Tuesday, January 12, 2016

For Every Time There is a Season

Winter has arrived.  FINALLY.  Maybe some bugs will die in this sub-zero freeze.  However, I read an article last week that our wet December is a reliable predictor that we will have an extra hot July and August next year.  That’s important to know in January when we are ordering our tomato seeds (to get varieties that are bred for a Florida summer, instead of a Russian one).  There may be snow on the ground, but there is always community gardening activity even though we stopped tending our plots in November.

In time for December’s meeting of the Greater Columbus Growing Coalition, Straders had generously donated that week a truck load of gardening goodies.  In addition to dozens of bags of tulip bulbs (some of which I planted the following weekend at and around the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden), they donated lots of gardening art, house plants, gardening books, holiday decorations, giant charcoal grills, scarecrows, etc.   I picked up some garden art for the SACG and some books for our Free Little Library and our new gardeners.  GCGC met at the new Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory, which was very pretty.  The Board met in front of the fireplace before the members’ meeting. 

Some of the Strader's bulbs Susan and I planted last year
In addition to planting the tulip bulbs during the second weekend in December, I also picked up a box of donated books for our Free Little Library from Mike at Half Price Books.  It’s important that the neighborhood have plenty of books to choose from over the holiday break.  I also reinforced the library and touched up the paint. I also added some varnish to the sign on our neighbor bed.  Cathy had texted me a few days earlier that someone was digging near the Garden and I found that the water department had disturbed our new curb while looking for the water shut-off for next door.  Grr.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to fix it this Spring.    I wish that they had called me because I knew where it was . . . . .   I also found that we still had kale, chard and collards growing.  I took some home with me.

Last March
Strader’s Garden Centers made several more large donations throughout December.  They donated at least four trucks of poinsettias and a few Christmas trees in the week before Christmas.  This helps a lot of the urban church-sponsored community gardens decorate in time for holiday services (and other groups to decorate for their holiday parties).
In the meantime, I discovered that I like Brussel Sprouts after all.  My mother always boiled them and that makes them yucky.   My friend, Kim, roasted them and they were delightful.  So much so that I served them to my own family and will grow some of my own next year.  Who knew?

Guerilla bulbs planted last year
Rebuilding Together’s Tool Library has implemented a new fee system, which is a downer.   However, I confirmed that community gardens will not be subject to the new membership fees.  Whew. 
OSU’s Pay-It-Forward Program contacted me in December to offer a group of student volunteers in April.  So, even before the beginning of 2016, I already have a group ready to help us for our Earth Day Celebration.  Yea team!

And, we already have a new gardener ready to start with us (probably in April). 
I got our annual thank-you notes out later than usual this year.  Let me know if I missed you (because I didn’t have contact information for everyone who helped us this year).    However, one of our supporters responded to my lengthy report by offering to loan us his trailer to haul items next year (so that we would not need to rent a truck like we did three times last year).  I may take him up on his offer if I find time to locate some free manure compost to work into our soil on Opening Day.

Finally, I met an OSU employee who produced a you-tube video for OSU Extension on how to can tomatoes.  I’ve linked it here so that you can see Melanie’s beautiful kitchen and maybe preserve your own tomatoes next year.  I told him that I would do this weeks and weeks ago, but I’ve been so busy catching up on my job work and house work (including catching up my photo album for the first time in three years . . . ).

With any luck, our momentum will continue.  Our Board will likely meet next month to set an Opening date, etc.   Because we were so busy last year, I do not anticipate any major projects in 2016.