At least 40 Bexley residents have expressed interest in participating in the tree and public garden commission's community garden initiative, its organizer says.

At least 40 Bexley residents have expressed interest in participating in the tree and public garden commission's community garden initiative, its organizer says.

Commission member Ginny Salamy is leading the effort. The garden will be located on city-owned land off Ferndale Avenue.

"I've been bringing this about for two years now," she said. "I always wanted to do this."

The commission is working with the city of Bexley, Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary on the project.

Capital students are helping with everything, Salamy said. They have solicited donations for the project and will help with planting and gardening.

Trinity Lutheran Seminary has worked with the commission to help solicit grants for the project. Salamy said every October the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. awards grants to garden clubs for buying plants, fencing and organic fertilizer. Some funding can be held back for later projects such as purchasing rain barrels or setting up a compost area.

A large plot, 16-feet by 20-feet, will cost a Bexley resident $34 and a small plot, 8-feet by 10-feet, will cost $17. One plot will be available per family. Families also may sponsor a plot for a family in need.

"If you don't want to do the gardening, you can give it to someone willing to do the gardening," Salamy said.

Boy Scouts are donating time to build garden benches and to help install fencing. Salamy said there has been an outpouring of support from the community, including contributions from local business owners.

The commission is waiting for the results of soil testing before gardening can begin. Organizers hope to get out by the middle of May to start work.

Salamy, who has a degree in landscape architecture, has been a guest speaker at conferences discussing how community gardens promote healing and bring neighbors together.

"It is a passion of mine I wanted to see in Bexley," she said. "They have done a ton in Washington and Chicago."

Not everyone in Bexley is wealthy and can afford the food people need for good nutrition, but the community garden can provide healthy food that's free of pesticides, she said.

Andy Lugar, a member of Capital University's Campus Congregation, a religious organization that does service work, said the group is glad to be on board.

"Originally we were going to do a community garden on campus and then learned there was a better area off campus," he said.

The group thought a community garden was a good way to make a difference in the community, Lugar said.

Trinity Lutheran Seminary president Dr. Mark Ramseth said Trinity was pleased to partner in the "green" efforts that are fostered in the development of a Bexley community garden. He said Trinity's mission statement emphasizes that students "reach out into the world."

"This year in particular there has been much activity on campus with faculty and students focusing on matters that relate to 'green' projects and conservation," he said. "In the garden project students and others actually witness something green, but as an outreach project."

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com