Saturday, November 10, 2012

Calling It a Year: SACG Cleans Up with Help from Collide

  Another year.  Another beautiful closing day.  The weather could not have been lovelier than it was today when the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden cleaned up to shut down the Garden for the winter.  God blessed us once again.

I picked up refreshments last night thinking that I might be lucky to have four people show up to help.  (I think that every year and every year I am pleasantly surprised to be wrong).  I wished I had packed sandwiches or brought a frozen pizza for Cathy to bake for us.  We ended up with almost 20 volunteers today.

I started this morning at 9:30.  After pulling out the major tools from the shed that I knew we would need today, I started bagging up the remaining tomato and other plants from the kids’ beds and the neighbor plots.  I also started to drain the rain tanks.

Rayna came. After helping me move a compost bin from the south to the north side of the Garden, she spent most of the rest of the day pruning raspberry bushes from the fence rows along three sides of the Garden.  I think she filled 3 yard waste bags of canes.

Beth came and bagged up the rose canes that Barb had cut back last Saturday and then she pruned all of the flowers in the front flower bed.

Mari came and picked up litter, harvested produce and raked up beds.   She mentioned that the entire neighborhood seems to be sprucing up.
Margaret Ann came from Four Seasons City Farm with two little A’s.  She pruned the yellow rose bushes and cut down our sunflowers from the center flower bed.  She also added to our refreshment table and hauled away recyclables.

A boatload of neighborhood kids came, harvested turnips and beets and then raked and engaged in general digging.  And then eating and drinking us out of house and home.  And then de-stuffing and composting our scarecrow.  And then putting the spilled potting soil back in the bag for me.  

Frank and Barb came.  They disconnected our second rain tank, moved a compost bin from the south to north side of the Garden and transported compost and garden waste from the old location to the new compost bin location.  Then Charlie joined them and built a third compost bin along the alley  out of cinder blocks and landscaping stones, and moved more garden waste to it.

Charlie also reinforced our fence with help from one of the new neighborhood boys. And he hauled the bags and bags of yard waste (i.e., thorny canes and tomato vines) to the dumpster.

Tony LaRosa stopped by to tell us about his experiences in guerilla gardening in Weinland Park.  Ms. Anthony stopped by and said hi.

We didn’t really have much of a lunch break and I didn’t get a chance to read off all of the announcements about our achievements and challenges over the past summer.  Oh well.

Without much ceremony or fanfare, I was able to give Cathy Alexander her picture collage marking her as our Volunteer of the Year for helping with the youth program on most Monday evenings, helping me water on most Wednesday evenings, recruiting neighbors for our letter-writing campaign to get the eyesore next door demolished  and arranging for volunteers in June and today.    Our traveling garden gnome award for tidiest gardener(s) went to Barb and Frank for 2012.  Charlie seemed pretty disappointed to not win it two years in a row.   Sigh.

Then, we were flooded with lots of energetic teenagers from the Collide Youth Conference of the Ohio Conference of the Church of God.  The teens assigned to the SACG came from the Alliance Church of God.    We were very blessed to have them because they helped move our compost and garden waste to the new northern location for the compost bins, gathered, stacked and covered our tomato stakes and cages, neatly stacked our surplus lumber, tidied up the south side of the Garden,  harvested a couple pounds of carrots, and raked up garden beds.   They were even more help across the street where they raked leaves, chopped down scrub trees and removed a discarded fence row in the Block Watch lot.

Rayna and I reassembled the shed and got everything packed away.    We also emptied and stored away the sand box and patio umbrellas.

 It was now down to the four SACG Board members: Rayna, Charlie, Frank and me.  We held a pre-scheduled Board meeting about the future of the Garden.   Cathy Alexander was elected to replace Mike Watkins on the Board.  (We have one extra slot in case anyone out there is interested in joining our Board . . . .).   Charlie was voted to a second two-year term.   I am stepping down as the Garden Manager, and so we will need a new one.  Anyone interested should contact me or Rayna.  In the absence of expressed interest, we will be creating a job description and seeking an intern.   Next year, new gardeners will be limited to very small plots or one of our raised beds.  They can graduate to a larger bed once they have demonstrated a season of commitment to gardening and the Garden.  We’ll also be scaling back the Garden to our original lot (which will involve moving our new raised beds to the garden beds on the south side of the Garden).

Frank is coming back tomorrow to mow the grass, take down the sign and gates, and maybe haul away some/all of our excess lumber.   I have to return as well to fix something I forgot.  Oops.

Then, I went home, weighed the 32 pounds of produce we harvested today and, because it was after 4 p.m., took it to Faith Mission.

I am soooo tired.  Really.  I can't believe that we got so much done.  We were so blessed to have such fabulous weather again.

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