WOOSTER, Ohio — Joe Kovach, an Ohio State University scientist who is studying the best ways to grow food in old asphalt parking lots, will hold free public tours at his test plots in Wooster at 4 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month through August.The next tour is June 28. “People say parking lots are barren. But you can get more production off of a back parking lot than you ever thought you could do,” Kovach said. He is growing apples, peaches, green beans, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and more in an asphalt parking lot behind an old, closed dormitory at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute. He’s testing several methods: in pots and raised beds sitting on top of the pavement; in pots suspended on wire mesh fencing, a form of “vertical gardening”; in beds set in trenches cut right through the asphalt; and all three ways both inside and outside of high tunnels. The plantings are now in their second full season. Kovach said he hopes to show visitors the importance of a good design. “But nature does bat last, and we’re trying to figure out how nature adjusts to growing food on asphalt as opposed to growing it out in a field,” he said. “It’s possible. Look at what we’ve done here. But there’s not much data on growing fruit on a parking lot, I can tell you that.”
Those attending are asked to meet at the old ATI dormitory at 1427 Dover Road south of Wooster, directly across from the ATI campus and just south of the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.For more information, call 330-263-3846 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The other tours are July 26 and Aug. 30.