Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Preparing for Local Foods Week

It’s Local Foods Week in Central Ohio and the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden will be participating on Saturday morning by opening our gates for visits and questions by visitors and by holding a bake sale.    I attended a presentation on Good Agricultural Practices at this month’s GCGC meeting last week.  Also, we have new locks and new tools for our shed.

OSU Extension is coordinating a celebration of Local Foods Week in Central Ohio.    Part of this celebration involves a no-charge tour of area community gardens on Saturday, August 15 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., including

·        the SACG,

·         the Peace and Plenty CG behind New Life Church in Whitehall at 4295 East Broad Street,

·        St. Vincent de Paul pantry garden at Wellesley and Livingston just east of Bexley,

·        Highland Youth Garden in the Hilltop,

·        Awarak Garden on North Fourth,

·        Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden on Brentnell,  and

·        Bibleway SKIP Gardens in the Hilltop. 

This would be a good time to see the wide-variety of styles of area community gardens.  Also, the SACG will be holding a bake-sale to feed our tourists.  This will include Cathy’s famous strawberry cupcakes and some chocolate zucchini muffins.

Last week, I attended the monthly GCGC meeting at Christ the King Catholic Church near Bexley.   While there, I unexpectedly ran into an old friend from my Appalachian high school who was now living near German Village and starting a community garden in her neighborhood.  Her brother taught me to drive in reverse with a stick shift.  It’s a small world.  Marge and Paula had been very busy hosting the GCGC meeting and supplied a hearty buffet, including shredded barbeque chicken.  They had already put in a full day of work by hosting a funeral wake earlier in the afternoon.  The meeting program was OSU Extension’s Mike Hogan talking about Good Agricultural Practices – i.e., growing food in a healthy way so as not to make people sick from, for example, listeria.  He had a powerpoint, handouts and quick pacing.   Of course, he never answered my question about how to sanitize our cistern tank water.  Sigh.  However, he impressed on everyone the importance of washing our hands and our produce before we eat it.

We have had a lot of activity at the SACG since the beginning of the month.   Our hero of the week is Ken Turner.  Ken is an area landlord who has never gardened with us.  He saw my plea for help with our recurring thefts on NextDoor and volunteered to help.  He suggested that we add several locks to our shed to make it more time consuming to break in.  He even donated and installed a monster lock this week.    It was a complicated operation, but I’m sleeping better knowing that it is on our shed.
Also, Bill Dawson from Franklin Park Conservatory emailed me about an area gardener wanting to donate some new hand tools – like the ones we had stolen.  Hope Phillips donated brand new tools (still in their clam shell packaging) to replenish our shed because all of our hand tools had been stolen last month. 

Ezra is still volunteering at the SACG as part of the Work Experience Program and making my life easier.  He spent all of last Wednesday and most of Saturday watering our food pantry and neighbor plots.  The water pressure on our big cistern is ridiculously low (even though it is full). We can’t afford to empty it at this time of year to inspect and repair it, so we have to stand forever waiting for our watering cans to fill up.   So, Ezra figured out on his own that to make the best use of his time, he would weed our path while waiting for me to refill my watering cans.  However, he lost his mind during the last 45 minutes of his shift.  He began putting the weeds into our trash can “because it was easier.”  Sigh.    Cathy’s husband, Jason, fixed our lawn mower, so Ezra was also able to mow our lawn this week (so that we won’t look too shaggy for the Local Foods Week tour.

My visitor du jour on Saturday was Mike from Four Season City Farm.   They have several community gardens.  The one on Linwood was getting a late start for the season and needed a water source.  The City and Tool Library have run out of funds to purchase a new community garden rain cistern, so he had stopped by to see if we could help.  I loaned him the rain barrel which we have used to harvest water off of our shed.   Because the shed is so tiny, it takes forever to fill.   We almost never use it to water our plants.  Instead, it seems to be perpetually empty because the area homeless use it as a water source for drinking and bathing.   Although it was far smaller than he needed, he returned a few hours later to accept our offer.   I explained that we will need it to be returned when he has found another alternative.

The neighborhood boys have never returned to tend their plot after planting.  Some of the girls have occasionally watered it and picked a few of the ripe tomatoes.  The girls have been pretty good about tending their plots this year, although one group let their plot get so weedy that it choked out their carrots and then they picked their peppers seedlings along with the weeds.  This last week, they mysteriously came in and picked an armload of greens with which to make a salad.

Saturday was a long day.  I arrived at the SACG around 8:45 to find Ezra had already arrived.  I put him to work mowing our lawn while I watered my plot.  I also saved seeds from two arugula plants, pulled bind weed from the fence, transplanted pepper plants, hunt squash bug eggs, and pruned weed trees that were growing up in our fence line before I started harvesting (which seems to take me 1.5 to 2 hours). The pole beans continue to hide in unusual places, which can make it difficult to find all of them.   I finally got out of the Garden after 2 p.m.  Because it was so late, I took our weekly donation to Faith Mission.

Rayna stopped by to harvest and perform some light weeding.  She had a lot to get done before she starts her new job on Monday.  I hadn’t realized that school was starting this week, which seems so early compared to when I was a kid.  We never started before August 21.   Neal also stopped by to harvest and planned to return.  Amy had planned to stop by, but her husband was injured during Pelotonia and ended up in Grant Hospital.   He was released later in the day.
Although I have yet to lay eyes on him, our possum is still helping himself to tomatoes in my plot.  I found several half-eaten tomatoes.  This always makes me sad.  

The aerial photo is the Google maps picture of the SACG, which seems to have been taken last September or October (based on what is there and not there).     We also have a few sun flowers.  We usually have LOTS of sunflowers and we usually have TALL sunflowers.  However, with our cloudy summer, our sunflowers are stunted and some of them did not make it into June.  Our eggplants are also suffering.   I have a few Asian eggplants doing ok at home, but only one of my Asian eggplants have produced at the SACG and none of the Mediterranean plants.   

This week will probably focus on weeding because we received almost an inch of rain yesterday.  I imagine that last night's rain also exploded some tomatoes and caused our beans to triple in size.   I also hope to start planting our fall crops.

No comments:

Post a Comment