8.25.2020: ASHTABULA GROWS! THIS TUESDAY…PESTS AND POLLINATORS – LAST CLASS OF THE SEASON

Litchi Tomato does well in Ashtabula. The plant itself is covered with thorns, so it is sometimes used as a hedge plant to discourage animals from wandering into vegetable gardens – tastes great, too!

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. –Audrey Hepburn

Hello, friends! 

It’s the beginning of school for the children and it is our last Ashtabula Grows! class of the season. What a hot and dry week. If you were in some parts of the county you may have experienced a little rain but many of us have been pretty dry with just a smattering of rain. We are hoping you, your garden and all living organisms in your garden are thriving (with any pesky insects kept to a minimum). 

Speaking of pests – our last topic of the season will be focusing on pests and pollinators. We have had many photos of weeds, insects, invasives, and some damaging worms on our Ashtabula Grows! facebook group. 

Leah Wolfe, a member of our Ashtabula Local Food team, herbalist, and co-creator of the Trillium Center, is starting up a new group and series called Rust Belt Roots. Her first publication about preserving foods should be out soon and you can find her on fb. This is an exciting effort to continue the discussion of building community resilience and food security. Check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/348621332768499

Get together! We are inviting folks for a garden tour and stone soup experience on Sunday, September 20th at 1pm-3pm. Bring something from your garden to put into the soup (we will cook it on the spot out of doors) and we will have a bowl together! We will be outside and have tables distanced, hand washing stations and bring your mask! Harbor Gardens and Holistic Health is located in Ashtabula. Whether you have come to one class, all classes or are still wondering what all the buzz is about…come join us! 
Bring your own bowl and spoon, stories of your garden, seeds or plants to share if you are feeling inspired! Email us at ashtabulalocalfood@gmail.com with questions, rsvp and/or directions!

Missed a class? Last week we had an opportunity to learn some new recipes and tricks of the trade with Nancy Gottron of Up Scale Eats (straight out of Hartsgrove, OH).  Click here to view all previous classes on Zoom. 

Don’t worry if you didn’t grow enough food on your own…let some local farmers fill your basket with home grown goodness! The 2020 Local food guide is out. Download from our website here. Local farms, farmers markets and more!


We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, August 25th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com



8.17.2020 Cooking what you grow!

Hello, friends! 

It’s time for our second-to-last-class of the season. It’s a great time to focus on good eats! This will be special “how to” class with Nancy Gottron of Up Scale Eats. She will be sharing some great recipes for can-it-yourself-pie filling, GF oat bars, blueberry pie filling to freeze, pumpkin blueberry bread, etc. She will also tout the nutritional benefits of blueberries and show how to best freeze a supply! 

Are you interested in home grown food but did not have as much yield in your own garden to feed your whole house? My Neighborhood has got an opportunity to become a part of their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). For $200.00 you can get 10 weeks of produce that was grown in the community garden in Ashtabula! This is a steal and there are only 5 spots left. This weekend is the first box so you have not yet missed anything. This might also make a GREAT gift for someone who struggles with time or money for buying local food. 

See the My Neighborhood, Ashtabula Local Food or OSU extension FB pages for more info or click on this form to sign up: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScsNKQW8Z9X4H0V2xmp7AHBvEkiVDET4inkOeA-WKsjMKuj3w/viewform?embedded=true&fbclid=IwAR2tCF59wS-fjG2dALOaGZj_FK0-O7pB1JZcOFJD6whVFUUB002W9bGCDlE

Maybe listen to the podcast below before making your decision….it’s a good reminder to recommit to buying local food! 


Missed a class? Last week we had an opportunity to discuss seed saving with John Wright of Red Beet Row.  Click here to view all previous classes on Zoom. 

The 2020 Local food guide is out. Download from our website here. Local farms, farmers markets and more! 



We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, August 11th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com

Aug 11th – Ashtabula Grows! Mid-summer garden dreaming

Maureen demonstrates the bounty of last fall’s garlic planting

Hello, friends! 

It is difficult to remember how life was just a year ago. Our world has turned upside down and there has to be a silver lining. Actually, it is pretty exciting to imagine a new future for our community. Now is the time to dream big as we have the opportunity to not restore things to the way they were – but make our world even better! 

You may say I am a dreamer…sit with me a minute and imagine…with plenty of evidence that we can reverse heart disease and Alzheimer’s through diet (1, 2), access to more fresh water than almost anywhere in the world, and the largest county in the state with plenty of rich soil with plenty of knowledgeable farmers and tools..can you picture what we can accomplish together? Envision every person eating fresh food, grown here with our own hands, a bountiful table of colorful, and shared in kindness. Eliminating food scarcity and malnutrition while working together toward a common goal. Everyone could win!  And, we have the natural resources to make this happen. We have enough and there is enough to share. A perfect opportunity to introduce our topic for tonight’s class – seed saving.

Tonight’s class on seed saving is a piece of building our strength and resilience…join Sarah and John, of Red Beet Row, as they discuss the how to’s of seed saving. 

Looking forward to seeing you tonight! 

1. “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The revolutionary, scientifically proven, nutrition-based cure.” Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr, MD. 
2. “The Alzheimer’s Solution: A breakthrough program to prevent and reverse the symptoms of congitive decline at every age.” Dean & Ayesha Sherazi, MD. Codirectors of the Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center. 2017. 


Missed a class? Last week we had an opportunity to practice our tomato pruning and test our knowledge with Sarah Brower. Click here to view all previous classes.  


The new 2020 Local Food Guide is out! Download it from our website or click here https://ashtabulalocalfood.org/local-food-guide/

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, August 11th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com



Maureen teaches her neighbor to braid garlic for a beautifully displayed bounty

Aug 4th – Ashtabula Grows! Tomato pruning and garden tour tonight at 6pm

So, your summer garden is growing! Perhaps you have been overtaken by the joy and bounty to harvest, prepare and share? The summer garden is filled with life and living food and reminds us what homegrown means – more color, more nutrition and more taste! The ratatouille of tomatoes, egg plant, onions, zucchini, with herbs of rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley….straight out of a Pixar/Disney movie (but without the mice).

Building community resilience starts at home and if you are growing a garden…you are already doing it! Seed saving and pruning will help make even more of your garden and ensure that it continues to thrive – through the season and into next year. Join us tonight as Sarah Brower returns this week with special guest, Hope Paluga of Yellow House Farm in Jefferson, to walk us through the summer garden, prune some tomatoes, consider which seeds to save and more!


A sneak peak at pruning tomatoes


Missed a class? Last week we had an opportunity to practice our meditation garden with Dia Fleming of The Connection Center. Click here to view all previous classes.  


We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, July 28th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com


July 28th – Ashtabula Grows! The garden meditation

Have you ever been in the middle of gardening, planting, digging or weeding and you stop and notice your thoughts. Perhaps you are thinking about your to-do list, or what happened this morning at the breakfast table or your ears and head are ringing with the latest news update? It is in those moments it really interesting to just stop and take a look around. You may notice the birds singing, the bees buzzing and if you listen really closely, you may even hear the plants breathing. At this time you may even take a deep breath in and notice the smells of the day. Tomato plants and basil are some of the local favorite smells at this time of year. Taking in your garden, with all your senses helps one to be in the moment now. Clearing your mind and focusing on the present are just a few ways we can reconnect with ourselves and our garden. And then you might notice that that is all that matters – it is the moment.

Dia Flemming of Connections Center returns this week to breathe us through a garden meditation! A chance to reconnect with ourselves, with nature and our community.


How gardening can change your attitude


Missed a class? Click here to view all previous classes.  


We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, July 28th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com


July 21st – Ashtabula Grows! OSU extension & Survey

Will you look at the head on that one!

What a dynamic week of hot, humid and heavy rains. This is a sure-fire combination to set the stage for a large crop of bush beans, squash, cucumbers, melons and tomatoes. We are so curious what you are harvesting now and what is on its way! We have also been getting out the pickling recipes and freezing some of the bounty already. And tomatoes are just starting to ripen on the vine – no store bought tomato can compare. Oh, life is slightly better knowing there is food growing in the back yard. We have also been having some fun trading crops with neighbors.

George and Maureen have a beautiful crop of garlic they recently harvested and Barbara’s watermelon is growing circles around her small, raised bed of corn, tomatillos and lovage (a perennial plant used like celery with a stronger bite to the tongue). This week Julie shared her purples: cauliflower and figs, Sandy is busy fermenting her cukes and John Werner’s beans and carrots round out the colors for the week! 

This Tuesday join us with our special guest from OSU extension, Andrew Holden. Andrew will walk through the many resources at the extension in Jefferson and invites us all to take a closer look at what is going on over there. 


Start thinking about your summer planting for a late fall harvest!

Missed a class? Click here to view all previous classes.  



We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, July 21st at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com


July 14th – Ashtabula Grows! Hugelkultur Beds and Survey

Scruff Le Puff surveys the gardens and is on guard for rodents and other tasty treats

Hello, Friends! 

How does your garden grow? After the loving rain storm of last week we hope your plants are happy, blooming and productive! Here at the harbor garden, there have been peas-in-the-pod breakfasts, raspberry lunches and summer squash salsa tacos for dinner. We hope you are getting to enjoy the sweet summer sun through the bounty of your garden, too! 

We are back on this week with special guests; Mardy Townsend of Windsor to discuss the benefits of Hugelkultur beds and Emily Hall of Medina will be presenting some of the lessons learned in her first year utilizing this dynamic permaculture technique. There has been a lot of excitement around this topic so we hope you will join us! 


Missed a class? Click here to view all previous classes.  



We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, July 14th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com


For a change of pace…Timebanking with Ashtabula Grows! 6.30.20 at 6pm

Barbara repurposed her old walker to a tomato stake!
So many tomatoes…so little time (Barbara with walker repurposed as tomato stake)

Join us this Tuesday, June 30th, for a lively discussion on prosperity, growth and abundance! Gallo will be discussing building community resilience through timebanking…how to get what you want and GROW!

Ever thought about an alternative to cash? In a world where we have so much uncertainty, wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry so much about cash? Ever thought it would be fun to take a class on cooking, get a massage, plant a bigger garden, plan a water catchment system or build a cob oven or take music/singing classes but did not have enough money to justify these “luxuries?” Are you someone who likes to volunteer? What if your volunteer hours translated into giving AND receiving but did not involve cash? Do you have an elder parent or neighbor who would benefit from some company for social interaction or light house duties but did not have enough cash to pay for it? Want help to make your garden really grow? 

Tonight’s class will be an introduction to timebanking…a means to trade services, skills, knowledge and goods for time. Many communities, worldwide, have used this system to keep loved ones at home, share skills and resources and build tighter neighborhoods. For our gardening purposes, it could be used as a way to receive help in your garden, help canning, caring for plants, processing food, preparing new garden beds, making a compost bin. 

This may be a very new concept for many of us. Join us tonight and check it out! 


Missed last week’s class on WEEDS? Click here to view Leah Wolfe of Trillium Center in Conneaut discuss which weeds to pull and which to use. 

On Timebanking after the financial crisis of 2009.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, June 30th at 6pm!

Check out our website at AshtabulaLocalFood.org for class videos, presentations, handouts and the Ashtabula Local Food guide. 
Join us for week long discussion, photos, Q&A on fb: AshtabulaGrows: an online community garden 
Email us at AshtabulaLocalFood@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 23, 6 pm – Ashtabula Grows! Bring a Weed: Food, Medicine or Tool?

Red Clover, Trifolium pratense

Do you ever wonder if that weed you just ripped out of your garden could actually do you some good? Well, the likelihood is pretty high, but it’s also important to know the answers to the “W&H” questions:

  • Which plant is in my garden?
  • Why would I want to use it?
  • Who would benefit from the plant?
  • What kinds of things will the plant do?
  • When should it be used?
  • How should it be prepared?
  • How much should I use?
  • How long should I use it?

So now that you’ve ripped that plant out of your garden, why don’t you bring it to the online Ashtabula Grows! class coming Tuesday, June 23 at 6 PM. This class is hosted by Leah Wolfe from the Trillium Center. Leah teaches classes in herbalism, first aid, and community wellness throughout the Great Lakes Region and is now developing and supporting programs at the Conneaut Art Center.

Note: when you bring a plant to the class be sure to bring enough of it for identification purposes. Although most weeds in the garden are not poisonous, a few are toxic. Also be sure to know how to identify poison ivy. Plants are often easier to ID if they are flowering, but if there are significant features that also helps.

Positive plant ID over the internet is always tricky, so be sure to look at several sources to be sure. Botanical illustrations are more reliable than photos because they are likely to emphasize identifying features and sometimes provide a better idea of the size of the plant.

Finally, be aware that some weeds interfere or interact with medications. Leah will offer tips on how to figure out which weeds to try and which to avoid.

Common Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus

Tuesday, June 16th at 6pm – Ashtabula Grows! Compost and Worms!

An online home gardening series to build community resilience and food security. Picture of nasturtium flowers and leaves (edible and delicious) plus red cabbage.

Register here!


Some say cheap…I lovingly call it thrifty! What better way to amend your soil, reduce input to landfill, exercise, connect more with your food AND grow bigger, better and more rich plants all for free? Composting! This week we will learn to turn your food scraps and garden waste into a deep luscious and rich compost. We will be joined by two Ashtabula natives: Isaac Coblentz, an extraordinary gardener, rope maker, artist and chili pepper popper and Suzanne Westlake who you will remember from last month’s class on soils of Ashtabula. Suzanne will be walking us through the worm bin at OSU extension and Isaac will be talking with us about composting. It’s going to be quite a ride – see you on Tuesday at 6pm!


Miss last week’s class? No worries – click here to view. Last week, we were fortunate to have Ashtabula Master Gardener and co-owner of Honey Hollow Herbs, Meghan Davis, join us for some instruction on growing herbs. Check out the website: ashtabulalocalfood.org on the “Previous Classes” tab. Or, click here.


It’s a great day to incorporate a composting routine. Click on this video to find out why!

See a list of classes that will be coming your way…


Follow us on facebook

Walkin’ through the garden and eating a snack…

We look forward to seeing you tonight at 6pm!

Ashtabula Grows! Tuesday, May 19: Local Soil and Testing

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”
― Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

IMG-6089Move over snow…spring has sprouted! The greens are back and they are changing by the hour. Light green to darker and the grass is long enough to cut a maze through it. Many of you picked up your garden kits this week. We have more to give away! Email us and we will share instructions on getting your own kit. We also have so many seeds to share. If you want more, we have it! AshtabulaLocalFood.org

We have an exciting presentation this Tuesday by Ashtabula Soil and Water Conservation District Technician, Suzanne Westlake. Suzanne will discuss the various soils around Ashtabula County, walk us through soil testing and what that means and present some very interesting historical perspectives of our land. Suzanne is very enthusiastic and is a native Ashtabulean! Suzanne will also share how to perform a soil test and what you will learn from it.

If you missed any of the classes you can watch the videos and/or see the powerpoint presentations from previous on our website AshtabulaLocalFood.org on the “Previous Class Resources” page. Some highlights are listed below:

May 12th – Mental Health Check-in with Deirdra “Dia” Fleming 

May 5th – Seed starting with Sarah Brower 

April 28th – Building Community Resilience and Food Security with Sarah Brower 

Join the discussion! We have a lively fb private group: Ashtabula Grows: an online community garden. In order to keep it private, you must ask “permission” to join the group. This a great place to share your budding garden with the group, ask questions or share resources. Let’s see how your garden is growing – mind, body and spirit.


Looking forward to seeing you Tuesday at 6pm! 

“Our most important job as vegetable gardeners is to feed and sustain soil life, often called the soil food web, beginning with the microbes. If we do this, our plants will thrive, we’ll grow nutritious, healthy food, and our soil conditions will get better each year. This is what is meant by the adage ”Feed the soil not the plants.”
― Jane Shellenberger, Organic Gardener’s Companion: Growing Vegetables in the West


Tuesdays at 6pm – Ashtabula Grows! Home Gardening: Gardening apart while growing together

An online home gardening series to build community resilience and food security.

Register here!

Howdy, friends and neighbors! Ashtabula Local Food is teaming up with OSU extension, Community Counseling Center and the Ashtabula Master Gardeners to inspire home gardening, give insight into starting seeds indoors and out, help navigate the land and temperature of NE Ohio (what grows best, when, and how) and help you have a productive home garden.  Our simple goal is to build community, improve health, contribute to food security and, perhaps, give you a little piece of mind. These are uncertain times so we would like to help you take care of yourself.

We will be hosting a live class every Tuesday via Zoom at 6pm with 30 minutes of instruction followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers. Then, follow us on our own group facebook page during the week. Feel free to send pictures, ask questions, or, get to know your neighbors by helping them in their garden (after May 1st, of course, and while respecting social distancing).


Classes are free and interactional!

Instruction by local gardeners and community members

See a list of classes


Register here!


Follow us on facebook

Starting seeds indoors while we wait for weather to catch up with spring!

Register here!