Sunday, May 27, 2012
If you have been by the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden this Spring, you will notice that we have a lot of daisies. A lot. Several of people even stopped by to ask if we were selling them. No, but you can take a couple for free. How did we come to have so many daisies this year? Funny you should ask.
Let me take you back to1998, the year I bought my house. There was a legal secretary who lived behind me (where Beth & Mike live now with Louis, Lucy and Peter). She had a little dog and lots of daisies in her back yard. When I told her that I was interested in gardening, she came over with some dead daisies and just crushed the flower over my flower bed. There, she said, you will have daisies there next year. She was right; I had a lot of daisies. You see, the seeds are in the yellow center. I returned the favor when Beth & Mike moved into her house.
When the petals die back, all you have to do is to make sure that the center of the dead flower hits the ground or to crush it between your fingers to spread the seeds over where you want them the next year. The problem is that they can form foliage pretty quickly (which will overwinter in your garden) and that will prevent later season flowers (like cosmos) from growing. (It also runs the risk of dying in a drought). So, I usually prune the dead flowers, put the daisy centers into brown paper bags, label them and then spread them in the Fall (like November after all of the other flowers have died back) or in February (before other flowers start growing and while I can just see the outlines of the mounds of other perennials).
I apparently went a little crazy with daisies last Fall or in February because they were not just growing in our front flower bed, but also in most of my plot. (Even the most gentle breeze can carry their light seeds). No matter, Rayna dug them up from my plot and transplanted them into our middle flower bed during our opening work day. Although I thought they were dying, they bloomed just fine.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Third, there was a discussion about the website which some volunteers at Otterbein College are putting together for GCGC. Volunteers are needed to help develop content for the new GCGC web page.
Then, it was announced that Roger was stepping down from the steering committee after two years. Anyone interested in joining the steering committee should contact Peggy.
Next, Roger made a presentation about liability issues facing community gardens. He had help from retired attorney, Louise Annarino. Very few of us (if any) had posted no-trespassing signs at our gardens because we think they are ugly, unwelcoming, and would deter neighbors and potential volunteers from approaching gardeners. However, a few good points were made about the benefits of a no-trespassing sign. First, the police are unlikely to do anything about trespassers or loiterers without a sign. Second, if a trespasser gets hurt on garden property without a sign, it is more likely that the garden could be held liable than if a sign had been posted. Generally, a landowner owes no duty of care to a trespasser, but you have to show the person is an unlawful trespasser. (This is difficult to do without a sign or locked fence/gate). A duty of warning of latent dangers is owed to individuals, like guests, who are invited onto the property. A much higher duty of care is owed to individuals with a business relationship with you.
Roger then led a discussion about what kinds of rules gardens should adopt and how those rules should be adopted. He felt that the neighbors should have input into the rules. He also raised a good point about the need to keep MSDS (i.e., Material Safety Data Sheets) at the garden which contains information on all of the chemicals and agents used at the garden (including organic products like blood and bone meal). Someone could get something in their eye or mistakenly ingest or breathe something and require emergency medical assistance. Having a binder onsite with information about the contents and dangers of all such chemical and other agents would be important to have in a crises. He also raised a concern with using blood and bone meal from cows which could have “mad cow disease.”
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Saturday, May 12, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
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Sunday, May 6, 2012
I researched other similar raised beds at other community gardens on the internet and decided on a design. However, during one of my evening constitutionals, I again walked by Jim Z’s house. Outside his wood shop was a sandbox he had built for a grandchild that was now being transferred to another friend (or I would have snagged it for our first raised bed). I liked his design so much better because it came with a built-in bench. I ran home to get a camera and took pictures of it at various angles before it began to rain. He must think I’m a freak.
Gardeners Beth & Mike live behind me in Bexley. Mike has his own wood shop and cut notches in the boards for the legs. I started to put the first bed together on my patio last Sunday before realizing that I might not be able to get it out of my backyard, let alone into a vehicle and over to the SACG if I finished the project there. So, I fit what I could into my Jetta (as funny as that sounds) and took it over to the SACG, where I finished assembling it on Monday evening. I have to admit there was a lot of profanity involved as I tried to assemble it by myself when the wind kept knocking it over while I screwed in pilot holes, etc. As you know, I had to wait until Thursday for Justin from CleanTurn to flip it over for me to finish. I bought the rest of the lumber from Lowe’s for the third bed. (I’d like to say it was from the East Broad store, but they had sold out of the required size of cedar and had to send me up to Weber Road on Friday). I wanted to save Mike the trouble of cutting the notches for the legs and checked out a jig saw from Rebuilding Together, but it did not come with a blade. When I called Mike to borrow one, he ended up just cutting all of the lumber down for me on Friday evening.
Saturday was much, much easier. Tom met me at my house at 9 a.m. to pick up the lumber for the second and third bed. Orlando (from BTBO) stopped by to give me a jovially hard time about leasing our second lot (next to BTBO) and helped us move the first bed into its final location. Tom and I then assembled the second bed when I discovered to my horror that I was missing one 12-foot board. I knew the East Broad Street store was sold out, so we headed for Weber Road, only to meet with the closure of I-71! How did I not know this!?? Then, we ran into the Half-Marathon traffic. Ugh! Back to East Broad to get a narrower board. Tom even bought me lunch. We finished the second bed and made substantial progress on the third bed before Tom had to leave at 1:30. As we were eating our lunch tailgate style, Mari & John stopped by with our new gate sign. (More on that in a few days).
Also Dr. Jim from the Morrison Hill Community Garden stopped by to introduce himself (after Cathy from Urban Connections suggested that he do so) and I encouraged him to thin our strawberry patch out for the benefit of their Garden. He came back with his two young sons and did just that. Neighbor Rose also came by to make sure I was wearing enough sun screen.
Meanwhile, I had already learned with the first bed that my cordless drill’s battery was insufficient to complete the project. So, I checked a drill out from Rebuilding Together, only to find that they have no cordless drills!!!! Frank and Cathy loaned me their cordless drills. We burned through my drill and Frank’s drill and, shockingly enough, Cathy’s 24-V drill lasted the rest of the afternoon. She stopped by, briefed me about the block watch meeting and helped me finish the third bed and put it into its correct place. I whined so much, she agreed to come help me out on Saturday mornings. (I won't hold you to that promise made under emotional duress:) Ms. Anthony also stopped by to say hello as well. Then, some neighborhood girls stopped by to see our project progress. Then, Miss Gladys stopped by after church to see and select her new bed and pose for pictures. She was so excited, she wants to plant at least one of everything. That made everything worth it for me.
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Friday, May 4, 2012
Then, it was off to beautiful Franklin Park Conservatory for the award ceremony of the community garden grants collectively awarded by the City of Columbus, Franklin County, 5/3 Bank, the Columbus Foundation and Franklin Park Conservatory. There were approximately 200 community gardeners and other officials (like Dr. Teresa Long, Ms. Seckler, etc.). According to the official press release, there were 76 applicants (all of whom generously received requested product from Scotts Miracle-Gro) and 43 of the applicants received funding. I walked in with some teachers from Lincoln Park Elementary School who had received a grant to upgrade their school garden. There were a lot of other school teachers there, too, from Whetstone and folks from Otterbein College and Southside Settlement. There was a long line to check in (because, if you did not arrange for CleanTurn to deliver your product, you received your donated Scotts Miracle-Gro materials in the order you checked in). It quickly became apparent that this would be a hot and sunny day, so I put on my garden hat to hide the fact I was melting into a very bad hair day. Peggy was graciously shuttling between the refreshment line and the check-in line to make sure we were all hydrated. (Thanks Peggy!). Bill Dawson was also on hand to personally greet every garden leader and ask detailed questions to show-off his memory of all things personal.
The SACG received a grant to build platform raised garden beds, start a fruit orchard, support the Block Watch garden across the street and replenish our neighbor plots. I’ve attached a picture of the very pretty Certificate of Honor and Recognition for the SACG signed by Columbus Mayor Coleman and City Council President Ginther. Of course, all of the gardens in attendance received one. I ran into the Growing Hearts and Hands Community Garden leaders en masse (i.e., Pepper, KT and Richard) and heard about all of the different groups and organizations that send them volunteers to help with their program. The Rebuilding Together Tool Library team also has an impressive produce garden in front of their warehouse and was in attendance (having shut down for the afternoon to pick up their donated materials). I also picked up a snazzy water bottle from the Columbus Health Department and an apron and useful fan from 5/3 Bank.
Speaking of 5/3 Bank, they had dozens and dozens of volunteers on hand to handle check-in and keep things moving. The ceremony was scheduled for May 3 because it was, after all, 5/3 Day.
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