Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fair Weather for Gardening

We had quite a hard-working impromptu crew today at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden.  You would have thought it was opening day again from the crowd.   I had a lot planned to do, but had not planned on having so much help.  Nonetheless, I still did not leave until well after 2 p.m. and there were still gardeners there working.   I can only attribute all of the passion to the beautiful Spring day we had today.

The morning started around 9:30 with filling the new neighbor raised bed along Cherry Street.   As I was unpacking my supplies, neighbor Rose stopped by and said that she wanted to help.  So, we pulled weeds, laid newspaper down, spread bags of hummus/manure donated on Monday by Scotts Miracle-Gro and then bags of similarly donated Garden Soil.  While we worked, new gardener Greg joined us.  After filling this bed, we then moved to top off the youth raised beds inside the fence.  After those were filled, I sent Rose and Greg to reconfigure the new raised flower bed outside the southwestern part of our fence (parallel to East Main Street) and fill that bed with donated soil.  Sadly, I forgot to pack my car with the perennial flowers I purchased during DeMonye’s sale a few weeks ago.  So, the flower-planting will have to wait until next Saturday.  While they worked on that project, I planted seedlings of cabbage, broccoli, kale, and lettuce in the neighbor raised bed and planted seeds of collard greens. 

Sabrina came (sans her men – who were at COSI) and I put her to work weeding and prepping the food pantry plot to plant carrots, lettuce and potatoes.   She was the only one of us smart enough to pack a lunch for today.  (I had some refreshments, but nothing substantive).   Sabrina also did something none of us thought was humanly possible:  She broke a hoe while creating a ditch for the potoates.  I should have had her cultivate the soil first, but I didn't realize it was that compacted . . . . . She was embarassed, but we still have four other hoes in our shed . . .

Cassie came and I had her help me put a section of fence (which we repurposed from the demolished building next door) over the neighbor plot.  As you may recall, we used to have three neighbor raised beds along Cherry Street.  However, the dozen or so stray cats that hang out at the Garden had turned them into a litter box and some neighbors were not anxious to eat the food which grew out of them.  So, now those beds are now compost bins and we have constructed a new – and higher – raised bed for the neighbors.  I put this wire fence (which coincidentally fit perfectly) over the bed to keep the cats from jumping into it.  We’ll remove the fence and turn it back into a trellis once the bed is fully planted and the seedlings are big enough to deter the cats.  (The fence idea was actually suggested to me last week by Sabrina.  She suggested chicken wire, but I realized that the fence would do and was free).

Cassie then went to work on digging out our excess spearmint from the front southeast flower bed.  One of our neighbors stopped by last week to complain that her house is being overrun by mice (from the vacant houses on each side of her).  She had heard that mint plants would deter mice and asked me where she could get some.  I suggested that she get a cat, but one of her children has cat allergies.  (I still think she should start feeding one of the neighborhood’s 50 stray cats on her back porch to  deter the mice).   I don’t know about the affect of mint on mice, but I told her that she could have our spearmint, which was taking over the front flower bed.   Since Cassie offered to help, she dug up and potted the spearmint and I dropped off several pots on the neighbor’s front porch.

Neal surprised me by showing up and offering to help (after first asking for planting advice for his plot).  He’d been travelling for the past few weeks, so Sabrina hoed his plot for him.  I put him to work digging a hole for a rose bush and then transplanting one of our front yellow roses.  Last year, the drought took its toll on our yellow tea roses.  Then, they were affected by black spot disease.  Rootbarb pruned them in November and one of them has come back beautifully, but the northern one looked almost dead.  Instead of pitching it, I thought we’d give it a last shot by planting it at the southeast corner of the flower bed.  Neal dug a very deep and wide hole for it and then covered the bush with wood chips.  Time will tell if it will survive.  I then ran to Lowe’s to find a replacement (because we need a thorny rose bush by our front gate to keep n’ere-do-wells from sneaking in between the fence and the gate).   There were no yellow tea roses, but there was a yellow knock-out rose bush.  While it will not be symmetrical with the yellow tea rose bush to the south of the gate, I have become a huge fan of knock-out roses because of the two overgrown ones we have by our back gates.  At least it’s yellow.

Frank and Barb then came and hung up our front gate sign and then hoed and weeded their plot.

Orlando stopped by.  He’s going to convert our excess lumber (from old compost bins, etc.) into firewood to heat his auto garage.  He also picked up some lettuce seeds for his home garden.

Rose brought brownies for us all to share.  Then she and Greg turned to putting wood chips around the platform raised bed at the northeast corner of the Garden.  Greg had to leave for work, but will be returning to tidy up our wood chip pile.  Rose decided to garden with us and took that raised bed to plant radishes, cilantro and lettuce.

Ben, Hope, Cathy, and her mother stopped by.  Hope will be gardening with us again and picked out her raised bed.  This year, she will grow more food instead of mostly flowers.  The Urban Connections folks were busy across the street planting grass in the lot where they play with the kids over the summer (next to their basketball court).

We have an overabundance of oregano in our herb garden this year.  I need to make room for the basil which we grow for Bexley Pizza Plus (in exchange for the pizza they provide us gratis on our opening work day).  I encouraged Rose, Sabrina and Cassie to divide the plants and take some.  Otherwise, I will have to pack it up and take it to a food pantry.    Maybe Charlie will help us out (since he wants some in his plot and saved one of the oregano bushes last year from the rototiller . . . . )

I planted some more lettuce and potatoes in my plot, packed up the shed and called it a day.  Cassie was still there planting in her own plot and Sabrina was still weeding the food pantry plot when I left. Whew.   (I had to return to pick up my garden rake, which I left by mistake . .  . . )

This was a longer day than I intended.  Next week, I will be focusing almost exclusively on the front and new flower beds.  We have lots of daisies and other perennials coming up.  We need to weed it and then plant some other flowers, like cosmos and sunflowers, and the rest of the perennials I picked up at DeMonye’s.  (I usually don’t get to this until near the end of May).    As always, I could use whatever help is offered so that I can spend more time on my own plot . . . .  

Monday, April 22, 2013

SACG Hero of the Day

On this Earth Day, local business CleanTurn drove bags of mulch and soil generously donated by Scotts Miracle-Gro to the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden from Franklin Park Conservatory.  (You may recall that CleanTurn helped us out like this last year, too).  Once the bags arrived, volunteers from Alvis House (a non-profit re-entry program) formed a human chain and stacked it in front of the Garden.  We are very appreciative to Richard Harris from the Growing Hearts and Hands Community Garden on Oak Street for coordinating the Alvis House volunteers for us.

Sadly, through some sort of miscommunication, the bags arrived earlier than we anticipated and were placed in front of the Garden instead of in the back as we had arranged.  (I had hoped to get a photograph of the human chain).  Richard and one of our neighbors were concerned about the bags’ safety.  So, even though I wasn’t dress appropriately, I went over and hauled over half of the bags to where they will eventually spend eternity.  Hopefully, another SACG volunteer will stack the rest behind the shed until we or the Block Watch need them.

Many of the bags will go to top off the raised beds used by our youth gardeners.  Others will go to fill the raised bed along the alley from which our neighbors and other passersby may help themselves.  Some will go in the new raised flower bed along the southern edges of our western fence.  Others will go to mulch the front flower beds and our herb garden.  Finally, the rest will go to the flower beds created and maintained by our neighborhood Block Watch.

When I began moving the bags around the Garden, one of our neighbors – whom everyone calls Ms. D – volunteered to help.  (For the record, I know her real name:-) ).   She gardened with us in 2009, owns her own gardening gloves, and often keeps an eye on the Garden for us because most of us live elsewhere and/or work odd hours.  I put her to work distributing mulch around our new cherry and peach trees.  (Be assured, I had already placed the bags there myself and did not make her carry the bags, too, because they probably weigh more than she does).   Even though this is not a particularly good picture of her, that is why she is our Hero of the Day.   She was very complimentary of the tulips blooming in the Block Watch flower beds.  Like her, they are very cheerful. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

SACG’s Earth Day Non-Observance

You may recall that the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden used to celebrate Earth Day in April along with a lot of other community gardens.  In 2010, we moved mountains and created our strawberry patch, blueberry bush turrets and neighbor/alley raised beds.  In 2011, we collected many bags of trash before it rained.  However, the organization sponsoring the City’s Earth Day annual event started coming up with pretty lame rewards for participating.   We used to get free compost  -- something we all desperately need.  Not anymore.   While we get some rewards for our volunteers – if they attend the City’s Earth Day party --  the event’s website has not recruited any volunteers for our or any other community garden (that I’m aware of) despite their best efforts using social media.   We didn’t participate at all last year (although, like always, we worked very hard that weekend).  This year, despite anemic interest among our gardeners, I tried to register  -- to get free food for the volunteers -- only to be told that we were too late.   It seemed that I had talked Green Columbus into letting us in late (because we didn’t need anything from the event organizers and were just trying to be social), but we still were not listed on their website.   Gotta wonder. 

The Dispatch ran a good article on Thursday reflecting something I've been telling folks for the past year:  Support for community gardens runs a mile wide and an inch deep.   We have been extremely blessed over the years to receive generous donations of various resources, but farming is hard work.  We need two kinds of volunteers:  1) Those individuals that are willing to come regularly and 2) Small groups --  that are willing to come once or twice a year (including in June, July and August).   We were blessed last year to have small groups come help us in June (Alliance Church/Urban Connections), July (Franklin County Master Gardeners), August (Vineyard Church) and November (Church of God Collide Youth Conference).

Sabrina, Tom and I were at the SACG this morning and got a lot accomplished.  A new neighborhood gardener was supposed to join us, but did not.  We put a latch on our eastern compost bin, put a latched gate on our middle compost bin, weeded the Garden paths, put wood chips around the BTBO raised garden beds next door, reinforced the south fence, moved extra cinder blocks to our western compost bin, transplanted more raspberry bushes, weeded the food pantry plot, and used our extra landscaping stones to create a flower bed along the southwestern fence line along East Main Street.  Barb and Frank mowed the Block Watch lot across the street with their electric mower.  (I out earth-dayed them by mowing my own lawn with my reel mower.  So there.)
 
On Monday (the actual date of Earth Day), Clean Turn will be delivering soil and mulch donated by Scotts Miracle-Gro and volunteers from Alvis House will be unloading it at the SACG.  Barb, Sabrina, Tom, Charlie and I will then use the soil to top off the raised beds and new flower bed and the mulch for our peach and cherry trees, flower beds, herb garden and the Block Watch flower beds.   (SACG Gardener and Artist John Sunami will be otherwise engaged on Saturday morning at the dedication of his street car statue at the corner of Livingston Avenue and Nelson Road.  Check it out the next time you drive by and remember that he also painted our sign).
 
Our Free Seeds from Botanical Interests have now all found a good home.  We shared them with the following community gardens:  Four Seasons City Farm, St. Vincent De Paul pantry garden (associated with Christ the King Catholic Church), Growing Hearts and Hands on Oak Street, Helping Hands (which grows food for the food pantry at the Clintonville/Beechwold Resource Center), and City Farm.  The remaining seeds went to the Growing Matters program, which supports a number of community gardens and approximately 250 backyard gardens in the Weinland Park neighborhood and near East Side.   I had planned to take them to the Tool Library, but Trish really wanted them and who am I to say no to her (or Jesse who came to pick them up and had to wait 15 minutes in the cold this morning while I gave a few other gardens a last-ditch  opportunity to get some).   I offered seeds to a number of other gardens, but they either did not need them or could not bring themselves to visit us on any Saturday morning this month.

We learned today that both of the families (and all of the kids) across the street from the Garden have moved away within the last week.  They gardened with us last year and the kids had asked to have their own raised beds again this year.  Sigh.  They will be missed – especially Kenaya.
Of course, I have some information about recycling to share in honor of Earth Day on Monday.
Responsible Recycling of Electronics.  If you are trying to get rid of household electronics (like televisions, monitors, computers, laptops, cell phones etc.), do not put them in the trash because they contain toxic metals.  Take them to Ohio Drop Off at 2899 Morse Road.  They actually will pay you for your old computer electronics, will unload your car for free and will only charge you $1 to properly dispose of your television.  They do not take refrigerators.  I’ve taken stuff there and you should, too.
RecycleForce Columbus now also provides a wide array of comprehensive recycling services to numerous clients and partners in central Ohio. Whether you’re a resident looking to get rid of that pile of junk that’s been sitting in your basement for months, or you’re a business that needs comprehensive e-waste disposal services, RecycleForce Columbus can meet your needs in timely and cost-efficient way.  And they employ ex-offenders to give them an alternative to a life of crime.  (Why should Bangledesh corner the market on recycling American electronics?)
Got A LOT of plastic?  Try Phoenix Recyling. They particularly want to hear from companies and manufacturers. They also want your Styrofoam (or the generic equivalent, called expanded polystyrene).
Now, the rest of us participate in curbside recycling. For almost any item in your home, SWACO has a suggestion about where you can take it to be recycled and avoid it going to landfill.  For instance, on July 27, 1992, SWACO’s Franklin County Sanitary Landfill began segregating and recycling appliances. An additional disposal fee is charged to cover the extra labor and recycling costs if appliances are brought to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill. Residents can take their unwanted appliances directly to:
Central City Auto Parts
1930 McKinley Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43222
614-276-9617
Accepts all appliances and refrigerators with Freon. There is a $15.00 fee for Freon removal. Drop off only – pick up service is not offered.

Columbus Appliance and Parts
2686 Westerville Road
Columbus, Ohio 43224
614-279-6416
Takes all appliances and refrigerators with Freon and will evacuate Freon at no charge.
Drop off is free. Pick up fee of $29.50 if inside I-270.  Pick up fee of $39.50 if outside I-270. Additional fee may apply if appliance is in basement or difficult location

PSC Metals - Joyce
1283 Joyce Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43219
614-299-4175
Will pay for metals and applicances. Will pay for applicances containing Freon and will evacuate Freon at no charge.

PSC Metals - Columbus
2205 Parsons Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43207
614-443-0518
Will pay for metals and appliances. Will pay for appliances containing Freon and will evacuate Freon at no charge.

City of Columbus residents should call bulk pick-up at 645-3111. (Please Note that the City of Columbus will not pick up appliances with Freon).

Old tires should go to Liberty Tire Recycling located at 3041 Jackson Pike. Call 614-871-8097 for information.
Finally, the Columbus Underground ran the following article a while ago about common mistakes we make when putting items in the recycling bin that should not be going there.

Here is a list of 10 common recycling mistakes made at the curb. This list pertains to the Rumpke customers in Franklin County. If your community uses a different recycler, check their website for details.

1. Plastic tubs – yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, Cool whip, to-go containers etc. Rumpke only wants your plastic if it’s a bottle. (#5 plastic tubs can be recycled at Whole Foods Market)

2. Plastic cups & plates – just because it has a recycling symbol doesn’t mean the recycler takes it. Remember, only plastic bottles including; detergent, shampoo, milk etc.

3. Caps – Remove caps and lids from bottles and jars. DO NOT throw them in the bin.

4. Plastic bags – Plastic bags wrap themselves around the sorting equipment, and as a result, may shut down the whole facility. Recycle plastic bags at the grocery store.

5. Greasy pizza boxes – Grease contaminates the potentially recyclable cardboard because it cannot be removed from the paper fibers. Tear off the greasy part of the box and recycle the rest.

6. Motor oil and hazardous chemical bottles – residue remaining inside these containers presents a risk to handlers and contaminates other plastic recycling, collection trucks and processing facilities.

7. Napkins, paper towels, tissues etc. -. These are made up of fibers that are too short to be reused.

8. Dishes, drinking glasses, mirrors, window glass, utensils, cookware (glass, metal, ceramic, or disposable plastic) – Not for the curbside bin.

9. Styrofoam – egg cartons, meat trays, to-go containers, cups…any Styrofoam that’s been in contact with food. Sorry to say, these go in the garbage.

10. Coated food boxes – milk and juice cartons, frozen food packaging, juice boxes, paper coffee cups. These boxes are specially coated which make it difficult to recycle them.

We only have one earth; let’s try not to waste it:-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fair Weather Gardeners

Well, it’s pretty nippy out there today.  Three new gardeners were supposed to come today to make up missing last week’s opening work day, but none came.  So, it was just me today in mudville (literally because it was muddy from Thursday’s extensive rain).    Several community gardens asked about picking up free flower and vegetable seeds from us this morning, but not a single one of them stopped by.   I and my thermos of hot coffee waited until noon anyway.   I seem to be alone in vastly preferring nippy mornings like this to those hot and humid days of last July.

However, I was not alone all morning.  Board member Cathy (who does not garden with us) felt bad about missing last Saturday’s work day (in order to attend and help with Urban Connection’s single largest fundraiser), so she came this morning to help even though she has been nursing a hacking cough and sore throat all week.   We re-set one of the compost bins and then she moved some wood chips over to the BTBO raised beds and dug up some raspberry bushes for me to transplant.  We also confirmed there is a lot of water in our large tank.   Charlie stopped by for a few minutes to pick up some seeds.  He had planted on Wednesday and his plot looked spectacular.  Sabrina and Tom stopped by to plant.  They had weeded and prepped their bed on Tuesday, but today it was too wet to plant.   They offered to stay and help, but were not appropriately dressed for the biting wind and went home to grab a jacket before helping out at the Bexley Clean Up Event.   (I stopped by there this morning on my way to the SACG to drop off some home electronics and tease SACG co-founder Alysha, who was helping boys pick up litter along East Main Street).

As you can see from the picture, our new peach trees are about to bloom.  We planted those last Fall, courtesy of a grant from the City’s Active Living Fund at the Columbus Foundation.   I’m hoping the freezes we anticipate the next two nights will not hurt them too much.  All of our new cherry trees are starting to form buds now, too.  The tulips in the Block Watch lot across the street are in bloom.  Our corner of Stoddart Avenue should look spectacular in a few weeks, weather permitting.

I started off the morning picking up litter on our lot and the newly vacant lot next to us and then chopping some weed trees growing in the fence with my new loppers.  Then Cathy helped me with a compost bin.  From there, I transplanted raspberry bushes along the southwest corner of the fence.  We had some volunteer perennial daisies and bachelor buttons coming up in the path, herb garden, etc.  So, I dug them up and transplanted them into the front flower bed, which I also raked out because some wood chips had been mistakenly placed there by energetic volunteers. I also took the opportunity to sprinkle some daisy seeds (that the neighborhood kids and I saved from last year’s blooms) in the flower beds.   Finally, I reorganized the shed so that we see and can get things we need.       (That is trickier than it sounds).

Charlie, Tom and Sabrina are coming back next week.  That will also the last chance for our new gardeners to make up missing last Saturday.  Any other volunteers should feel free to stop by and help if they have time.  (We may sign up as an Earth Day work site to get goodies for volunteers who help out on Saturday).  We have a lot we could be doing:

1)      Build and attach a gate to the middle compost bin

2)      Tidy up the wood chip pile and place wood  chips around the BTBO raised beds

3)      Transplant more raspberry bushes along the southwestern fence

4)      Relocate cinder blocks to the western compost bin

5)      Put a second coat of wood stain on the platform raised beds

6)      Possibly dig out and surround with landscaping stones a perennial flower bed(s) along the southern fence behind our shed to make the area more attractive when viewed from East Main Street.  Yesterday, I purchased some flowering perennials at DeMonye’s annual perennial plant sale for my own home and for the SACG.

7)      Construct a stone moon and half moon in the paths by the back gate (like the one in the pictures constructed in our front paths last week by a Buckeye Pay-It-Forward college volunteer with stones donated to us last year by GreenScapes Landscaping Company)

8)      Picking up neighborhood litter

We and the Block Watch also need to make a dump delivery of waste lumber and rocks at some point.   I’m hoping that we’ll get to it this month, but we’re dependent upon someone offering their pick-up truck.   Another project I’m starting to warm up to is replacing our rocky curb along Cherry Street with tidier landscaping stones.  There is great sentimental value to our rocky curb because it consists of the large rocks and other debris we dug out of the SACG lot by hand in order to improve our soil.  Any tour I give of the SACG always includes a viewing of these stones we carried down to our make-shift curb.  However, they also harbor lots of weeds. 

On April 22, CleanTurn is again generously delivering soil donated to the SACG by Scotts Miracle-Gro.  Richard Harris from Growing Hearts and Hands Community Garden may be arranging for volunteers from Alvis House to unload the soil donation from CleanTurn’s truck.  Otherwise, we’ll need flexible volunteers that day.  Then, on Saturday, April 27, Mari and I (and hopefully others) will be topping off our raised beds.  Once those beds are topped off, the kids can start their Spring planting (and I’ll put some cold-weather crops in our neighbor plot along the alley).

So, there is still lots to do at the SACG this month and we could use all the help we can get.  Until our prospective new gardeners fulfill their work equity requirement, we still have 3 raised beds and 2 regular plots available for gardeners . . . . .  Volunteers, of course, can help themselves to our free seeds, which after May 7, will be distributed from ReBuilding Together’s Tool Library.  Until May 7, other community gardeners are welcome to share in our FREE SEEDS.  Just stop by the SACG when I’m there this or next Saturday (weather permitting).    You do not need to make an appointment:-)

Now, off to turn my own compost before it warms up. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Buckeyes Pay It Forward on SACG’s 2013 Opening Day

We had a long and productive opening day at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden today, despite a few hiccups.  We were joined by dozens of OSU students as part of the Pay-It-Forward program.  We never would have accomplished as much without them.  We signed up four new gardeners today and had help from Brenda, one of the Franklin County Master Gardeners who helped us out so much during last year’s drought.

A successful day always begins with planning and supplies.  On Monday, the City Forestry Department dropped off a giant load of wood chips for our main activity on Opening Day.  (We then mysteriously received another truck load later in the week).   I picked up six free garden rakes and six shovels from Rebuilding Together’s tool library on Thursday.   While there I met the garden manager for City Farm who was dropping off and/or picking up supplies.   On Friday, I then picked up free water, a cardboard recycling container and trash bags, and  borrowed litter grabbers, neon vests and work gloves from Keep Columbus Beautiful (courtesy of a grant from Keep America Beautiful).  
Near the end of the day, I learned that 30 OSU students would be coming to help.  I was a bit panicked because I had only expected 5 to 20 and hadn’t planned on feeding that many folks. So,  I ran to pick up extra refreshments courtesy of the East Main Kroger’s store.  Then, even later in the day, I learned that our rototiller was not working and began a mad dash to obtain a replacement while the ground was still dry and tillable. (The tool library was closed until the next morning).  The president of the Franklin Park Civic Association tried to help and I made a few calls and sent some emails, but Saturday morning came without a replacement.  In the meantime, I sawed down some cedar boards to improve our compost bins, baked brownies, brewed some iced tea and made a few dozen chocolate no-bake cookies.  Finally, I packed up first-aid and other supplies into my car.

I was not the first to arrive at the Garden on Saturday.  Rayna and new gardener Sabrina were already there.  We unloaded my car, rounded up a few wheelbarrows and started spreading chips on the paths.  Gardeners began straggling in, including new gardeners Cassie, Neal and Chelsea.  Brenda then delighted us by coming to help, too.  Charlie helped us out a lot by strapping my wheelbarrow to the roof of his car and bringing it over to help us.   Mari came and dug up volunteer raspberry bushes, which we then transplanted along the new fence at the end of the day.

A large van of OSU students arrived.  The OSU students went to work on a few projects.  One group repaired a vandalized compost bin, then flipped the compost we had started last Fall and consolidated the compost into two (from three) bins.  Another group picked up litter around the Garden, another in the alley intersection near the Garden and another picked up litter in the Block Watch lot across the street (including cutting out some old wire fence with my bolt cutters).  One student took some Indiana limestone triangles donated to us last year by GreenScapes Landscaping Company and built a half-moon and full-moon inlay in the front Garden paths.  (I’ll have to post a picture later).  One group helped us to move the raised beds we built last year from the annex to the northwest corner of the Garden.  The rest of the group helped us to shovel wood chips and to spread them in the new raised bed plot, along the paths, along the fence line and in the space between the alley/Cherry Street and the Garden.  They also helped to dig up compost left from last year’s compost bins and transport it to the relocated raised beds.   A police officer even stopped by to express appreciation and encouragement for all of their hard work.

Frank and Barb came with another wheelbarrow, more litter grabbers and our ill tiller.  One of our new gardeners is married to a mechanic, who valiently tried to repair our tiller without success.  I had called the Tool Library first thing in the morning and it had a tiller on hand, but it was first come, first served.  We tried to call at this point, but kept getting voice mail.  Frank drove over to the library and returned with a giant tiller.  Success!  Then, Charlie, Frank and our new mechanic took turns tilling the Garden.  We have such great soil.

Neal ran over to Bexley to pick up four pizzas generously donated by Bexley Pizza Plus.  We gobbled silently because we were all pretty tired and sore by this point.  One of the neighborhood girls wandered in to help shovel chips. Then, some folks from the Growing Hearts and Hands Community Garden stopped by on their way home from their annual meeting (which had been held at Central Community House).  They admired our hard work and progress that morning and hoped to return to share in our bountiful supply of seeds.  They also generously offered to share Alvis House volunteers with us to help get our soil amendment donations (from Scotts Miracle-Gro) delivered later this month.

Most of the first group of OSU students left and were replaced around 1 by a second group.  Part of this group focused on picking up litter along Stoddart Avenue.  It was very surprising how much litter had gathered since our last work day in the Fall.  Another group focused on spreading wood chips along the fence and moving soil into the raised beds.  Some of the ladies helped me to improve the compost bins (by leveling one, adding slats and improving the gate).  They enjoyed learning to work with a drill.   Another group of us detatched the fence from the Annex and moved the posts and fence back to their original positions with a sledge hammer.  Then, some of the students helped to replant and transplant raspberry bushes. We moved and then put back  our twirling compost bin.  After realizing that not all three of our raised garden beds would fit in the northwest plot, we moved the last one to the northeast corner of the Garden.  Then, this group of OSU students had to leave.

At 3, I pulled bags and bags of last year’s Botanical Interest seeds donated to us so that the volunteers and gardeners could help themselves.  Marge from the St. Vincent De Paul Community Garden then stopped by to share in our good fortune.   We kibitzed a bit about grants, weather, volunteers, etc.

Barb packed up the shed and I packed up my car.  Kenaya and her brother Antoine then helped Barb and I measure and mark out the plots for the gardeners.  The kids desperately wanted to use the sledge hammer and carried it around the garden like it was a teddy bear.    A few neighborhood fellows then stopped by to share in our refreshments.

Most of us were very tired and sore by the end of the day.  One by one, the adult gardeners begged off.  The kids, however, were anxious to start planting.  Maybe tomorrow:-)   I still had to unpack my car when I returned home and will return borrowed tools on Monday.