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Summer Sprout gardening program turns urban planters from rookies to green thumbs

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Posted at 11:57 AM, Apr 20, 2022

CLEVELAND — Temperatures may still be bouncing up and down but it’s not too early to be thinking about that summer garden.

Summer Sprout has been around since 1976 and it gives gardeners the resources to dig into community gardening. The longtime community program is taking root again this spring and takes urban planters from rookies and turns them into green thumbs.

“Summer's Sprout is a community garden program that started in 1976, which was just a couple of gardens in Cleveland who decided to band together,” said Britiny Hubbard, program coordinator for Summer Sprout.

The program provides soil testing, seeds, starter plants, soil amendments, tilling services, raised bed materials, educational outreach, and support to participating gardens. The Ohio State University Extension works with community partners, including the City of Cleveland Land Bank who develops and licenses for garden sites.

“They (gardeners) get a chance to, you know, kind of beautify their neighborhoods, you know, teach their younger brothers and sisters how to garden, teach the community how to garden,” Hubbard said.

Summer Sprout services more than 140 gardens across the city and each year it continues to add more gardens across the community. Despite the pandemic causing a disturbance in nearly everything in 2020, the program still built 13 gardens for area residents.

“You do not have to know how to grow anything. You can start from the lowest, of the low with not any having any knowledge of how to plant anything,” Hubbard said. “It's just a good way for neighborhoods to build community. Everybody has been trapped inside for these past two and a half years. And it's a good way to get out.”

Replacing vacant lots with green spaces provides countless benefits for neighborhoods, including access to fresh produce, increased property values and improved mental and physical health.

"Anybody can be a part of it. It is just a really great way for you to get outdoors and do something fun,” Hubbard said. “I'm pretty sure you probably have a community garden down the street from you if you look hard enough.”

You can learn more about joining a garden or starting one of your own by clicking here.

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