Sunday, November 14, 2010

SACG Fall Work Day Gets It Done

I don't know why I ever worry about whether we will get it all done. Earlier this week, I worried about the weather, which called for wet and chilly. Yesterday morning, I woke up stressed about whether anyone would show up and how long the volunteers would stay. I needn't have bothered. The weather was beautiful; like last year it started off cool, but warmed up to t-shirt temperatures by lunch-time.

As soon as I went out to my garage to begin loading my car with the utility wagon, water thermos, refreshments and gardening tools, Beth came right over to get my wheelbarrow (to load in the back of her station wagon) and to help me load the wagon into the back seat of my car. Frank and Barb already took down the garden gates earlier in the week.

When I arrived at the Garden at 9:30, Charlie was already there pulling weeds and dead tomato vines. I told him that I was certain there were sweet potatoes on the north side of Nykkel's abandoned plot if he cleaned it out. That was enough incentive for him. Sure enough, there were 3-4 large sweet potatoes and a few smaller ones. We put them aside (along with an onion and few other vegetables we found while cleaning up) in case anyone stopped by asking for food. When no one did, we distributed the booty among the hard-working voluunteers.

Beth, Rayna, Betty and Mari then came. Betty cleaned out the plot tended by Brianna and Priest as well as pruning back the front perennial flower bed. Mari and Beth helped me pull pole bean and tomato vines. Rayna concentrated on raking/picking up the rotting/rotten tomatoes in Dwain and Maxcine's plots. Jeff came and pulled vines out of Maxcine's plots and volunteered to take all of our non-compostable vegetative waste down to Kurtz Brothers on the back of his trailer. His machete came in handy cutting down our row of sunflowers. Then, we were delighted that Mike Watkins (from the Cougar Group) came and helped us pull vines, etc.
I cleaned out two of the community plots.

Once the vines and weeds were pulled, we turned to distributing compost throughout the Garden (although the distribution became more generous as we progressed). The City of Columbus donated 5 cubic yards of Com-Til Plus to the Garden (and all other community gardens in Columbus who think to ask and arrange for its delivery). Shane Yokum picked it up and delivered it to us this week at a discount price (which was paid for courtesy of the grant we received from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Fund at the Columbus Foundation). Without the neighborhood boys (who moved away following all of the neighborhood crime wave this summer) to shovel the compost for us, I had to pitch in and shovel compost for the first time with help from Charlie, Jeff, and Mike. Mari, Beth and Rayna spread the compost in each plot as it was distributed.

We then broke for 10 minutes to hold our first annual meeting. Mari, Mike Mattes and I incorporated the SACG in July and elected our first three trustees (Beth, Rayna and Frank) shortly thereafter to 15 month terms. Yesterday, we elected our next three trustees to a 2-year term: Jeff, Mike and Charlie. I gave a brief report about our financial status and discussed needs and priorities for the garden in the upcoming year. Then, a group picture and back to work.

We emptied the rain barrels and tank and stowed the barrels. We then emptied the shed. Barb and Frank came to finish off everything: organize and pack up the shed, take down the signs and plant the daffodil bulbs I picked up last weekend. They were the only people left at 1:04 p.m. Frank indicated that he was also going to reinforce the garden latch.

Something I probably should have photographed: the ridiculous height of our three compost bins. The bins are 3x3x3, but we have them stacked at least six feet high.

See you all next year!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SACG Fall Work Day Welcomes You

One of the things I love most about the SACG is the enthusiasm of our core group of gardeners for hard work and our work days. Between you, me and the fence post, I could survive on one work day in the year – in April. Everything after that is just gravy. However, the SACG gardeners believe if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. So, we put the garden to bed in mid-November. We pull errant plants and weeds, spread donated compost, plant bulbs, prop up the fence to survive winter storms, empty and stow rain barrels, pick up and dispose of litter, and dis-assemble the gates and sign. This year we will also have the joy of organizing our new shed. If we have enough volunteers and energy, we should also try to flip the compost bins.

Of course, no army works well unless it is well fed – so there will be goodies to keep your blood sugar up.

Last year, we started in sweatshirts and ended up in t-shirts as the temperatures rose during the day.

Volunteers should bring gardening gloves and a rake. Wheelbarrows and wagons would be great, too, but they are hard to transport.

Like us, the Bexley Community Garden has had trouble with gardeners losing the gardening passion over the summer and abandoning their plots to weeds and rotting produce. They have a lot more space to clean up than we do. So, in lieu of a Fall Garden Clean Up day, they are researching the possibility of renting goats to eat up the weeds and tomatoe vines. Maybe we'll borrow them when they are done:) Check this out in the Columbus Dispatch.

The SACG festivities begin at 10 a.m., but feel free to come early and get a jump on the work if the spirit moves you. We will be done by 1:30 or earlier if it starts to rainJ

Be there or be square!!