The growth of the People’s Garden


By Conelia Dixon - Contributing columnist



Volunteers at the People’s Garden work through the chill to ready the beds for the next gardening season.

Volunteers at the People’s Garden work through the chill to ready the beds for the next gardening season.


It has been a few months since you heard from us. I hope you are looking forward to the upcoming spring by planning right now for the planting of your own garden and possibly helping out with The People’s Garden, located at Agape Distribution.

We have plenty of seeds to share with all who need them! We can show you how to plant them properly in a class on seed starting in February. Please watch for announcements for that and for monthly work days. Planting starts in March. We would love to hear from you now and we invite you to join us either by volunteering or renting a raised garden bed for only $10 for the season, seeds and tools provided.

If you have questions about renting a garden bed this season or just want more information about how you can volunteer at the garden, call 937- 726-9525 or email [email protected] We have a Facebook page for The People’s Garden, so you can contact us there too.

Other than planting garlic in November, the garden has been rather inactive this winter, but we have been busy thinking about the ninth season coming up. We have been communicating about our vision for the season that starts in February. We had an in-person meeting last week. We discussed visiting other community gardens, what crops we want to focus on for the food pantry such as squash, beets, potatoes, and turnips, flowers like marigolds and zinnias that will attract pollinators, bird house renovations and installations, a garden open house, contacts, renters’ information, hydroponics, and what we call “God sightings”.

Michelle Stephenson, garden coordinator since 2013, and I have welcomed two more coordinators, Deb Grazioso and Annette Kauffman. Kendra Ayton is our go-to herb specialist. Garden work days are held each month so watch for opportunities to join us.

In the fall, we had some help in mid November. Thank you to Mike and Karla Milthaler from Piqua, who took bird houses home to work on them, and seeds to sort.

Greg Mitchell from Sidney and John Grazioso from Anna helped build some new beds, and there have been others who help now and then any time we need skilled help. There is always a job list on the porch of our learning building for you.

We have the materials for a new ramp that will attach to our learning center. Dan Wiltheiss of Piqua will build it in his garage and attach it to the building when finished. Wow! It will enable individuals to access our classes with ease.

We recently received donations from the Shelby County Farm Bureau and the Women in Agriculture organizations. Thank you, thank you! These funds will allow us to purchase materials for changing older wooden garden beds to metal ones. We have over 50 beds and most are already renovated. Come and see!

You are welcome to come anytime and look around the garden. Check out our raised garden beds, the Learning Center that is now heated and air-conditioned, the new storage provided by Mutual Federal Bank Foundation, or take a break on one of our benches. Many thanks to all who donate their time, talent and resources. Deb Roethgeb of Quincy started many tomatoes and peppers and Cinda Trisler of Sidney started leeks. Some school organizations help by donating plants in the spring. So much positive activity and fellowship!

There are so many benefits to gardening, such as exercise, fresh air and sunshine, improved mental health, community fellowship, learning about organic gardening, joy in planting and harvesting food for yourself or donating to those who are hungry, and sharing your skills and knowledge with others. Check it out!

Volunteers at the People’s Garden work through the chill to ready the beds for the next gardening season.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/01/web1_JAN_2022.jpgVolunteers at the People’s Garden work through the chill to ready the beds for the next gardening season.

https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/01/web1_DixonConelia.jpg

By Conelia Dixon

Contributing columnist

The writer is a Master Gardener and a coordinator of the People’s Garden. Reach her at 937-726-9525.

The writer is a Master Gardener and a coordinator of the People’s Garden. Reach her at 937-726-9525.