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A plant sale is scheduled for gardeners with spring fever -- and to help the community meals at a church in downtown Lorain.Solidarity Farms will sell starter plants May 8 and 9 outside Union Town Provisions, 422 Broadway, which also will have menu items with locally grown greens.The project is part of the continuing collaboration with Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 647 Reid Ave. in Lorain.Last year, the church began its urban farm program with grower Jim Goforth, who operates the Lorain-based Gateway Pharms.Goforth planted seeds in containers in the basement of his home.That has turned into a batch of about 1,500 vegetable starts including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, eggplants, strawberries, onions, potatoes, and flowers such as zinnias, sunflowers, bachelor buttons and nasturtiums.As they have grown, Goforth has moved them to his garage, then outdoors, so the sprouts become hardened off, or accustomed to cooler weather.The plants are organically grown in soil Goforth mixes himself.The leaves had some white powdery streaks, the remnants of diatomaceous earth that is used as an organic insecticide.The total number would have been greater, Goforth said.But April’s unseasonable cold snap and snowfall killed some of the plants, although they were under cover in a plastic hoop house in Goforth’s backyard.“I thought it would be OK,” he said. “My one greenhouse survived fine, but the other one took it really bad. A big disappointment.”Goforth will supplement the plant stock with vegetables from Baumhart Berry Farm, 2200 Baumhart Road in Vermilion, which will have its own annual flower sale with an estimated 7,000 plants May 8.In summer 2020, Goforth and the Rev. Alex Barton, pastor at Church of the Redeemer, planted the lot to create a microfarm at the corner of West 12th Street and Lexington Avenue.The goal was to cultivate produce the church could use for its weekly community meals.Goforth will return there this year and is expanding to the lot at 332-336 W. 14th St., where he has added a fence, shipping container storage shed and fresh compost for growing.
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