Friday, April 17, 2009

John Matuszak interviews Ginny Salamy about Bexley's new community garden

Wednesday April 8, 2009 Eastside News Round up guest was Ginny Salamy, Bexley resident. She was interviewed by John Matuszak about Bexley's new community garden.

Salamy is a member of the Bexley Tree and Public Gardens Commission and she discussed the Bexley community garden project. She said that discussions about establishing a community garden began last year and the garden will be available for planting this growing season.

This will be the first time the city has maintained a community garden where families and individuals can grow vegetables and flowers, she said.

She observed that the community garden that is being developed and offered to the public is more than just flowers. Bexley already has extensive green areas and floral plantings. She said that the community garden will add herbs, vegetables and fruits to the full array of growing things in Bexley public spaces.

The community garden is located off Ferndale and Mayfield Place, north of Livingston.

Garden plots are available in two sizes and prices. 8' X 10' lots are $15.00 for the growing season. Larger plots of 18' X 20' are priced at $30.00.

Salamy said that some Bexley residents who are supporters of the establishment of the community garden will be traveling during planting and growing seasons. These residents have expressed a willingness to pay the ground rent for garden plots and make them available to needy individuals who want to participate in the project.

The City of Bexley will provide the first plowing of the ground and also pay for the water used by gardeners. It is anticipated that the city will also erect a storage structure for its equipment. Some of the storage space might be available to gardeners.

The community garden committee of the tree commission usually meets on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. They are currently giving attention to the layout of the garden, rules for the gardeners and selection of amenities such as flagstone pathways, benches and signage.

The committee meeting for this week will be held on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. so as not to conflict with Passover and Easter events.

Salamy is a native of Brooklyn, New York and came to central Ohio 22 years ago. She is an RN and received a Master's In Landscape Architecture. She developed an appreciation for nature and health during her student years.

Because of the Bexley community garden project she has worked extensively with Bill Dawson of the Franklin Park Conservatory. They have also accepted advice and assistance from the American Community Gardening Association.

Salamy said that the operations of any community garden can be expected to stimulate social interaction between gardeners and also non-gardeners attracted to the outdoor space and the activities of the gardeners. A community garden can also stimulate community development by providing practical use of lands that are otherwise neglected. Other results from a community garden include improving the daily lives (and diets) of the gardeners and adding to the knowledge base of visitors to the garden. Finally, and importantly, a community garden adds to the beauty of a neighborhood.

Beside the individual plantings and cultivation, some formal community activities are planned around the Bexley project. There will be public lectures on organic gardening and health. Other lecture topics will cover herbs, both medicinal and culinary, and cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs. Salamy said that if she can find someone who is knowledgeable about canning fresh vegetables, they will be invited to offer instruction on this art to gardeners.

Salamy said that not everyone in Bexley is wealthy and the community garden will provide a resource for those who are struggling financially.

A garden can provide fresh foods at low-costs and have a positive saving for tight family budgets. Excess harvest can also be sold or given to neighbors. Excess can also be donated to community food banks and community kitchens.

Salamy said that community gardens increase the attention that neighborhoods give to what is happening outdoors. This can have a positive impact on reducing petty crimes and vandalism. Neighbors watch growing plants and report activities that interfere with the gardens to local law enforcement.

Students at Capital University and one local Boy Scout have volunteered on this project. The Boy Scout has volunteered to make some benches for the garden once he locates donated materials and hardware. The college students have volunteered to help on the erection of fences and building of benches. They are currently soliciting donations of materials. Art students from Capital University have also expressed interest in designing signs for the garden. The City is making some supplies and equipment available from the former city nursery.

To contact Ginny Salamy, email Bruce Langner at

KW (original post was 4/8/09)


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