Overcoming Obstacles

On a daily basis, at Lakewood Garden Center, we help people overcome obstacles that make it tough for them to have success in the garden.  Sometimes these obstacles are easy to overcome and sometimes they are a bit more difficult. The one issue that consistently causes needless struggle is budget, the other is availability. In today’s world with all the available technology, the endless supply of bloggers, and the groups pushing accessibility to agriculture, a beautiful and bountiful garden should not be hampered by budget constraints if you have effort and resourcefulness on your side.

Space to garden has consistently been an issue for Lakewoodites. Luckily, community gardening in Lakewood is alive and well. Community garden plots are offered by LEAF each spring, these plots are spaced about town. Other community gardens existing outside of Lakewood include Kentucky Gardens in Ohio City, Ben Franklin Community Garden in Old Brooklyn, as well as numerous others throughout town. These plots have become quite popular as interest in them has grown, but if you plan, and apply for a plot in a timely manner, one should be available. Plots usually go for $10-25 for the season. The money covers water and some equipment. Learning in a community garden is a given as gardeners love to share knowledge, just ask one. The best part of working in a community garden is that most of the infrastructure for getting started is already in place.

Sometimes people look at the cost of acquiring plants as a hurdle to gardening. It is possible that everything necessary to start your own seedlings can be acquired free of charge if you are willing to put in a little work. Seed exchanges and giveaways have been growing in popularity. You can also save seeds from your own produce. Pots or containers to start seeds can include egg cartons, old toilet paper rolls, or old plastic bottles. Good soil or growing medium can be tough to come by for a beginner, but reusing old soil mixed with a little compost can get you started free of charge. Work with a plan or mentor if you are going to start mixing your soil. Someone else’s failures can save you many headaches. Almost any light fixture can be a grow light if you stop see it as such.

After establishing a low to no cost garden plot and starting the plants, the major obstacles have been cleared. In the Covid 19 world, the major hurdle to gardeners has been availability of supplies to tend to the garden. At the shop this season, we have experienced shortages of potting soil, mulch, tomato cages and stakes, trellises, insect and disease control products, as well as fertilizer. These shortages are probably the most frustrating because it does not matter how much money you have if nobody has the product you are looking for. Some of the easiest answers are probably buried in your garage. Some old lumber with a supply of sticks or branches could be a fence or trellis with a little imagination. A gardener could make their own fertilizer by composting kitchen scraps. Websites like instructables.com offer easy to copy plans to for people of all skill levels. If you don’t have tools, Lakewood residents have the option of joining the Lakewood Tool Box, a tool lending library managed by Lakewood Alive. Homemade insect and disease remedies can often be made with everyday household items. A simple internet search can provide recipes.

In uncertain times like these, there are many obstacles to leading a healthy life. Spending time in the garden can help you lead a healthier life in numerous ways. There is no good reason to be limit your garden by not having enough space, money, or available products. 

Additional information on products or places mentioned in this article can be found at www.leafcommunity.org, www.kentuckygardens.com, www.benfranklincommunitygarden.org, www.lakewoodalive.org, or by calling Lakewood Garden Center at 216.221.0200.

Paul Bilyk

Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.

Volume 16, Issue 16, Posted 3:41 PM, 08.19.2020