Parking lots may be best place for urban gardens

Parking lots may be best place for urban gardens

3-year study looks at growing produce in limited spaces

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December 27, 2010

Old asphalt parking lots in urban areas tend to be cheap open land. Ohio St. Univ. associate professor Joe Kovach at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster specializes in maximizing fruit and vegetable production in limited spaces. He is conducting a 3-year study to compare three methods of production (in giant-sized pots, in raised beds on top of the blacktop and in trenches cut right through the asphalt) in empty, abandoned parking lots.
“There are a lot of vacant parking lots in places like Cleveland and Youngstown,” said Kovach.
His study could boost the use of abandoned urban land. It could help people who live in areas having little or no access to affordable, nutritious foods grow more of their own fresh produce. Kovach recently completed a 6-year study of fruit and vegetable polyculture: “ecologically designed” mixed-crop plots that maximize biological diversity, minimize pest problems and earn the equivalent of nearly $100,000 an acre a year.

Pictured: Ohio State University associate professor Joe Kovach cuts trenches for his parking-lot urban garden test site in Wooster, Ohio..
Photo courtesy of Ohio St. Univ. Extension