South Minneapolis: Southside Star flourishes in its third season

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It was a gloriously beautiful day on Aug. 11 for the seventh annual Parade of Community Gardens, which drew some 50 visitors to the Southside Star Community Garden (32nd Ave. S. and E. 41st St.). In addition to many neighborhood residents, visitors included two master gardeners from the University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension, Director of Gardening Matters (www.gardeningmatters.org) Kirsten Saylor, and 12th Ward City Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy.

Despite stretches of hot, dry weather in the weeks prior to the event, along with an invasion of squash pests and an unfortunate problem with theft, the garden was lush and bountiful, and the atmosphere of the day reflected that. Groups of children played foursquare and tag while neighbors chatted and sampled a delectable banquet of homemade delights, many featuring fresh garden-grown produce. Master gardeners Jodi and Betsy answered questions, offered tips on organic pest control, and even admitted that our community garden looked even healthier and more vibrant than their own home gardens! The evening wrapped up with a fitness demonstration by Hiromi and Joe from Southside Kettle Bells (3107 E. 42nd St.).

Two large raised beds constructed in the spring for would-be gardeners with limited mobility have yet to be claimed, so the beds were planted to provide extra produce for the Sabathani and Calvary Lutheran food shelves. Nearly 150 pounds of organic vegetables had been donated as of mid-August, with deliveries to continue until the frost settles in. The raised beds are still available for next year if you or someone you know with limited mobility would like to get involved with this flourishing community treasure.

To learn more about the Southside Star Community Garden or to add your name to the wait list (there is no wait list for the limited-mobility raised beds), contact Laura Hansen at bigelle71@yahoo.com.