SPECIAL REPORT: Community Gardens Growing in Popularity
Seven years ago, the concept of a community garden was unknown to Wheeling. Now, the area boasts more than a dozen.
Community gardens are becoming more and more popular, and experts say they're good for your wallet, your health, even your happiness. They started in east Wheeling and soon spread to Wheeling Island, south Wheeling, north Wheeling and Moundsville.
A local fire station, day care, two elementary schools and two colleges also have them.
Gardeners range from a chef to a pharmacist to a meteorologist. People who don't have a garden at home are embracing a plot or two at the community garden. Connie Hoge, of the Pulaski community garden said, "I believe a lot of it has to do with location. South Wheeling doesn't have deer."
Wheeling Island is also "deer-free," and their community garden is popular for that reason.
At Francine Court in Moundsville, the Marshall County Master Gardeners built free-standing raised beds for the residents. Master Gardner Gary Perigo said, "Three foot so you can stand by it, two foot so you can be in a wheelchair, since mostly just senior citizens live here." Already this summer, they've harvested and eaten their work. Francine Court resident Irene Olivito said, "One green pepper, I've used, I've had four ripe Fourth of July tomatoes, I've had a lot of radishes, a lot of green onions, and a lot of lettuce."
Community gardening provides exercise and fresh air, comradery, a sense of community, and fresh healthy foods. And, if you don't know what you're doing, you're in the perfect place because you can just ask somebody else.