Sunday, September 28, 2014

Girl Power Rules as Crusaders Help the SACG

Ladies of Phi Sigma Sigma after morning work
On Saturday, the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden benefitted from the assistance of six Capital University students on their Crusader Day of Service.  Six ladies from the  Phi Sigma Sigma sorority helped the SACG by splitting into three teams (from 9 until noon) which:
  • picked up three bags of litter along Main Street, Stoddart Avenue and the alleys between Main and Bryden and Fairwood and Morrison;
  • watered our neighbor and food pantry plots twice,
  • cleaned out the area near our shed where we store our tomato stakes and cages,
  • weeded the space between the alley and the Garden,
  • pruned and bagged sunflowers and other debris I left along the Garden and our paths,
  • pruned the scrub brush in the Block Watch lot across the street,
  • helped me to transplant greens, cabbage and chard, and
  • helped me to harvest for the Lutheran Social Services food pantry leeks, tomatoes, peppers, collards, kale, beets, broccoli and beans.  
Because of their help, I was also finally able to mound the sweet potatoes in the food pantry plot.    It was not all work, however.  The stake team added a bit of excitement by uncovering two baby snakes and a few spiders, which lead to quite a bit of screaming.  The litter team refused to be discouraged by some passersby who returned to mock their litter remediation efforts.
I tried to teach them a few things while they were at the Garden, such as how to create proper mounds for sweet potatoes, etc. and how to harvest seeds for lettuce and cosmos flowers.

Yesterday was also the first day for our new WEP volunteer, Wayne.  He called me on Friday and reported for duty on Saturday morning.  Although I didn’t think he initially knew where we were located, it turns out that he was born and raised in the house next door to the Garden.  We are hoping that his parents may still have pictures of the building that used to be on the Garden’s lot.  He was amazed by the changes he saw at the SACG and the neighborhood.  He spent his morning cleaning up the area around the compost bins and tossing the decomposing material in the bins.  He also helped prune the scrub brush across the street.

I was disappointed with our food pantry harvest.  We regularly have thieves enter the Garden over the back gate (and exit over the front flower bed fence) and steal our tomatoes and peppers.   They also finally found our zucchini plants, so I pulled those plants and composted them.  It’s too much work to water them in this drought if someone else is going to steal our fruit.   To give you and idea of how extensive the thefts are:  Only three of us are still growing tomatoes.  Everyone else has pulled their tomato plants. 
  We donated 205 pounds of tomatoes last year and 263 pounds the year before.  This year, we will be unlikely to reach 130 pounds.  Similarly, this year, we won’t reach 10 pounds in peppers, but donated 46 pounds last year and 67 pounds the year before that.  It’s difficult to remain motivated to do the hard work that comes with gardening when there are not corresponding benefits from the harvest.  It’s especially hard to be generous with folks who come by and ask for tomatoes.   I’ve had to remind a few gardeners to direct visitors to our neighbor plot.  Gene from the LSS Food Pantry asked me if I would give up.  The neighbors have the same frustrations from living in the neighborhood and they don’t have the choice of giving up, do they?

BTW, for those of you who are following my butternut squash saga, it is still there. . . . . .

Wayne's Fabulous Work
As I was driving away from the Garden, I stopped by Urban  Connections where Bert was corralling volunteers.  They were getting ready to take the neighborhood kids apple picking at Lynd’s Fruit Farm in Pataskala.  Bert was concerned about crowds, but every weekend has been nice this month, so it might not have been too bad.

Our September drought is continuing until mid-October.  As mentioned last week, we’ve barely received a half inch of rain in the past THREE weeks and it’s not expected to rain again for the next week.  When we transplanted collards, I dug down 10 inches and never found any moisture in the ground.  It’s really, really dry.   I’ve gotten a little annoyed with the area weathermen for celebrating the blue skies.  Finally, Ben Gelber ran a story on Friday about how this drought will adversely affect the Fall foliage because the leaves will drop shortly after turning and the colors will be muted if we do not get some rain asap.  The trees are very stressed and it’s been very difficult to sprout seeds for a Fall crop without rain.  One of our gardeners emailed me this morning to report that both of our tanks are now dry.    The best thing I can say about our drought is that we don’t have to mow the grass or weed as much and I love the cool nights of Fall.
Finally, kudos to the City for finally finishing the sidewalk project at Stoddart and Main by spreading top soil around the new sidewalk.  I suspect that they've also seeded it, but nothing is going to grow there until it rains . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment