WARREN - When life gives you vacant lots, make ... beer?
Adam Keck is not renovating a home at the corner of Porter and Vine N.E. in what some call the city's garden district, but is growing barley on vacant lots that will be used to make specialty beers for a fundraiser. Its proceeds will put money back into the gardens.
"It is an innovative community garden idea," Keck said. "It is another way to use land that had been abandoned."
Keck, a former organizer with the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, said he spoke with neighbors about what they wanted on the land. They asked for raised beds. Seven were placed on the property, and vegetables were planted. The barley is being grown on land on which a house formerly stood.
"In the area where the house stood, the barley looks weak and sickly," he said. "Where there was no house, the barley is richer and thicker."
Because barley is a plant that provides rich nutrients to the soil, Keck said he expects whatever is grown over the next three years will grow better because the soil is more nutritious.
Adam Keck grows barley on vacant lots.
Tribune Chronicle / Virginia Shank
"Barley has a 90-day harvest period," Keck said. "We planted pretty late. We are looking at early October for the harvest of the barley.
Right next to the property, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership placed several raised gardens boxes on which residents planted a variety of vegetables.
Fellow garden district resident Frank Ortzen-Abbot and Dennis Blank built an L-shaped wall of boulders at that corner. TNP and gregg's gardens plan to place similar corner walls at the wildflower sites around the district.