Peggy also announced that next year GCGC would be giving out several $200 community garden grants to those gardens that are unsuccessful in obtaining a City or Scotts grant. And GCGC will provide scholarships to the Conservatory's We Dig Ohio, community garden summit on March 12, 2016. (Thank you Bill and Fiona for moving the date up a month so that it will not coincide with the SACG's Opening Day). Admission is $60 and includes lunch and snacks.
We then opened the meeting to gardening questions so that we could share gardening tips with each other. I also shared African Marigold seeds that I had saved from the prior week. One of the early questions was about the difference between urban farming and community gardening because she had recently visited a "farm" that was smaller than some community gardens. My take: real farms aim to make a profit; gardens do not.
We then discussed hauling yard waste to Ohio Mulch or Kurtz Brothers (for free) and I mentioned that the Tool Library was giving away lawn waste bags and that we put non-compostable items (like tomato vines, stalks, tomatoes, etc.) in those bags so that they can be turned into compost by the City, Ohio Mulch or Kurtz Brothers. Someone said that they didn’t know what we meant by Kurtz Brothers (which, frankly, floored me). You see, area municipalities have been taking the leaves they gather from our curbs (and from our lawn waste bags) and putting them in giant (i.e., house sized) piles so that they can be composted. The City has its own composting facility at Jackson Pike and they treat the lawn waste with filtered human sewage (which amps up the nitrogen content) and sell it as Com-Til. It is not strictly organic, but it does magic things with plants. Golf courses use it and the City used to give it away to area community gardens. When the SACG started, the City used to give 15 cy. The next year it was 10 cy. Then it was 5. Now it is nothing. The City also used to let us drive to Jackson Pike and buy Com-Til at wholesale prices. We could load our pick up trucks or fill buckets or bags (which they would weigh). Not anymore. Now, we have to buy it in retail bags from Ohio Mulch or Kurtz Brothers. We can still buy leaf mold and compost at wholesale prices from Ohio Mulch or Kurtz Brothers. When the SACG broke ground, Kurtz Brothers donated 20 cy of compost so that we could spread three inches of compost on all of our plots. This made a huge difference for us in having a wildly productive garden. Later, they donated huge piles of it to FPC to distribute to area community gardens. Ohio Mulch has a similar donation program.
Commercial composters can create giant piles of compost, which generate the amount of heat necessary to kill microbes, diseases and seeds. We cannot do that with our small compost bins at the SACG. The heat from compost piles can generate enough heat to warm greenhouses in the winter. In fact, the Dispatch is running a video about how a Granville high school senior ran water pipes through their compost piles to heat the water that they use in the greenhouse to raise tilapia (a tropical fish) to feed the students in the cafeteria.