Westlake community garden opens third year
With the support and cooperation of Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough, former president of UH St. John Medical Center William Young and his successor, Robert David, the Westlake Community Garden is marking its third year. It started with only 10 plots, grew to 26 in its second year, and this year opens with 48 plots.
Located south of the Siedman Cancer Center on the UH SJMC campus, it is an all-organic vegetable garden with plots available to Westlake residents for a $25 annual fee. In keeping with its mission statement, gardeners donate their extra crops to the Westlake Community Center.
The garden's expansion this year was helped by Matt Castele, a Boy Scout from Troop 401 who made the garden the focus of his Eagle project. He met with Westlake city officials and the Greater Cleveland Boy Scouts Council, as well as his troop leaders, to define the scope of his project. He installed 12 new garden bed frames (constructed by the Westlake Service Department) and directed gardeners to lay down a cardboard base for weed prevention, followed by mulch.
On May 25, plot owners gathered to prepare their beds for planting. Wheel barrels were flying! The soil was tilled and amended in advance with products donated by Good Nature Organic Lawn Care. Gardeners worked in Sweet Peet donated by J. Barker Landscaping and compost donated by the City. Then Matt and his Scout troop placed the City’s mulch around the entire garden to keep down weeds. Later that week, the temporary deer fence, donated by UH SJMC, and the rain barrels donated by Rain Barrels N’ More, were installed. Soon the chicken wire, donated by the Westlake Garden Club, will be added to keep out the critters.
The final part to Matt's Eagle project will be to build and install a second gate for access to the garden.
The thanks and appreciation of the Garden Committee and the plot owners goes to the hard-working Boy Scout Troop 401. A huge thank you goes out to Chris Stuhm, Westlake's deputy director of public service, who again arranged for the wood donation from Lowe’s Rocky River, to his staff for constructing all the beds, delivering the supplies, keeping the water barrels filled and so much more. This garden is indeed a community effort!
The next Observer article will cover the upcoming Blessing of the Garden, the handmade second garden gate, and will touch upon the future.
Two plots are currently available for new gardeners. If interested, contact Madeline Crandall, garden coordinator, at the Community Center, 440-899-3544. Donations from merchants or others are always welcome and much appreciated.
A Founder and Committee Member, Westlake Community Garden