Tuesday, March 1, 2016

No Fooling: SACG To Open for Eighth Growing Season on April 2

In like a lion and out like a lamb?  Last year, March entered like a lion and ended like a lion (covering us with snow).  Today, it’s not so clear because it’s lamb-like in the morning and lion-like at night.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed because we are planning on opening for our eighth growing season on April 2.  Gardeners who are interested in reserving their own plot to grow their own vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers should complete, sign and return an Application/Agreement along with $10/plot (preferably by check made payable to the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden). Families in the Stoddart Avenue neighborhood are eligible for a full scholarship if the fee presents a financial hardship.

Gardeners’ participation is subject to the SACG Garden Rules as well as some rules by the City of Columbus (prohibiting, for instance, being in the Garden at night, and bringing alcohol onto Garden property, etc.). Gardeners are also encouraged to donate a portion of their produce to area food pantries and shelters, like Faith Mission, Lutheran Social Services and the Salvation Army.  To date, we have donated over 2,930 pounds.

Joining the SACG is not terribly time consuming, but Gardeners are required to help set out the Garden on Saturday, April 2, 2016 (with a rain/make-up date on Saturday, April 9, 2016) and to close the Garden (on Saturday, November 12, 2016). Gardeners must also volunteer for three chores to perform for one month over the summer (like watering flowers, tending the food pantry plot, pulling weeds in the paths, mowing our lawn, picking up litter, etc.)  Between the chores and keeping your plot planted, weeded and watered, you should plan on spending on average an hour each week at the Garden during the growing season.

We will start working at 9:30 a.m. on April 2, 2016 to spread wood chips on the garden paths and around the fence rows, spread compost on the plots, and till the ground (weather permitting), mow grass, transplant raspberry bushes, and hang gates and our sign. The more the merrier because many hands make light work. You need not reserve a plot if you would just like to volunteer to help.   Refreshments will be served (and you should feel free to bring some yourself to share).

Gardeners may begin planting as soon as the ground is tilled and staked out.   I have already started sweet potato slips.  I’ll be starting tomato and pepper seeds next weekend and will share any extra seedlings with gardeners come May.  Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing-to-Green Program has also donated  seeds for direct sowing.

So, if you or someone you know likes to get your hands dirty and grow your own food, you are welcome to join us at the SACG.  Plots will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis, with preference being given to gardeners from last year who volunteered at the opening and closing work days.   Even before March 1, we've had two new prospective gardeners express interest in joining and nine former gardeners in returning.  So, snooze and you lose.  When the Garden is full, we will put names on a wait-list (and we ALWAYS have people drop out by June).

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