Morrow County Sheriff John Hinton shared an idea with Carri Jagger at the Farmers Breakfast in March that he would like to see a garden at the Morrow County Jail property. He knew that jails in Shelby and Wood counties had jail gardens and he thought it would be a worthwhile project for the inmates.
Hinton thought the garden could be cared for by inmates and the correctional staff with the help and some supervision from the Extension office. Jagger, OSU Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources, was enthusiastic about the idea from the beginning. She has a Master Gardeners program of a dozen people and she enlisted their help in the project.
Louann Holmes from Keep Morrow County Beautiful helped organize the effort with donations from her committee and several others in the community.
Plants and fertilizers were contributed by Singing Springs Nursery of Cardington and 10 yards of top soil was contributed by Superior Landscaping.
Williamsport United Methodist Church donated hoes, rakes and a shovel for the project and $25 in supplies were given by Pastor Millissa Hartson. Bernie Bronson of Earth Source Systems donated plastic and irrigation for pumpkins. Kathy Duffy furnished stakes for the tomato plants.
Garden preparation was done by Mark Mathews, Kyle Wert and Kevin Mullins. Several in the Extension Master Gardener program volunteered their help in working with the inmates to do the planting. Master Garden volunteers were Kathy Duffy, Chris Holt, Joyce Prater and Bernie Bronson.
Hinton said the inmates were very appreciative of the opportunity to do some gardening. Two inmates have worked very hard and master gardeners are working to teach them gardening skills.
The tomatoes and pumpkin plantings are thriving and they hope to harvest cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, kale and green beans. Unfortunately, deer ate about half the green bean plants. Their tracks were found at the edge of the garden.
Food from the garden will be donated to Morrow County food pantries.