Community prepares garden for a new season

MARTINS FERRY — The community garden on Zane Highway was prepared for the winter season one recent afternoon.

The Rev. Michael Ziebarth of the Orthodox Christian Church of the Life-Giving Fount in Martins Ferry was at the plot to “turn over” the garden, or prepare it for winter. This involved tearing up all of the old vegetation in the garden to make a compost heap to help enrich the soil for the next planting season.The beans growing in the garden were also harvested for seed, with Ziebarth planning to replant in the spring.

The community garden, located on Zane Highway near the Alert Engine Fire Co., was planted in late spring and proved to be a success. The garden was open to the public, and anyone could come in and pick whatever they wanted.

“This was our first year, and I’m very pleased with how it did for the first year,” said Ziebarth.

The city offered use of the abandoned lot to the church. Ziebarth, who gardens at his own residence, was more than happy to start working with the vacant lot, and from there it developed into a full-blown community garden.

“I like to garden, so that worked out fine,” said Ziebarth, who added that officials might try to make the garden a little more organized next year.

Ziebarth was joined by some helpers — around a dozen students from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. The students  were in the area for an immersion trip through their school’s Service and Justice center. Although the trip to the garden was a “little spontaneous,” they were more than happy to pitch in and help Ziebarth. After listening to his instructions on how to harvest the beans and form a compost pile, they enthusiastically began to harvest, pull up old vegetation and turn up the soil to prepare the plot for the winter, helping to ensure an even better planting season next year.