer tour of community gardens, urban farms

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By Eric Barrett

OSU Extension educator


For a few weeks, many of us were unsure the growing season would ever come. Then, it came so fast we are having a hard time catching up to where we should be.

We all feel like new gardeners in some way this year.

It reminds us there are always things to learn and to try in our own gardens. Always something to be done, but are we doing it the best and most efficient way possible?

From trying new varieties to changing our methods of growing, we all learn something new through each growing season.

To help facilitate this learning, we are continuing our Local Flavor program with tours of community gardens and urban farms in Youngstown.

Each week, we meet at a different garden or farm to discuss growing practices and to see the successes of their gardens and farms. We find out what works and what doesn’t work, based on the individual sites we visit. We get answers to our gardening questions, and help answer questions others have. We learn as a community, as a neighborhood, as experienced gardeners and as new gardeners being introduced to something we’ve never tried before.

The tours are a new adventure each week. Sometimes we end up talking a lot about tomatoes. Other weeks herbs are the major topic. Insects and weeds always come up, two things that frustrate every grower. We talk organic and conventional, but mostly sustainable practices that can be utilized by everyone.

This is the seventh year for the series. Our staff and trained master gardener volunteers will be on hand with the growers at each site to answer questions and help lead discussion for the evening. Bring a lawn chair if you want a seat.

We’ll be moving around the garden all evening, covering fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers growing at each site. The early part of the season focuses on planting and getting off to a good start. Throughout the season, we’ll encounter diseases and other issues, along with possible solutions to reduce issues in the garden.

Our first tour will be on Memorial Day, starting at 6 p.m. at St. Pat’s Community Garden, 1420 Oak Hill Ave. The tours will continue all summer, every Monday through Aug. 13. For complete details on the tour dates and locations, check out the flier at

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