Saturday, April 5, 2014

T-7 to SACG’s Opening Day

Although it may not look like it now, the weather forecast is showing sunshine and blue skies for the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden’s Opening Day next Saturday, April 12, 2014.   That’s just one week from today.  We still have 2 plots left for new gardeners (and six raised beds).   We always have gardeners show up unexpectedly on Opening Day and a few people always seem to drop out or not show up.  So, it’s all good.  (If no one takes the plots, one will be dedicated to growing food for pantries/shelters and the other for the neighborhood kids).   Although Opening Day is not for another week, that does not mean that it’s been entirely quiet at the SACG.

Whole Foods Market on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington will be donating refreshments for our Opening Day volunteers this year, so we will be sure to eat well.   Even better, they are coming at the end of our work day to conduct a cooking/healthy eating demonstration (which means more free food and samples).

Sabrina at work turning compost
I stopped by the SACG last week to get the lay of the land and see what work needed to be done.  Believe it or not, there is spinach growing that the boys planted last Fall.  I also ordered and checked on our wood chips and made some arrangements for our opening day.  Our 2013 volunteer-of-the year, Sabrina, then unexpectedly reached out and reported that she would be returning to garden with us this year after all.  However, she and her family had planned to spend the weekend learning about earthships near Yellow-Springs and she wanted to get a jump on satisfying her work equity (instead of waiting for our make-up day on April 26).  So, she showed up this morning at 9 a. m.  and began the arduous task of turning the compost in our three bins.   That’s tough work, so it’s a good thing that it’s a little nippy.  She also wanted to clean up the beds.
She also helped me to repair the downspout and hook up the big rain tank.  I would have liked to have hooked it up before the three inches of rain we just received, but we are supposed to get more rain on Monday.  Hopefully, it will be enough to fill the tank before our Opening Day.  Then, we measured and marked off plots on the south side of the Garden.  We had to spread out the plots on that side last year when Beth & Mike left and no one wanted such a large plot.  That turned out to be too much work for some of our gardeners.  So, Sabrina and I marked them off to fit her in on the south side.  She had hoped to start planting this weekend, but the ground is too wet and cold.   She’s very glad that we will not be tilling the Garden this year because she thinks it’s too hard on the ground. We found a worm while moving some of the border stones.
Sprouting potatoes

I also conducted a brief inspection of the Garden to identify work projects for next weekend.  I then ran to Dill’s Greenhouse (off I-33 just north of Canal Winchester) to pick up some supplies, like seed potatoes (red, Yukon gold and Kennebec) and onion sets (red, white, yellow and Vandalia).  In my opinion, Dill’s always has the best bargain on seed potatoes and onion sets.  A half-peck of seed potatoes is $3.99.   Two cups of onion sets are just $1.29.    I’ll spread out the potatoes in a single layer in a shallow box lid and put them in a sunny and unheated room in the basement.   They will begin spouting in short order.  Then, I cut them in halves or thirds and wait a day for them to harden off before I plant them in a trench.    A half-peck is way more than I can grow for myself, so I always have enough to share with other gardeners.  Sabrina is going to pick up some purple seed potatoes from Lowes to exchange with me.
Dill’s is also having a perennial flower sale this week and had lots of cold-season crops (like cabbage) for sale.  Their perennial sale is 10 for $10 for 4 inch pots.  Of course, the monster perennial sale will be next weekend at DeMonye’s Greenhouse (near the airport).  I’ll go on Friday morning to get the best selection.  They will have a crazy number of varieties to choose from, including popular herbs like thyme and lavender, and a ton of flowers.  A full flat will be $15.99. 
2009 Opening Day Volunteers

Half Price Books is also donating children’s books this Wednesday to replenish our free little library at the northeast corner of our lot.
We will have our work cut out for us next Saturday at the SACG starting at 9:30 a.m..  Many hands make light work.  This is what we have to complete: 

2010 Opening Day Volunteers

               1) Spread wood chips (donated by the City of Columbus) on our paths, around the fence rows and in the space between the Garden and the alley aka Cherry Street (to keep down weeds).   If Krystle can help, I’ll pick up extra wheel barrows, rakes and shovels from the Tool Library on Thursday so that we’ll have capacity for capacity for extra volunteers.   It would be good if someone can maintain our half-moon stone patterns near our gates.

               2) Repair the fence in the northwest corner of the Garden and reinforce the fence around the Garden.  Again, if Krystle can help (with her hubby’s truck), we’ll pick the fence up on Thursday.

               3) Repair and reinforce some of the raised beds.
2011 Opening Day Volunteers

               4) Transplant raspberry bushes along the fence line.

               5) Clean out the flower beds and neighbor plot.

               6)  Hook up the smaller rain tank;

               7) Pick up litter around the Garden and in the neighborhood (i.e., along Stoddart, along the north side of East Main Street and in the alleys).

               8) Possibly mow the grass.

               9) Prune our rose bushes

2012 Opening Day Volunteers
               10) Plant some perennial flowers that I will inevitably pick up at DeMonye’s.

               11)  Possibly plant some cold crops (like kale, collard greens and cabbage) in the neighbor plot.

               12) Repair/replace the rain barrel by the shed.

               13) Smooth out the wood chip pile;

               14) Possibly start cleaning out our own plots.

               15) General tidying of the Garden area before the weeds and grass obscure everything.

 Be there or be square.  The more the merrier.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to everyone who started SACG! This morning I found the Garden, got a look at my raised plot, met & chatted with some really nice people, & picked up a little trash and dead plants & weeds. Sat on my Roller Walker and breathed in the fresh air and sunshine while munching on a good oatmeal peanut butter cookie and banana. What a way to start s Saturday Morning! Mary T