See the picture above? That's what we faced in March, when I and a group from my church decided to plant a community garden in South Linden. Things started with the biggest of ironies: an acre of weeds growing on top of a nearly unmovable weed tarp. It wouldn't be the last.

We called our project Hope Grows -- as in, we hope it grows.

Now, several months and many hours later, we have a thriving vegetable and herb garden. We have what you see below. That picture was taken a while back. Things are even taller, greener and more productive.

We pick out stuff every day. We give it to friends and neighbors along Cleveland Avenue. We eat a lot ourselves. Curious nearby families are coming around to see what's happening. Sometimes, they stay and get their hands dirty.

Columbus has become a hotbed of the national community gardening trend, and more than 150 similar projects are located throughout Central Ohio. I wrote about these developments and Franklin Park Conservatory's new garden initiative here.

If you're looking to get involved, it's not too late.

Gardens are a year-long process, and each one in the city needs help. If you want to be part of one -- Hope Grows is an option! -- contact the conservatory's Growing to Green program. This invaluable resource can put you in touch with a garden in your area.

Call coordinator Bill Dawson at 614-645-5952 or email at