One-man community garden needs assistants

To the Editor:

“Who will help me plant this seed?” asked the Little Red Hen in the fairy tale. Nobody wanted to help with anything until it was time to eat the bread.

In a similar true-life story, Steve Warner, a Cleveland Heights High School science teacher and Environmental Club faculty advisor, has been caring for the Taylor Road Learning Garden all summer by himself, with the help of a scattered few volunteers and the University Heights Fire Department.

Twenty of the 40 lots on the property, at 14750 Superior Road (behind the former Taylor Academy School, on the hillside facing Taylor Road) in University Heights, were farmed this spring and summer. Six plots were maintained by students at the high school, and 14 by community members. With the exception of the students, it cost $20 per year for a plot. The additional 20 plots have not been claimed.  All were available to any resident of Cleveland Heights or University Heights, or even residents of other towns and cities.

So, over the summer, Steve has done most of the work. The fire department fills the eight rain barrels with water when they are emptied, but the only way to drain them is to lift watering cans and pour the contents on the plots. He has shovels, trowels, rakes, wheelbarrows and a string trimmer, all of which were provided by funds from a grant he got early on in the process of including outdoor learning as part of his curriculum.

Steve is aided by members of the Northern Ohio Perennials Society, and some students who are at home on summer break. But the lack of additional manpower, a proper shed for storage, and a permanent water system have stymied his efforts to enlarge and improve the project.

In the fall, Steve will return to his teaching responsibilities, but the gardens will still need care. Steve is looking for help from anyone who would be able to help prepare the gardens for winter, and develop a long-term plan for the land and a permanent watering solution that can be presented to the CH-UH School Board. Interested residents can contact Steve at 216-554-3300 or

Joyce Hoffer

Joyce W. Hoffer
(Cleveland Heights resident 2006–09)

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 4:47 PM, 08.01.2012