Saturday, March 31, 2012

Amazing and Exhausting Opening Day at the SACG

This was a day of superlatives at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden. Our core volunteers once again outdid themselves and are not done yet. In five hours, we put a thick layer of wood chips (donated and delivered by Tree King Services and Davey Tree) on our paths, around our fence lines, between the Garden and Cherry Street and between the Garden and the falling-down building next door. We transplanted flowers. We laid landscaping stones generously donated by GreenScapes to edge our 50-foot front flower bed and the entrance way.

We ate a bunch of pizza donated by Bexley Pizza Plus. We met new people who stopped by. We hooked up the rain barrels. We lined the paths with bricks and stones. We corralled errant strawberry plants. We harvested food and herbs that overwintered. Whew!

New gardener Joey seriously distinguished himself as a human machine. He was a non-stop energizer bunny who shoveled and dumped more loads of wood chips than the rest of us combined. He took virtually no breaks and was a credit to Americorps and Hands-On Central Ohio (where he is spending his Americorps year). Ok. He’s 20 years younger than most of the rest of us, but aren’t we glad to have him?!

Charlie continued his single minded focus in completing the edging of our front flower bed. I weeded some of the flower bed and transplanted volunteer flowers that were about to be mowed down with our beautiful new landscaping stones. Charlie set a straight line and then dug out a trench to place the stones, carried the stones to the front of the Garden from the back and then laid them. Don’t they look amazing? You can see why Charlie was Volunteer of the Year last year and will have the Magic Garden Gnome gracing his plot this year. Now we don’t have to worry about the lawn encroaching into the flower bed. AND we had exactly the right amount. Good job Bill Gearhart with your flawless estimation.

Fred mowed our lawn, shoveled wood chips and helped Charlie with laying the landscaping stones. This was quite a relief because the grass was 6 inches at this point. He even mowed the grass of the lawn on the lot of the falling-down buildings next door (not that we plan to make a habit of this:)

Rayna laid a line of donated landscaping stones inside the fence and then decided what was good for the entrance way was good enough for the entire Garden. She repurposed the bricks that fell off the next-door building and used them to line the rest of the Garden. Then, she decided that since I had thousands of volunteer daisies in my plot, that she would save them from getting tilled under this week by transplanting them into our entrance flower bed (where we usually have cosmos). I’ll pick up some Shasta daisies to interplant with them so that we’ll have daisies in bloom until the sunflowers come in during the late summer.

Mari spread wood chips and picked up litter around the Garden. Barb, Deb, Beth, and James shoveled wood chips and helped to spread them. Barb also thinned strawberries. Beth picked up and delivered our yummy pizza. (Needless to say, there were no leftovers). I transplanted some raspberry bushes, greeted guests (like Richard Harris from the Growing Hands and Hearts CG) and set up the rain barrels. Lucy played queen of the hill on our massive wood chip pile. Neighbor Rose came by and helped to shovel chips, too. (Why should the gardeners have all the fun?)

Ever cheerful Frank shoveled chips and will be setting up our gates and replacing the spicket on one of our rain barrels.

We’ve opened two weeks earlier this year because of the Easter Holiday. It was also a lot colder than usual (and that was incentive enough for us to keep moving in order to keep our body temperatures up). However, as always, it was dry. Unfortunately, the ground was still too wet to till. Frank and Fred will take care of that on Friday and then I will assign plots.

We are unofficially full at this point, but we may split some plots and are seriously considering expanding the fence westward. (We’re already seeking grant funding and in-kind donations to build three platform raised beds for our senior gardeners). However, the new regular beds will all be 5x5 raised beds. In addition, I am giving serious thought to reserving the new (regular) raised beds for our 4-H program instead of providing them to adults because we do not have enough money in the bank to expand to accommodate everyone’s interest this year. Sadly, I was not one of the winner’s of last night’s lottery:). Nonetheless, we’ll place names on the wait list. (Remember, we have people drop out every year once they get their hands dirty and we have some potential new gardeners who have not fulfilled their five working hour requirement yet).

We also have extra strawberry plants to sell -- cheap - to anyone who is interested :)

We were not the only ones working in the Stoddart neighborhood. To support the Morrison Hill and Franklin Park Area Block Watches, Urban Connections had about 15 volunteers picking up litter and clearing brush in the alleys between Morrison and Berekley and between Morrison and Stoddart.

Build a Bridge of Ohio, Org. prepared for us in advance as well by cleaning out their gutters so that we would not have to worry about too much debris getting washed into our rain barrrels and tank once we hooked them up this week.

We’re not done yet. We will be having another work day on Saturday, April 14 beginning at 9:30 a.m. to finish work we could not get to today before we left around 2 p.m. Be there or be square.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an example of a community that works together to build a healthy neighborhood. They look really happy together with those litter pickers in hand, ready to clean some streets! How lucky they are for finding each other! Let them be an example to other communities, advocates for cleanliness!

    Irma Metaxas