Saturday, April 11, 2015

SACG Opening Day: Still Crazy After All These Years

Blue  Skies and Sunshine.  That’s what we had all day today when the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden opened for our seventh season of torturous, crazy, back-breaking work.   It certainly beats the frigid temperatures from just two weeks ago.   And, with four straight days of rain this week, our tanks were full, the grass was green, the daffodils were in full bloom, and the tulips are about to pop.

Sabrina and Amy
 I started off the morning picking up rakes, shovels and trimmers from the Tool Library of Rebuilding Together of Central Ohio. They are implementing a new inventory and card system, so it took longer than usual.  They also had new volunteers who had not yet mastered the system, etc.  I meant to pick up the tools on Thursday on my way to the monthly GCGC meeting (at American Addition this week), but got there five minutes too late.  Sigh.

Tom supervising youth crew
I headed over to the SACG and found Rayna there chatting with neighbor Rose.  
  While I unloaded tools and refreshments from my car, she unloaded tools, a wagon and a wheelbarrow from our shed.  I then went down to Urban Connections to pick up our lawn mower since the grass was getting pretty tall.   I texted Cathy about borrowing her wheel barrow, too.  Rayna and I then began shoveling wood chips (donated by Donley Tree Service) and dumping them on the Garden’s paths.  Our new gardener, Amy, arrived about the same time as a very pregnant Sabrina, Tom and Zephyr.  Amy and Sabrina spread chips which the rest of us shoveled into wheel barrows. 

Frank came with his wheelbarrow and went right to work shoveling and dumping wood chips.  There was a group picking up litter on East Main Street, so I ambled over to offer them some of our refreshments and found Pastor Brown, from next door J. Jireh.  He agreed that we could borrow their wheelbarrow, too.   Burt, from Urban Connections, came by with about 10 kids to help up shovel and spread wood chips.  The kids all have to complete 3 hours of community service this year in order to qualify for summer camp.  They ate us out of house and home;-) 
Burt and Frank
Burt also brought us a table to host all of the refreshments, including a box of cookies from Rayna and monkey bread from Amy.

I also had the kids and Burt empty one of our platform raised beds.  The adults got together and moved it over to the southwest corner outside the fence.  We plan to put our new picnic table next to it.  Then, Burt and the kids re-filled it.

Mari trying not to look tired
Rayna trimmed back raspberry  brambles back that we didn’t get to last Fall so that we could eventually turn our compost in the bins.  Amy and Sabrina then transplanted lots of raspberry bushes over to the southwest area of the fence.  Amy then weeded the flower bed to the south of our shed.  I didn’t even have to ask.

Sabrina also organized the guys into helping her straighten out one of the platform raised beds used by the kids.  (They are pretty heavy to lift . . . . . ).  

Zephyr King of the Hill in the morning
Lea and Zion came and went to work on the wood chip pile.  Hope and I spread landscaping fabric under the relocated raised bed and then the kids transported more
wood chips over there to surround it.   Mari came and helped to spread wood chips, and pick up some litter, too.    As  everyone started to fade into the background, Lea and the kids scraped the wood chips into a smaller and tidier pile.  We made greater progress on the wood chip pile than I thought possible.   I mowed the  lawn and then packed up my car and the shed and returned wheelbarrows to the neighbors who had loaned them. Zion and I also marked off everyone’s plots.   

What was left of the same hill at the end of the day
The girls helped me make a pile of extra bricks and other uniformly-sized stones that Frank and I will use to raise the height of our rain tank another six inches.  Then, I shooed the kids off so that I could pack up the empty containers that used to hold brownies, etc. and return Urban  Connections’ table. 

Lea planted a row of potatoes and I drove her and Zion back home.  I told her about our very first opening day in 2009 when we worked until after 5, got very sun-burned and gathered at my patio for margaritas before returning the next day to finish hanging fence, spreading compost and wood chips.

We had hoped to till the Garden this year, but the weather has not been cooperative.  Frank mentioned that the Tool Library wouldn’t even let him check out a tiller because of the mud.    Oh well, maybe next year.

Rayna making big plans and carrying raspberry seedlings
Rayna wants us to purchase some more compost to spread on the plots and to relocate the blueberry bushes to the south side of the Garden.  The raspberries have taken over the north side and the poor blueberries aren’t getting enough sun.  Also, once the blueberries have been moved, we can start having our chips dumped on that side of the Garden, instead of on the lawn on the south side.    I’ll have to see if we can recruit enough volunteers to do that in the next two weeks.   Otherwise, it will have to wait until Fall.
We still have four plots available for new gardeners who complete their three hours of work equity . . . . . .   At some point, if no one claims them, they'll be turned into food pantry plots.

No comments:

Post a Comment