Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Westside

March 4, 2013

Community gardens return for third year

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

That's helped Barber and her husband. They had never planted sweet potatoes before, so they bought a pot of seeds one year. They were going to plant it as is, but another gardener told them there were 30 plants in it and they needed separating.

"We ended up with tons of sweet potatoes," Barber said. "We would've had a mess if we had planted them in one mound."

It's not uncommon for every gardener to have a surplus of produce at the end of the season. Much of that ends up being donated to local food pantries.  It also allows participants to sample each other's bounties.

"If someone has something I haven't tried, they may let me try it," Barber said. "If I'm growing something that someone else hasn't tried, I'll let them try it."

They have had problems in the past where passersby took the "community" part of the garden too literally and helped themselves to some of the produce. Signs have since been posted. That doesn't stop animals from eating what they want however. Barber says it's not unusual to see deer tracks in your garden.

"I didn't know rabbits ate tomatoes, but apparently they do," she said.

While the community gardens attract those with green thumbs, there are other reasons why people enjoy growing their own food.

"The price of vegetables has gotten outrageous," Barber said. "With a little work on your own, you basically get free vegetables this way."

Plus, it's a peaceful hobby. While Barber likes the social aspects, she will also tend her plot when no one else is there.

"I can get some sun and reflect on what's going on in my life - just spend some quiet time," she said. "It's a relaxing hobby. There is some hard work, but with a lot of reward."

New sections have been plowed at the site each year. Barber thinks if the whole property isn't used this year, it will be in 2014.

"It's close to maxing out," she said.

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