Harvesting Season for Residents at South Franklin Circle

Dick Hartz is proud to show off the tomatoes he’s been growing in South Franklin Circle’s resident-organized community garden.

He does a taste test. “They’re sweet this year. I’m not sure why,” he says with a shrug. “It’s OK with me. Sliced and lightly salted, they make a great meal.”

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Dick is one of about 20 South Franklin Circle residents who pooled their resources to create the garden in 2012. They worked with a landscape architect to design wooden raised garden plots of various sizes and then built the plots themselves in less than a month.

Along with tomatoes, Dick also planted pole beans, cucumbers and beets. A long-time avid gardener, he appreciates having the opportunity to grow fresh vegetables just a few steps from his apartment at South Franklin Circle.

“I had gardens when I lived in Concord, Massachusetts and in Arizona,” says Dick. “So it’s great to have this.”

Whenever there’s a harvest surplus, gardeners are more than willing to share a basket of the produce with fellow residents and staff at the community center. There’s also a social aspect to the garden with neighbors greeting and chatting with one another while they pick the night’s meal.

A walk through the other plots reveals quite a few herbs including fresh mint and basil. A few residents also grow zinnias and other flowers.

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Although Susie Sebastian and her husband Dick moved to South Franklin Circle from Manhattan, they had lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio for a time and regularly grew their own herbs and vegetables.

“It’s great to have this,” says Susie. “It really brings people together.”

Learn more about the independent living lifestyle at South Franklin Circle.

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