Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

September 13, 2013

Seeds of community project start to grow

ASHLAND — Bill Kovacs’ garden at the DeBord Terrace apartments measures only 4 feet by 12 feet, but despite its small size, “I had tomatoes coming out of my ears,” said Kovacs.

He also had peppers, a few beets and even some ears of corn from the 48-square-foot garden box placed on land leveled by bulldozers during the construction of the apartment complex in the 1960s. It is the same location where earlier community gardens have failed to be productive because of the poor quality of the mostly clay soil.

“I’m very happy with all I have gotten out of my garden, and I am looking forward to spring when we can get the gardens started earlier than we did this year,” said Kovacs.

The community gardens at DeBord Hill were put on hold for several years, while City Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs, who has spearheaded the community gardens project since first being elected to the commission, looked for a more suitable site. At the time, the future of the gardens were in doubt, not only because of the poor soil but because the Ashland Housing Authority had plans to build on the site of the gardens.

However, federal funding cuts caused the housing authority  to abandon plans to build on the garden site, and Spriggs was unable to find another suitable location of the community gardens.

However, Spriggs was able to secure $3,500 in unused funds from a Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities grant awarded to the Boyd County Health Department and the American Heart Association, and that money plus donations enabled 22 4-by-12 garden boxes to be placed atop DeBord Terrace. Each garden box was filled with rich top soil and placed in the large garden area in mid-June. The families assigned a garden box immediately started planting what for some was the first garden they had ever had.

Tommy Triplett, manager of the garden area, said all the garden boxes are doing real well. He said for the most part, those assigned garden boxes have done an excellent job of caring for them. That’s a change from previous years simply because the gardens are thriving, he said.

During the first year of the gardens at DeBord Terrace, the deer came and helped themselves to nearly all of the produce. The deer problem was solved with the construction of a six-foot high donated fence around the garden area, but poor soil continued to plague the gardens and little produce was actually produced by them.

The garden boxes changed that, and Triplett said even though the gardens are thriving for the first time ever, deer have not been a problem.

“The six-foot high fence is high enough that no deer is going to attempt to jump over it,” Triplett said. “We have had a few raccoons, squirrels and other rodents raiding the gardens, but no deer.”

Not everything he planted has thrived, said Kovacs. The cucumbers and lettuce did not do well, and Kovacs said he thinks that’s because the gardens were planted so late.

“I also think I may have tried to put too many different things in my garden box,” Kovacs said.  Next spring, he said he plans to plant peas, lettuce, beans and maybe radishes in early April to take advantage of a full growing season. He also will not try to grow so many different things.

Triplett also tried to plant watermelons, cantaloupes and squash in the garden area away from the garden boxes, but the results were disappointing, he said. “They started out real well,  but then they just sort of wilted,” he said. “It may have because of the weather or when they were planted, but I think it is because of the poor soil.”

While the clay soil was mixed with top soil, it still apparently was not enough to grow healthy melons and squash, Triplett said. Still, he said he is not ready to give up. It will take time and a lot of work, but he still thinks the quality of the soil can be improved enough that the DeBord Terrace gardens will thrive, he said.

Until then, the garden boxes are doing so well, that Triplett said he would like to have more of them.

After years of disappointment, the DeBord Terrace community gardens are finally taking off.

“People are excited about what is happening up here,” Triplett said. “They are already planning for next spring.”   

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • BREAKING: APD probes gun report near Blazer campus

    April 24, 2014

  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
     

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

  • News in brief, 04/24/14

    The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.

    April 23, 2014

  • Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities

    The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone