Friday, April 25, 2014

One Less Groundhog to Worry About

Although I do not mention it often, the neighborhood near the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden has been overrun with groundhogs for a few years.   Truth is, they have been adorable to watch, move surprisingly quickly, and are not aggressive.   However, on the odd occasion that they made it into the Garden, they caused a lot of damage eating their way through our produce.  But that’s only happened a couple of times and I haven’t seen a single groundhog yet this season.  Our neighbors, however, tell us about more extensive damage that they have suffered and trapping them has become a common topic of conversation. (Eating them is also mentioned on occasion).    Groundhogs live under porches, especially of abandoned houses.  One even lived under our shed for a brief period.  One of their favorite hiding places was a large gap underneath the sidewalk across the street from the Garden which leads to the city storm sewers.   That gap was also alarming because it was big enough for a person to climb in and I put it on my list of places to hide with Tom Cruise in the event of a zombie or alien apocalypse.  Barb used to worry about skateboarding kids falling in.   Well, we no longer need to worry because the City repaired the sidewalk and filled the gap over our winter break.  This is a cause for celebration, (as is today’s overdue rain showers).

Tomorrow, the SACG will celebrate Earth Day by preparing our neighbor bed and food pantry plot, picking up litter in the neighborhood, mulching our fruit trees, cleaning out raised beds, transplanting more raspberry bushes, thinning and weeding our strawberry patch and planting flowers.  Last week, I picked up top soil and mulch from Keep Columbus Beautiful which had been donated to Green Columbus by Ohio Mulch.   I thought that I might be able to pick it up in one trip, but Ohio Mulch doubled its generous donation and I had to make multiple trips.   Green Columbus also arranged for the donation of Luna and Cliff bars to feed our hard-working volunteers, as well as gift certificates for a Chipotle burrito, Max & Erma dessert, Car2Go ride, Jeni’s, pizza, cookie, and a movie, as well as shopping bags, t-shirts and seed packets (i.e., peas, spinach, lettuce, beans, cucumbers, carrots, beets and collard greens).  Yesterday, I picked up litter grabbers and neon vests for our volunteers to safely pick up neighborhood litter.  Of course, we will need lots of volunteers to take advantage of all of these goodies and to help us to accomplish our ambitious agenda.

The Earth Day volunteers were extremely organized this year, which was attributed almost entirely to Danielle Allison.  Green Columbus volunteers spent two whole days at KCB in order to distribute supplies (which were already organized and segregated by work site).   Don’t they look busy?

    Another blessing this week is that Linda Duerk from Christ Lutheran Church also donated another giant bag of Botanical Interest seeds on Good Friday.  This year’s donation had lots of bean and lettuce seeds, but there were dozens of different varieties of seeds (including, for the first time, sprout seeds).   A few of us had much fun on Saturday going through the seeds for our own plots.  
For that matter, Rayna weeded her entire plot before Susan and I showed up last Saturday and then she planted lots of onions, garlic and lettuce.  Susan planted peas, lettuce and onions and I went to work weeding my bed, too, before planting a row of potatoes, transplanting a new yellow rose bush and helping the kids to plant.   Miss Mary came by and was joined by her son-in-law Kevin and a grandson to help her clean up around her raised bed and plant some collard greens.   On Sunday, Neal cleaned out his plot and let the kids water their beds again.  On Monday, Mari and John popped by in the morning to weed their plot and plant potatoes.  Curt and Charlie have completely planted half of their plot with their Spring crops.    Lots of work has been done and we haven’t even been open two weeks.

We will start working at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and will quit when everyone is too tired to continue.  That will probably be around lunch time.     I anticipate that we will have extra strawberry plants and raspberry seedlings (as well as seed packets) to reward our volunteers.  If other community gardeners show up around lunch time, I will be able to also share our seedlings and seeds and wood chips with you for your own gardens. 

 Be there or be square.

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