The Blade will feature a gardener each week during the growing season. If you'd like to be considered for Weed It & Reap, contact Tahree Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6075, facebook.com/thetoledoblade, or twitter.com/toledonews.
Name: Cheryl Takata, artist, retired creative director in the marketing and communication department at Bowling Green State University, living in Perrysburg.
Garden specs: My veggie garden is at the 577 Foundation, within walking distance of my home. There are about 40 plots in this idyllic setting. Mine is a prized sunny, 12-by-15-foot spot. At home, I've planted perennials.
When did you start gardening? I have enjoyed perennial flower gardening at home for 30-plus years with just a few tomato plants by the back door. However, this is my second season of vegetable gardening at the 577.
What do you grow? Tomatoes, peas, beans, broccoli, peppers, carrots, spinach, zucchini, garlic, herbs, zinnias, marigolds, and whatever else I can squeeze in.
What do you get out of it? Super-fresh herbs and vegetables for my family and friends, plus I can contribute a portion to area food banks. The 577 grows organically and there is always the sharing of advice, camaraderie, and crops, especially zucchini! And we have a potluck at the end of the season.
Hours spent gardening: On average, two to three hours total per week during May, June, and July.
Annual cash outlay: Initial outlay for fencing and plant supports last year was about $120, which included plants and seeds. It should be half that amount this year. Hoses, tools, compost, water, and leaf mulch are free to the 577 gardeners.
Challenges: Critters and weather, both being out of my control.
I'm proud of: Knowing I grew it myself and taking pride in having an attractive garden. Being able to prepare pesto, tabbouleh, and sauces with my own herbs and vegetables.
Most used tool: I can do almost everything with a hand trowel: plant, weed, and dig.
Word to the wise: 1. The more you grow, the less room there is for weeds. 2. Growing vegetables may not be cheaper but I get to nurture and harvest my own organically.