Friday, March 29, 2013

T-8 Until 2013 Opening Day -- SACG’s Official Spring Kick-Off

2012 Opening Day Volunteers
Believe it or not. Spring is finally coming! The extended weather forecast shows that we will have seasonable and sunny weather on our 2013 Opening Day on April 6. It may even reach 70 degrees, so bring your sunscreen. It is not supposed to rain after Tuesday, so the ground should also be dry enough to till. Woo Hoo!

2011 Opening Day Crew
I stopped by the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden yesterday and was greeted by four of the neighborhood kids who cannot wait for us to break ground again for our fifth gardening season. As for refreshments, I'll bring my brownies, and no-bake cookies. We will also have cheese sticks, carrots, bananas, celery, granola, iced tea and water courtesy of the Kroger's grocery on East Main Street. Bexley Pizza Plus is donating yummy pizza. Kenaya has requested that someone bring chocolate-chip cookies, so please start baking to keep the kids and volunteers sufficiently sugared up and energized. Leftover Easter candy is always welcomed, too.

2010 Opening Day Crew
We will have lots to do (as you can see below). We need more wheelbarrows, so please bring one if you can spare it. I need help transporting my wheelbarrow to the Garden since it won't fit into my Jetta and my usual transportation assistant is unavailable. We could also use more battery-operated drills and screwdrivers if you can loan yours.
The City Forestry Department called this morning to report that they will satisfy our wood chip need this year and will drop them off next week. Yippee.

2010 Youth Volunteers with Compost and Chips
We will start working at 9:30 a.m. and will have enough to keep us busy until 3:30. Obviously, many hands make light work and we'll quit sooner if enough people come to help out. Even if you can't stay all day, please stop by to help us out as long as you can spare. (Gardeners should plan on staying the duration).

Free Seeds for Volunteers. We received three or four times as many free seeds this year as we usually do. Instead of one or two garbage bags of last year's Botanical Interest seeds, I have five or six. One of my fellow Knitwits from Christ Lutheran Church in Bexley donated them in early March and they take up a quarter of my breakfast room. Around 3 or 3:30, I'll open the bag and volunteers can help themselves to as many seeds as they want for their SACG plot and backyard gardens. Please share so that everyone can have a bit of everything. After Saturday afternoon, I'll open up the seeds to any community garden to help themselves. We have a particular abundance of lettuce, peas, beans and flower seeds, but simply do not have sufficient room to store them on a long-term basis.

This is what we have planned:

2010 Youth volunteers moving chips for garden paths

Crew 1: Will use shovels, garden rakes and wheelbarrows and neighborhood kids
  1. Spread wood chips several inches thick along garden paths, around the strawberry patch, along the outer fence line and in the space between the alley and the Garden.
  2. Rake up compost from where bins used to be along southwestern portion of fence
  3. Distribute compost in the Garden
  4. Turn compost in bins and consolidate garden waste/leaves into one bin if possible
  5. Distribute compost in Garden
Crew 2: Will use shovels, motorized screwdrivers/drills, tarp and a wheelbarrow
  1. Empty the 3 platform raised beds
  2. Moved the 3 platform raised beds to the northwest plot
  3. Attach the under stabilizer beams to the raised beds
  4. Level the platform raised beds
  5. Move the soil and re-fill the 3 platform raised beds (can use kids to help with this)
  6. Move the 4 regular raised beds to the northwest plot
  7. Consider relocating the twirling compost bin if necessary
  8. Move the soil and refill the 4 platform raised beds
  9. Detach the fence in the annex from the posts. Detangle raspberry canes.
  10. Move fence posts along Rayna's old plot and gate
  11. Re-attach fence in southwest corner of Garden
  12. Dig up raspberry bushes and replant them along new fence location
  13. Water in raspberry bushes
2010 Youth Volunteers at Lunch Break
Crew 3: Carpentry issues: Will use motorized drills/screwdrivers. (Please bring your own if you have one).
  1. Improve appearance of compost bins by adding gates and evening out side boards
  2. Help Frank re-hang gates and sign
  3. Re-connect water tank on west side of BTBO
  4. Go help Crew 1 or 2
Crew 4: Frank and Charlie will each till Garden with rototiller. Priscilla will then mark off plots. Will need twine.

Crew 5: Neighborhood Improvement: Will use trash bags and litter grabbers and neighborhood kids.
  1. Pick up litter around the Garden
  2. Pick up considerable amount of litter in the Neighborhood
    a. Start with Stoddart Avenue
    b. Then alley between Stoddart and Morrison
    c.  Then alley between Stoddart and Fairwood. Barb was already busy last weekend picking up litter on the Block-Watch garden lot. 
    3.  Go help Crews 1 or 2

Crew 6: (if time): transplant and/or repot volunteer raspberry bushes and excess strawberry plants.

 The more the merrier.  Be there or be square.

Friday, March 1, 2013

2013 Gardening Season Starts on April 6

Even though March seems to be entering like a lion and we are still searching for a new Garden Manager, the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden is planning to open in five weeks on April 6, 2013.  Gardeners who are interested in reserving their own plot to grow their own vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers should complete, sign and return an Application along with $10/plot (preferably by check made payable to the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden).  Families in the Stoddart Avenue neighborhood are eligible for a full scholarship if the fee presents a financial hardship. 

Gardeners’ participation is subject to the SACG Garden Rules as well as some rules by the City of Columbus (prohibiting, for instance, being in the Garden at night, and bringing alcohol onto Garden property, etc.).  Gardeners are also encouraged to donate a portion of their produce to area food pantries and shelters, like Faith Mission, Lutheran Social Services and the Salvation Army.
Joining the SACG is not terribly time consuming, but Gardeners should plan to help set out the Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013 (with a rain date on Saturday, April 13, 2013) and to close the Garden (probably on Saturday, November 9, 2013).  Gardeners should also volunteer for three chores to perform for one month over the summer (like watering flowers, tending the food pantry plot, pulling weeds in the paths, mowing our lawn, picking up litter, etc.) 

We will start working at 9:30 a.m. on April 6, 2013 to spread compost, flip the compost bins, improve the compost bins, spread wood chips on the Garden paths and around the fence rows, till the ground (weather permitting), move some raised beds and possibly hang/move some fence.   The more the merrier because many hands make light work.  You need not reserve a plot if you would just like to volunteer.   We are thrilled that OSU students will be joining us as part of their Pay-It-Forward week.  Pizza will be supplied by Bexley Pizza Plus.

As in past years, a gazillion free Botanical Interest seeds are being donated by one of my fellow knitwits from Christ Lutheran Church.  Gardeners and volunteers may help themselves at the end of our April 6, 2013 work day and begin planting as soon as the ground is tilled and staked out.  (However, that early in the year, I only recommend planting potatoes, onions, leeks, peas, lettuce, kale, spinach and greens).   I’ll be starting pepper seeds this weekend and will share any extra seedlings with gardeners come May.
So, if you or someone you know likes to get your hand dirty and grow your own food, you are welcome to join us at the SACG.  Plots will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis, with preference being given to gardeners from last year who volunteered at the opening and closing work days.
AND, although there are no guarantees, the Farmer's Almanac is NOT predicting a drought for Central Ohio this year.  Happy Days!