TWINSBURG — The COVID-19 pandemic closed many summer venues and forced families to scale back and revise their warm weather plans.

One activity that has proven to be a fun and safe alternative for a Twinsburg family is working on a plot of land in the John W. Seese Community Gardens. The field, at the northwest corner of Darrow Road and Miktarian Boulevard, gives area residents an opportunity to grow their own plants in a select plot of land.

Staci DiVita and her family, which includes husband Andrew, sons Jack, 6, Kyle, 4 and Noah, 1 1/2, and dog, Ralph, decided to try their hands at gardening.

"We always go for walks, and the boys were interested," DiVita said. "We are not doing much else this summer, so what’s better than dirt and mud and learning?"

The family made a trip to Kollman’s Greenhouse in Twinsburg to purchase their plants, and they decided to go for variety, she said.

"We planted six different varieties of tomatoes," DiVita said. "We wanted to do some fun ones. We planted a couple cherry tomatoes. We planted some that will turn white, one that’s striped, one that will turn purple. We planted zucchini. We tried planting watermelon, but that didn’t go over well. We also planted pumpkins — we were told they were easy to plant. The boys would have something to show at the end."

DiVita said she wasn’t sure how many of the fruits in their garden would wind up on the family’s plates and eaten, "but it’s worth a shot."

There were a few obstacles due to the pandemic, DiVita said.

"We wanted a few more cherry tomatoes, but everyone was sold out of them," DiVita said, adding that the staff at Kollmans had some shortages due to the increased interest in gardening. "Everyone had the same idea: since they had to stay home, why not garden?"

The DiVita family generally visits their garden plot four to five times a week.

"We will go down for a bit, bring the dog, give everyone some exercise," DiVita said. "We’ve actually learned a ton from our garden neighbors. One gave us some vegetable dust. Some of the gardens are just spectacular. They have plants that are four feet tall, and then there’s ours. But that’s OK."

Derek Schroeder, parks and recreation director, said the city has "definitely had an increase in participation this year compared to the last few years."

"I think people were shut in for so long and were looking for an activity that already was socially distant," Schroeder said. "Also, this was one of the few activities that was even available to residents during the end of May."

As a result, the city was able to open the community gardens without changes from previous years, Schroeder said.

For details on the community garden program, call the parks and recreation department at 330-963-8701.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@recordpub.com