Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rush to Plant

The crazy weather this month (with hot weather at the beginning of the month and cool weather at the end) has delayed the summer planting until this weekend at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden.    We’ve even got a wait list for plots based on the lovely Spring weather we have experienced spontaneous volunteers showing up to help.

Wednesday was a busy day. Susan’s friend, Mary, had dropped off a few boxes of seedlings she had started: bush pickle cucumbers, summer squash and giant sunflowers.  On Thursday, Strader’s Garden Centers donated scores of flats of lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli to GCGC.  So, I drove over and picked up some flats for the SACG.

Robert Seed from Keep Columbus Beautiful called to report that he had a Bexley High School senior who needed to complete his community service (before graduating) and was at the SACG.  I put them to work  keeping Columbus beautiful weeding along the alley until I arrived.   His father was there to help him (to do the work, not the hours).  While his father helped Mari amend the soil in her plot and to plant, the student mowed the grass in our lot and in the next door Block Watch lot.  (Like me, Frank  -- who usually mows that lot every week -- has been otherwise engaged with a hospitalized parent).  We then went to plant summer squash and cucumbers into the neighbor plot.  So, the SACG will look neat -- and beautiful --  for the Memorial Day weekend.  Of course, I invited them to return to help anytime the spirit moved them.

Stan came by to mow the grass, but since it was ably accomplished, he stayed to turn compost in our western bin.  While we were there, we chatted with the high school volunteer about his future plans and upcoming Gap year.  Laconic Stan then waxed eloquently about the virtues of being a union plumber.  I have to agree that there is a shortage of skilled tradespeople.

As I was leaving, Kinte pulled up to mow our grass and wasn't too disappointed to see that it had already been accomplished.

On Friday, John helped me transport my ladder to the SACG to re-check and clean out

the downspout drains which had clogged with the extraordinary amount of tree pollen we’ve received this year.   Pastor Brown gave me a hard time (joking, of course).  Fortunately, there was still water in the west gutter to drain into the tank when I cleared the strainer.  I also brought three gallons of water with me to test the downspouts and ensure that they were emptying into the tank.  While I was up on the ladder, I also checked the volume in the west tank (which was only about 100 gallons).  Because there clearly was not enough water to sustain us over the long weekend (which will probably be the busiest planting time of the year), Barb agreed that we could take water from the Block Watch tank (which Rain Brothers filled this week) until it rains again and puts water in our tank.  Frank and Barb had also built a new platform for the Block Watch tank to increase the water pressure.

While we were there, John had been on vacation and was able to check on his plot,

where his tomatoes and peas had sprouted.   Neal stopped by later in the day to set up his hardware and to plant most of his plot.

Sadly, Tony and Kaci still hadn’t touched their plots since joining the SACG and they were both weedy jungle oases in a Garden of well tended and weeded plots.

When I arrived on Saturday, Sabrina and Rayna had already been there for at least an hour.  Someone had also stuffed our Free Little Library and even left pictures around the base of it and the nearby cherry tree.  I had filled the truck of my rental car and part of the back seat with trays of seedlings and came prepared with a 15-point to-do list.   I put trellises in my plot, the food pantry plot and the neighbor plot and planted tomatoes in all of those plots, transplanted my overabundance of mint to points around my sprouted zucchini and squash, pulled the spearmint growing up in the cat mint, weeded the southern flower bed, pulled a few weeds out of the center flower bed (and watered some of the sunflower seedlings that are growing up under the abundant daisies), set up a trellis for my pole beans, watered everything in my plot, planted peppers in my plot and the food pantry plot, planted 1-1/2 flats of lettuce in the food pantry plots,  re-organized the shed, and pruned a volunteer tree. 

I also helped some neighbor girls weed their bed and plant tomatoes, watermelon, peppers and cucumbers.   (They watered it themselves).    Of course, they immediately deserted me when I mentioned there were ripe strawberries in our strawberry patch.  They picked them all, took them home to wash and eat them and then came back to finish working in their bed.

Before she left, Sabrina watered the food pantry plot.  She had completely filled her plot and was contemplating whether she could handle more real estate with a baby on the way.    We also discussed the benefits of lemon balm and mint in deterring mosquitoes (which are apparently abundant at her new apartment).  Rayna was busy using our compost to improve the soil in her plot.  Like me, she has a tray of home-sprouted peppers for her plot.

Stan came by, rolled up our extra fence/trellis, improved the soil in his plot and planted some tomatoes and lettuce.

Lots of people stopped by on their way to the Asian Festival at nearby Franklin Park Conservatory.   One church group took a tour of the Garden and gave me a bottle of water and brown papper lunch bag (which they were distributing throughout the neighborhood).  I finally left after 5 (after harvesting some dill and lettuce from my plot).  It was a long day and I never got around to planting my pole beans or planting peppers in the food pantry plot . . . . . . There’s always Wednesday.

Next Saturday, I’ll be planting my eggplant and basil, planting cosmos and zinnias, and starting work on our herb garden.    Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the monsoon that is currently in Nebraska and Oklahoma finally makes it hear and fills our tanks (and our neighbor’s barrels).

Monday, May 18, 2015

If Gardening Were a County Song

I sent an email tonight that I want to write a county song titled: Into Every Life Some
Rain Must Fall, But Why Can't it Fall Into My Rain Barrel?   The gutters keep clogging with the freakish amount of tree pollen we’ve received this year and, despite receiving more than 2.5 inches of rain in the past 10 days, very little of it is making it into our rain tanks. Sigh.  Then, Frank and I have been stretched thin by family emergencies and my travelling garden shed (i.e., my dirty Jetta) being severely damaged by another driver.  Through all of this, however, our May flowers look spectacular as ever.

Our pretty chives with evil bindweed
On Monday, we received 1.5 inches of rain.  What joy. What bliss.   We need not water for a week.  However, none of it (or at least very little) made it into our rain cisterns. 

On Wednesday, our new WEP volunteers did not show up.   Barb came to supervise in case they did.  It turns out that she used to work in the hospital wing where my father is staying for the next two weeks, and so she gave me the scoop.   She was weeding away .

On Friday, Barb and Frank put tree frames around our sweet cherry trees across the
street in the Block Watch lot  Cathy took me in her SUV to Straders to exchange our new Montmorency cherry tree (which never leafed out).  Apparently, this was a common problem with their Montmorency cherry trees this year.  There was only one left that had leafed out and we took it back to the SACG to put in the hole that had already been dug.  Like me, Cathy is hosting her mother this week too.

Melinda emailed me that afternoon that she and her son Daniel spent quite a bit of time fixing our rain flow problem.  They tested and unclogged and felt the water was properly flowing from the third floor gutter to the second floor gutters and unclogged the downspout screens.  I was so relieved.  Melinda and her Vineyard pals were planning to finish filling their raised bed garden next door today.  They also created a number of baby pool gardens, too.

On Saturday, I was pretty much alone at the Garden.  I weeded, planted tomatoes, and checked the gutters. The flexible downspout to feed the rain barrels had fallen down and so I put it back.  The tanks still sounded empty, but what do I know?  I planted celebrity, amish, roma and Ohio Belgian tomatoes in my plot and the food pantry plot.   I noticed that Kaci and Tony still hadn’t weeded their plots and their weeds were getting pretty high (and therefore, the weed roots are getting pretty deep).   I left extra tomatoes for the gardeners to plant in their own plots.

Neal stopped by to figure out what he was going to buy at  Dill’s.  When I arrived this morning, I saw that he had spent Friday digging out what has to the be largest stone every excavated at the SACG.  He has what used to be my plot in 2009 and 2010.  That stone was so large that Dwayne and I gave up on it and let it be.  Not Neal.  He thought that he could turn it into a makeshift bench.  Barb suggested that he paint his name on it.  I laughed really hard when I saw it and I really needed a laugh after this week. 
We decided that it wasn’t going to rain until the evening.  I went to Ohio Mulch to buy some Com-till for my own house.  I was only able to piddle around for about an hour before it began pouring down rain.  Poor Neal!

Neal also brought a number of gardening tools, like garden rakes, forks and hoes) which had been donated by Kim Yee.   Our shed is now pretty much overflowing with tools.  I need to organize them better.

I returned this evening when I saw a rain storm heading for the Garden.  I waited for two hours and the storm never came.  It just drizzled and made me look like a drowned rat.    I spent my time weeding, planting leeks (that Neal had picked up), planting some zinnias and cosmos in the front bed and transplanting volunteer sunflowers.   However, I was able to confirm that water is draining from the third floor downspout and is running over the gutter just above the big tank (instead of into the downspout and into the tank).  Sigh.    Luckily, it is supposed to rain again in a week, but this will be a giant weekend for planting. I have beans, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, flowers and peas that demand to be watered.   Grrrr. 

Oh well, at least I have lots of fresh flowers in my plot, my yard, my house and my
father’s hospital room.

Also, I received a correction from an earlier post.  John was not the only SACG gardener to make mint juleps for the Kentucky Derby with mint from our Garden.  Amy sent me a picture of her cocktail as well.  With the Belmont coming  up, I’ll need to research what the state cocktail of New York is.  . . . .

Sunday, May 10, 2015

More Good News/Bad News

This has been a week of ups and downs at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden.  It’s been hot and dry, but two new gardeners joined and we had visits from old friends.  My home azaleas are in bloom and the unseasonable heat is causing other flowers to bloom early.  Even my bok choy is going to seed early and it's only about three inches tall!

On Sunday, Kaci and Stan began putting in their work equity to join the Garden with Rayna there to help and coordinate.  They turned more compost from our bins, demolished the former wood chip pile, stacked the mulch bags, rolled up the old fence, watered the fruit trees and blueberry bushes, watered, and picked up litter.     Kaci brought her sister to help.  I built a compost sifter at my house in order to sift the decomposed compost from the sticks and un-decomposed leaves, etc.  Frank and Barb had built one to sift the soil in their plot back in 2009 and I’ve always wanted one.  I brought it with me Saturday.

What's left of the wood chip pile
On Monday, I rode over the Garden on my bike.  John had spent the afternoon preparing his plot and planting.   He left a cigar crater in Tony's plot to mock him for not making any progress in his weedy plot.   Contrary to what I reported here last week, John did remember to take mint home with him for a Kentucky Derby celebration (where mint juleps are the drink of choice) and Ken Yee at Wing's made a mint mash of them for juleps all around.   Meanwhile,   Frank had dropped off two of our old rain barrels for our new neighbors.  I got into the shed to get the hoses and other supplies and dropped them off.   Because I was already there, I also watered.  I got home just as it was starting to rain.  Happily, the rain was a slow drizzle, which is great for seeds and seedlings.  Sadly, we only got a half inch of rain and it was barely noticeable in the rain tank or my rain barrels.

The 2015 wood chip pile in March
On Tuesday, I dropped by the Garden to see if the rain made a dent in the big tank (which it hadn’t).  However, Charlie had dropped off my old rain barrel and I dragged it from behind our shed to the west side of our new neighbors.   He thought the Garden “looked great.”  He loved our new rolling composter and noticed that we had moved the blueberry bushes and added new fruit trees.   He's been volunteering to help Marge at the St. Vincent de Paul pantry garden near the intersection of Livingston and James Road.

On Wednesday, Kaci finished her work equity with help from her friends Angela and Ruby. They prepared a row for planting and watered the food pantry plot.   Kaci’s mother lives in the neighborhood and told her how to join after seeing our lawn sign (making it a good investment). When they were finished, they sorted through our seed stache to see what she should grow.  I prepared a bean trellis for the food pantry plot and planted some kale seeds in that plot.  I also weeded and watered in my plot and the food pantry plot.  Amy was there aggressively weeding the southeast flower bed.   (You can always tell a real gardener from a pretender by how aggressively they weed;  real gardeners are compulsive and cannot help themselves.  You can see them bend over and pull weeds no matter where they are).   Neal stopped by to weed his plot again even though he really hasn’t planted anything yet.

On Thursday, I attended the monthly GCGC meeting, which was at the Fulsome & Pine nursery near Orient.  GCGC members could purchase a flat of any 12 3-packs for just $12.  I picked up a flat for myself (of mostly flowers, like impatiens, petunias, and portuculas) and flowers and vegetables for the Garden.  Dr. Darraugh from CLC Labs was our featured speaker.  Dr. Darraugh speaks to the GCGC every year about the importance of good soil to growing plants.  In fact, he was the featured speaker for the very first GCGC meeting I attended back in 2011.  CLC Labs tests soil from all over the world for nutrients, etc and helps landscapers, homeowners, cities, farmers and gardeners improve their soil for its intended purpose.   CLC gives a price break to area community gardens, will speak with you personally about the test results and recommendations and generally reviews test results of a few gardens at the GCGC meeting.   Sadly, we didn’t have access to an overhead projector, but he made a few educational points for us:

·       There is such a thing as too much compost.  In addition to providing valuable nutrients for the soil, compost helps soil retain moisture like a sponge.  If there is too much compost, the ground stays too wet.  Of course, I doubt that there is such as thing as too much water for most tomatoes . . .

·       Soil should be 25% soil, 25% compost and 50% air.  Roots need oxygen and if the soil is too compact or wet, the plants will suffocate.  Half of the air pockets (i.e., 25% of the total) will create space for water so that the soil will eventually be 25% each of soil, air, compost and water. Clay soils are too compact to create air spaces and should be improved with compost.

·       Over fertilizing plants with phosphorous  and potassium can result in plants being unable to absorb other valuable and necessary nutrients.  So, less can be more.

·       Many folks confuse manganese deficiency with iron deficiency. 

·       Com-Til is a great fertilizer is you are worried about lead contamination from prior demolition of houses or buildings which had lead paint or pipes, etc.  The sewage component of this compost apparently binds up the lead.  Lead is a naturally occurring element, but is elevated in urban gardens because of lead paint and car exhaust, etc.  As a result of potential lead contamination, many urban gardens use raised beds.  You can also get the soil tested for lead (which costs more than a nutrient test, but is not prohibitively expensive, like arsenic tests).

·       He is not a fan of pulverized top soil because, among other things,  it does not leave enough space for air pockets.

·       Limestone sand and many types of compost raise the pH of the soil, while peat moss and silica sand (like for swimming pools) will lower the pH.

Dr. Darraugh will be returning for the June GCGC meeting as well.  This time, there will be a projector and he will review with us the results of recent community garden soil tests and discuss more common improvements that can be made to the soil.  Sadly, the meeting ran late and I missed the few minute of The Black List.  Grumble.

On Friday, I mowed and planted flowers at my house.  I tried to reach our newly assigned WEP volunteers without luck.  Frank and Barb installed tree boxes around the peach and other trees on the Block Watch lot next to us.   They also mowed all three lots, even though it wasn't their turn at the SACG (due to my being able to reconfigure our chore chart with the addition of FOUR new gardeners).

On Saturday, I arrived a bit later than usual and found Amy and Sabrina already hard at work.  Amy again rode her bike to the Garden and weeded the northeast flower bed.  She told me that thieves had returned to the Garden to steal our bagged mulch (donated by Scotts) and there was a bag laying by the compost bin.  Before I left for the day, I carried the bag over and mulched part of a flower bed.  I also reinforced the fence in Kaci's plot (where brambles are not very thick and the thieves have been breaking bushes and fence to climb over).   The heat has freaked out our flowers.  They think it's June and have started to flower early even though their growth has been stunted from the time of year and lack of rain.  So, we will have short purple salvia and daisies.

Sabrina told me that her husband was not being transferred (which would have meant they would be moving out of the county and leaving the SACG).   Sad news for them, but great news for us.  She was weeding and watering the food pantry plot and picking up litter around the Garden.  We're all having trouble with our lettuce crops because of the heat.  The only lettuce which is doing well is the lettuce I planted at home in March (or volunteered) and transplanted from seedlings I started in March.  I almost wished I had picked some up for them from Fulsome & Pine.  No worries. Tom picked up some for their plot at DeMonye's.

I planted pole beans, and mustard greens in the food pantry plot.  I also planted asparagus beans in my plot and prepared two rows for cucumbers and squash (using my new compost sifter).  When Tom and Zephyr arrived, we borrowed the Alexander’s heavy ladder to check the gutters next door and put in downspout/gutter strainers.  Daniel told me last week that he thought the back gutter needed cleaned out (since we could see things growing out of it and it was still leaking/dripping water days after the last rain) and he would do that.  So, we kept the ladder until he and Melinda were to arrive at noonish so that they could use it.  

Pastor Brown saw the ladder and wondered where it came from.  He loves our new picnic table and asked where we got it.  Home Depot -- Courtesy of the City and Rebuilding Together.

Susan stopped by to donate some children’s books for our Free Little Library.  She was recovering well from her surgery and getting mentally prepared for a summer of additional treatment.  She was delighted how well the Garden looked and missed being with us.  Next Year!!!  We went to see Ms. Dee’s kitten, Cookie, who needs a new home, but Cookie wasn’t feeling very social.

Another fan of the Garden stopped by to retrieve our extra raspberry seedlings.  I hate to see them go to waste and have already killed a dozen because we didn’t have anywhere to put them.    Only one of them had flowered (showing the berries that he could have this year), but the rest will grow and give him berries next year. 

Melinda and Daniel arrived to build their rain barrel platforms and water their seedlings.  Daniel decided it would be easier to clean the back gutter from the roof and didn’t need the ladder.  I went home to cool down a bit (since it was excruciatingly  hot when the sun was out) and planned to return after they finished building their platforms so that we could return the ladder to the Alexanders.    However, the ladder was gone when I returned and I couldn’t initially find Daniel.  Panic!  It turns out that Jason noticed I had left and came back to retrieve his own ladder.  Oops. 

Neal had been back to again weed his plot.  Neal always comes at the hottest time of the day because he loves to be outside when it’s hot.  However, it was too hot for even Neal, so he left.

I planted flowers in the flower pots that St. Vincent de Paul pantry donated to us in 2011.   I then watered a few things in.   It was bearable when we arrived this morning because of the cloud cover.  However, with the sun bearing down, I found myself with sunburned arms and legs and a sun damaged face.    Ugh.  Then, Mother Nature has mocked me several times as thunder storms have tracked just a mile or so east of us last night and AGAIN this morning.  No rain for you SACG or Bexley!   There was wet pavement and even rain puddles on the Alum Creek bike trail this morning.   Grrrr.   We desperately need rain to fill our tanks and barrels and water in our seeds.  Seth emailed us this week that the City will give us one free fill-up, but I’d like to save it for the dry and dog days of summer if we can . . . . .

This week, after the cold front passes on Thursday, we will be planting our tomatoes and peppers, etc. I also hope that we can pick up our Kurtz Brothers top soil donation from the City and will be exchanging our dead Montmorency cherry tree at Straders.  It never leafed out like our other new trees.   Our first Montmorency tree looks unbelievably healthy and farm girl Rayna has volunteered to prune it.   Over the summer, we will need volunteers to help stain our picnic table and raised platform bed and paint our shed.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

SACG Works Hard During Derby Day and Derby Week

Frank -- the master of all he surveys
We’ve had a busy week at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden.  Our big tank has been raised by six inches (which makes it far easier to fill our watering cans) and we’ve been able to put some of our home-raised compost to use.  The weather has also warmed up enough for me to finally set up my rain gauge, which means I'll be able to start reporting on annual neighborhood rain fall starting next week.

Monday’s Work Day.  On Monday, we welcomed two new gardeners, Tony & John.  I recruited Tony in January while watching the Buckeyes’ national championship game (with my knitting) at Wing’s, east of Bexley.  (Wing’s is also where I recruited Neal a few years ago while watching Buckeye March Madness basketball).  As everyone knows, all I ever talk about these years is the SACG.  Wing’s has the nicest and largest public restroom in Columbus and is, by itself, worth a dinner at the restaurant just to check this out.  Neal eats at Wing’s virtually every week and takes his fresh produce there from the SACG so that Ken Yee (the owner) will cook or make him something special.  Ken, Tony and I kept an eye out for Neal on the television because, unlike us, he was at the game.  I’m giving Tony a hard time for not showing up for our opening work day, but he didn’t put 2 and 2 together (about us and the SACG) until we were celebrating Earth Day and he happened to drive by.  Neal tells me that Tony is quite the chef and used to own his own restaurant.   He wants a plot to have something to do with his kids.

John hard at work
Neal recruited John over brunch last Sunday.  John was going to start a vegetable garden at the side of his house, but was concerned about shade.  Of course, Neal convinced him to check out the SACG instead.  He and Tony also know each other (and live on the same street), so they have plots next to each other.

Tony and John helped me (with very, very close supervision by Zion) move the tank, put some large landscaping stones (which had been generously donated last week by GreenScapes Landscaping) on the platform and then reposition the tank.  Frank had fixed the spicket last week.  Before raising the tank, we could only fill watering cans half-full  while they were on their sides.  Being able to fill them to the top means fewer trips to the tank from our plots.   Even with only an inch of water in the bottom of the tank, it was very heavy.  Tony tipped it forward and a bunch of black gunk came out (showing how disgusting all of that bacteria and dirt is that gets washed into the tank with every rainfall over the past five years).  Tony and John then carried all of the remaining stones back to the alley, where we will use them to build our new curb.  Sadly, we have not gotten any measurable rain since Monday and it is still very empty.  Pray for rain everyone. 

Tony then turned the material in our western compost bin into the middle compost bin (and found several snakes in the process) and brought a half cubic yard of compost into the Garden for us to improve our plots.   John hoed a food pantry plot (which sounds easier than it was considering how dry the ground is becoming).   Neal stopped by and Lea cleaned out the rest of her plot. I helped two of the neighbor girls to start planting their raised beds, and assemble a pea/bean trellis (with help from Doug from Urban Connections and his tiny daughter).  I forgot to take a single picture.  Sigh.  

Saturday.  Despite my best efforts and organization, I made very little progress on my to-do list.  I know that none of you are surprised (because I never seem to make much progress). 
First, I discovered to my delight that Frank had reattached the repaired door to our
Free Little Library.  So, I immediately refilled it with books I’ve been hauling around in the trunk of my car. 

Second, I’ve declared war on bindweed.   This is the weed that virtually consumes our garden, paths, benches and our fences every year.  It’s a close relative of morning glory (with similar flowers and leaves).  It spreads mostly by its roots, so it’s advised to dig them out instead of just pulling the visible vine out of the ground.  It loves sun and climbs up our flowers, beans and tomatoes (as well as our fences) and covers our paths.   I circulated information about it from Penn State University to our gardeners last week.   I also weeded and watered my plot, where I discovered that my potatoes are already pushing through the ground.  I kinda weeded the herb garden.

Third, Melinda and a friend from next door came by to liberate some of our overgrown strawberries.   We started on the strawberry plants outside of our bed and worked our way in to thin out our strawberry bed.  They then took these seedlings to their new community garden next door to start their own strawberry patch.  We always need to thin our strawberry patch every year and have taken this opportunity to help other community gardens (like Highland Youth, Morrison Hill and Growing Hands and Hearts) start their own patches.  They also planted carrots.  I also sent them a few clumps of chives.    In return, Melinda gave me a bag of coffee grounds (which are very high in nitrogen and are welcome in compost bins everywhere). 
However, their water source has not been solidified yet.  We barely have enough water to maintain the SACG from our two tanks.   We’ve run dry twice since the 2012 drought (when we ran dry several times and I still keep a lawn waste bag in the shed and in my garage holding dozens of liter and gallon jugs so that I can bring water from home if needed).  We ran dry in May 2013 (when I arranged for our one free fill-up from Rain Brothers that came with our loaned rain tank from the City) and in September 2014 (i.e., just last Fall), when Seth arranged to put 200 gallons in our big tank to tide us over until it rained again.  

As faithful readers know, we started the SACG with four rain barrels donated by Rain Brothers in 2009.  We moved them to the west side of the building when we bought our first rain tank in 2010 (with a grant from the City Health Department).  When the barrels proved inadequate during the 2012 drought, the City loaned us our 350 gallon rain tank.  In turn, we loaned one of the rain barrels to Healthy Hearts & Hands community garden and put one behind our shed (to collect rain water off the shed).  We had been storing the remaining two under the BTBO back porch, but moved them to the Carters’ for storage when Ms. Anthony put her building up for sale.  (One of the barrels used to be behind the shed and has a broken spicket, which Frank intends to replace).  We’ll be loaning them to our new neighbors until they figure out whether they will tend their garden with the city water spicket on the east side of their building (like all of the other church-sponsored community gardens I know) or get their own tank which can share our downspout or one of the other two unused downspouts on the building).   This is a bad time of year for any garden to be without water.

Fourth, John came to prepare his lot for planting.  He hoed it and worked in some soil amendments (donated last week by Scotts Miracle-Gro).  He had volunteer pansies in his plot, which he rescued to replant at home.  I also sent him home with chives to replant.    We've got more chives, oregano and mint than we know what to do with.
Fifth, John also helped me to reinforce our fence with extra fence stakes, which Rayna liberated last week when she removed part of our fence running parallel to our neighbor’s new fence.  Disappointingly, someone had tried to break into the Garden over the last week and steal our donated mulch and soil amendments.  They pushed the fence down along the alley (near the compost bins) and broke some of our raspberry brambles and a wooden fence stake in the process.  John pounded a large steel stake in that area and reinforced another one.  I weaved more brambles into the fence to make them think twice before trying to climb over it.  We similarly reinforced the fence in the front where the thieves had pushed it down last year over the flower bed.  I encouraged John and everyone else to take some mint home to make mint juleps while watching the Kentucky Derby.  I think he forgot . . .   I'll be pulling and composting a lot of that mint because it is taking over the flower bed . . .

Barb and Frank stopped by.  They have built wooden edging for all of the fruit trees and installed the first three with our sour cherries.   I noticed that someone has broken off the lead branch off of our newest Montmorency cherry tree!  The nerve!  Why???   Barb and I have very different gardening styles.   She’s very neat and likes neat lines while I am not.   They also expressed appreciation for Kinte (who can be reached at 406-9528)  stopping by to mow our grass and part of the lot next door so that he could give something back to the community.
Fifth, I planted two rows of cabbage, broccoli, herb and lettuce seedlings in our food pantry plot and herb garden.  I started the seedlings at my house in March.  No one seemed interested in them at the SACG, so they’ve been put in the food pantry plot.  I used our new compost to improve the soil in those two rows.

I also chatted with Ms. Dee's landlord.  He is trying to find a home for her 14-month old adorable black and white female kitty, named Cookie.  She's beautiful, short-haired, housebroken and very smart.   Let me know if you can give her a loving home.

Broken tree branch -- Why???!!!
I finally left just after 3.   Another potential new gardener contacted me on Friday about joining.  Rayna agreed to help her put in her work equity hours today (Sunday) since I was unavailable.   While I was thinning the strawberry patch, a neighbor on Morrison drove by and asked about also joining.  He was too busy to stay then and put in his work equity, but said he might be able to do so Sunday, if I called and reminded him.  So, hopefully, he will be helping Kaci this morning. While this is good news, I’m a little stumped whether I can create six hours of projects on short notice.   With two new gardeners, our food pantry plots will go from 400 square feet to 200 square feet.    Less work for me . . . . .