New Carlisle residents can learn how to garden through a new program started by the public library and New Carlisle Community Garden. CONNIE POST/STAFF

New Carlisle library launches gardening project with help from Springfield Foundation grant

Remember the excitement of playing with a jack-in-the-box? You crank and crank the music and then suddenly the trap door opens, and a toy springs out. Pop goes the Weasel.

That is where we are today folks. For the last month we have been turning that crank, listening to the music and today at 5:58 p.m. spring will burst forth.

Are you ready for spring?

Tillie Jamison, program director at the New Carlisle Public Library wants to help teach New Carlisle residents how to start and maintain a garden.

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Working with the New Carlisle Community Garden, Jamison wrote a grant request to the Springfield Foundation.

The goal is to educate local citizens of all ages on the growing, nurturing, use, and harvesting of vegetable gardens.

“Kids don’t realize where things come from,” said Jamison. She hopes that participating gardeners will better understand what is needed to grow food and be more self sufficient.

Beginning on Thursday March 21 at 5 p.m., two person teams consisting of one young person aged 15 years or less and an adult will start the basics of growing vegetables and some flowers in raised gardening beds located in a field behind the library at 111. E. Lake Ave. This owner of the field is allowing the gardening project to use his land.

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According to Jamison, this is the perfect opportunity for grandparents to form a team with a grandchild or two. It would also be great for a parent and kids, uncle and nephew, or an aunt and niece.

Raised beds were selected because they are accessible to more people. More gardening beds will be made if the community participation is high, according to Jamison.

Thursday’s activity begins at 5 p.m. and will involve the planting of seeds in small containers for germination, or starting, inside. The seeds were donated by the Ohio State Extension Office. Each participating team will get a bag with gloves, gardening tools and free seeds.

Linda Nowakowski, who manages the community garden, will be working with the gardening teams.

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Since participation will last from planting to harvest, potential gardeners are reminded that regular watering, weeding, and care will be required all summer long. Spots are still available for people willing to commit to the months long project. Call 937-845-3601.

Gardening Teams will be able to use, sell or donate their vegetables as they see fit. Jamison said that last year some of the community gardeners grew the ingredients for salsa which they sold during the summer at the farmers market.

There are plans for additional classes on preservation of vegetables including canning, drying, and freezing. There will also be instruction on how to collect and preserve seeds for the next growing season.

Educational presentations will be on Thursdays and hopefully not last more than half an hour, said Jamison.

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Other subject presentations planned are keeping bees, worm farms, and growing plants in small places such as on bales of straw.

The group is also seeking a master gardener to make supporting presentations and answer questions at the library. Since there is a genuine interest in native plants, the library would like to have a presentation on local flora and fauna.

Photographers and writers are needed to help document the progress of the project and create a booklet to document the community efforts.

Jamison said that community gardening reminds us all of the importance of working together.

Now that hibernation is over, it is time to establish gardens to be enjoyed all summer long.

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