Preparing Beds – Cincinnati Spring Planting

OTR Homegrown facing East from Pleasant St.[cincopa AEGAUvqayeGM]
Awaking the OTR Homegrown garden this year was quick compared to previous years; we are begining year three in one place.

Day one was spent picking up the garbage covering the ground as far as could be tossed from the sidewalk. Many a beer bottle and trash.

Day two replace the hay in the front. New mulch to stop weed growth in front walkway.

Day three WEED, WEED, WEEDING – The ground is wet so when they (weeds) come out, get them out!
Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulch it or you’re “weed weed weeding” next week.

Day Four Cleared the mulch covering the beds.
Hoed the walkways (rows) into the beds.
raked into suitable shape, converse or inverse suitable for water drainage or holding water like a bowl. For lettuce I shape the beds like an arch so the water flows off the sides. Tomatoes and Peppers and others like the water to collect and soak them real well. In that case we shape the bed like a bowl where it comes up on the sides and is low in the middle.


Scatter Plant Greens seeds.

Enjoy the pictures.


OTR Homegrown Hosts Block Party!

Contact: Sarah Saheb, 513-508-4737

“Food, Farming and Funk”

Cincinnati, OH (August 5, 2011)
OTR Homegrown, an urban farm in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, is hosting a block party to celebrate local food, urban farming, and the official launch of our mural completed this summer by local artist John Ford. In response to the recent violence in the neighborhood, the goal of the block party is to work to build community cohesiveness for everyone that lives in the area.

OTR Homegrown is an organic urban farm, which cultivates ecological stewardship through sustainable practice. OTR Homegrown works to provide local access to healthy, local foods for the Greater Cincinnati area. It is our mission to provide education on healthy, sustainable living through community involvement and investment, strengthen the community through partnership, and foster good citizenship and inter-group tolerance. Our members are: Sheila North, Michelle Dillingham, Michael Tucker, Sarah Saheb, Kelly Gillen, Chelsea Powell, Quentin Koopman, Mark Stegman, and Tevis Foreman.

OTR Homegrown Mural on Pleasant and Greene in Over The Rhine

OTR Homegrown originated in 2009 through a collaborative partnership with individuals from Mayor Mallory’s YPKC, the Service Employees International Union Local 1 (SEIU), and the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Architecture Co-op Program. As part of the City of Cincinnati’s 2009 Urban Gardening Pilot Program, OTR Homegrown transitioned a blighted, vacant parcel of land on Walnut St. into a sustainable urban farm for the residents of Walnut St. and the community of Over-the-Rhine.
In 2010 OTR Homegrown partnered with the Findlay Market: C.H.E.F. Program and established 2 high-producing, for-profit urban farms on Pleasant St where we currently are located.

Please come out and join the celebration!

WHEN: Saturday, August 6 • 4:00pm – 8:00pm

WHERE: OTR Homegrown is on Pleasant Street between Liberty and Green–Just South of Findlay Market


Organic Heirloom Plant Sale

Organic Heirloom Tomato Sale
SATURDAY @Park + Vine
1202 Main Street Cincinnati Ohio 45202

Friends–if you want tomatoes…we got them. We’ve spent countless hours in our OTR grow room watering, pruning, and saying sweet nothings to these fabulous plants. Promised to give you bountiful and delicious tomatoes.
Join us on Saturday to pick yours up and be sure to check out Park+Vine’s awesome garden room.
Tomato Sale Cincinnati OH
Members of OTR Homegrown will be on hand to discuss the glorious modern tomato. Topics will include:
What are Heirloom Varieties and how do they differ from non-heirloom, hybrid, and open-pollinated varieties.
How to Transplant a Tomato.
How to save the seeds of a tomato for next year.
How to Water a tomato.
And tricks to tying up a tomato.

Case Study Research / (late) Day 2

December 15 2010

A belated second installment to the book review of “Garden Anywhere” by Alys Fowler. After further review of the book while on vacation this past week, I have determined it very generally presents an urban and chic set of instructions for gardening.

In the first real chapter, “From The Ground Up,”various steps to getting started in gardening are touched upon. A key question posed to the reader asks, “Where are you going to garden?” Fowler goes into many details and options on the subject, even giving the reader tips on how to choose a good space for the task. What I find interesting is the question and how it can be drawn to the story of OTRHomegrown .

In 2009 ORTHomegrown was stared as a community garden on Walnut Street.

Tomatoes and Peppers

The site was owned by the City of Cincinnati and was part of a new Pilot Gardening Program through a new sustainability commitment of some sort by the city. Our group came together to design, build, plant, and then maintain a “sustainable” example for the pilot program. Our initial intentions had been to create something which would be a cornerstone for the community five to ten years down the road. Halfway through that first year, a major issue developed. The city had sold the land we were gardening on. Within a year a new apartment building was to be built. All of our work towards “sustainability” was for nothing. We as a group were forced to come together and have a legitimate conversation about the question posed above, “Where (are we) going to garden?”.

You may know the story from there. OTRHomegrown has relocated to another city owned site on Pleasant Street.

OTR Homegrown
OTR Homegrown

At the old Walnut Street site, no building has been built or even started yet (a year on).


Case Study / Research day 1

This is the start of a book report. It is similar to the reports we all had to do in elementary school. This report is an over-winter case study / research experiment manifest in blog format. I am going to read a couple of books about gardening, with the intention of learning and bringing something back to the table as OTR Homegrown prepares for the 2011 growing season. This is a busy winter for the group in that we have a lot of planning to do. We need to work out our business plans, decide upon our crop lists, draw up our crop location plans, design and build several much needed structures for our site, develop a marketing plan, and many other plans. As we go through this process, we are going to post as often as possible.

Start – Tuesday November 30th 2010
Books from the Cincinnati Public Library

Two selected books for further study

“Garden Anywhere” by Alys Fowler
“Guerrilla Gardening: a Manualfesto” by David Tracey

Initial reaction to Garden Anywhere

Fowler, Alys. "Garden Anywhere"

Fowler’s book is beautiful, it has a large percentage of huge color photos as compared to text. The photos initially stirred up memories of the OTR Homegrown plots on Pleasant Street as they depict gardens which are sandwiched in-between century old brick buildings with scrap wood and recycled benches transforming a bit of land into an oasis within the city. I am a visual person therefore these photos decided for me that I need to check out this book.
Quick browsing has shown many inspirational words which speak to gardening as well as to the state that my life is in now. A couple key statements from the intro entitled “The Slow Track” speak to the notion that, “Once I stopped separating my work from my identity, it all fell into place…. Slow gardening, like slow food, is taking time to savor. It’s the process not the sudden transformation, that matters.” (6, Fowler) In a society such as ours, controlled by the idea of instant gratification, which I know I seek, these words are something to be taken to heart. As anyone who has followed OTR Homegrown knows, we have stumbled at times into the trap of yearning for instant gratification. We had two, first years. One occurred at our Walnut Street site, while the other is at the two Pleasant Street sites. Both years we expected everything to be perfect right away. Little by little we are learning from our mistakes. It is only now as we prepare for year three, that we are learning not to bite off more than we can chew. We are learning to savor each and every nibble.

Quentin Koopman – 11 30 10

The Cincinnati Inclines

Cincinnati Incline
At the North End of Main St in Over The Rhine you'll see a stairwell

The Cincinnati inclines are alive and well. But now, instead of simply using the ingenious invention of pulleys and counterbalances that were commonly known as “Inclines” to transport ourselves up and out of our river valley, we have to walk the inclines. Our fault for having removed an energy efficient and simple system, but I digress.  The stairwell that is in place of the Main St. Incline is a modern treasure that unlocks an undiscovered opportunity in Cincinnati; that is the possibility of an interconnected walking trail through out CIncinnati. To demonstrate I call upon the modern city, of which so many Cincinnatians are in love with, of Portland, Oregon. A city that has a similar river water shed layout as Cincinnati and has a complete walkable foot path through out the city! Click here to see Portland Oregon’s Walking topographical Map. The open grassy areas along the Cincinnati incline have beautiful natural plants and better, the incline stairwell can work as an intrigal route in an interconnected trail system through Cincinnati for walkers!

What do the Cincinnati inclines have to do with urban gardening, and urban lifestyle?

Grow community gardens on the terraced hillsides while using the incline stairwell, as well as all the other stairwells and trails throughout Cincinnati to create a completely walkable mapped route throughout Cincinnati. Our bodies are very nourished, we can walk these hills easier than drilling for gas. Walking needs to be recognized as a terrific form of transportation.

Again, what does this have to do with Urban lifestyle?

Walking is a treasured time that most intelligent people live their lives just so they can get in nice walks, seriously, think about most vacations, you not storming around an island in a car in traffic listening to public radio and drinking coffee. You are walking.

Walking is my second most treasured form of transportation next to riding a bike. Walking allows for a pace that you can see what is around you, allowing you to inspect the foliage and flowers, or you can not see anything at all safely walking while calming the storm inside your brain from your hectic day at work. Or, preparing your brain for a hectic day at work while walking to your job. At average walking speed humans walk a mile in 12-15 minutes.

Living in the city and near where you work enables you to live without a car. Walking is a powerful tool in the commuter bag of possibilities, which includes a bike, the bus, roller skates or skate board, a scooter, and then your car (booo). Cincinnati, we have pathways throughout our many small towns that connect all of our neighborhoods, we can walk anywhere here. At least in the Summer, Fall, and Spring, which in turns reduces the smog in the valley while strengthening our ability to fight the toxins we are around daily.

“Who are the Cincinnati Inclines”?
I am announcing the formation of the “Cincinnati Inclines”, a group of walkers and runners who walk or run The Main St. Incline every morning (or every other day..). Shall we say 7AM? (Leave a Comment!) Let us conquer the weather of our home. Let us embrace the physical challenge of our hills and enjoy the beauty of our paths, the wild flowers and grasses, the hidden buds in bloom while staying in shape and starting our days off with a metaphorical jump in a lake ( A jump up a hill?).