Saturday, September 7, 2013

SACG Picked it Up Today

Today was a busy day at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden.  First, the gardener assigned to water and weed the food pantry plot for the month of September announced to me yesterday that it was inconvenient  for her to do that this week with her active social life and all.  Apparently, it was also too inconvenient for her to weed and water the flower beds as assigned in July.   So, she’s history and I had to come early this morning to water the food pantry plot.   It has only rained just over an inch in the past month and our soil is bone bone bone dry.   Even the peppers are looking peaked.  I don’t know why I get a few gardeners every year who think the chores are optional.  They are not.  We only have two rules: Be a good neighbor and don’t create any extra work or problems for me.  She violated both for the second month this season and I am not very tolerant of laziness.  As I explained to her, the plants would not be alive by the time it became convenient for her next weekend.  I’ll either take over her weedy plot for the food pantry or let a different group of the new neighborhood kids take it.

I had warned a different gardener that she was about to lose her plot if she didn’t come last weekend to weed and harvest.  The weeds in her plot were up to my chest and her food was rotting.  She didn’t come and so two neighborhood girls spent Wednesday evening weeding it, hacking out dead corn stalks (with rotting ears of corn) and thinning out the dying sunflowers.  They each took home a bag of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for their efforts.   They were very excited. One of them had moved into the neighborhood too late to get her own bed or plot and had been pestering me virtually every week to let her garden with us.  Now she can.

But not all was ugliness this weekend.   We participated in the PICK IT UP litter pick up with the rest of the City this weekend.  Most of our gardeners and three of the young men in the neighborhood walked up and down Stoddart Avenue to pick up litter.  Charlie also picked up litter in the alley between Stoddart and Morrison.    I fed them with lollipops donated by Christ Lutheran Church’s youth program and beet red velvet chocolate cupcakes that I baked last night with a beet from my SACG plot.   We also had water donated by Keep Columbus Beautiful.  I told them that they only had to pick up litter for 30 minutes to qualify for refreshments, but no one wanted to stop.  Even after we picked up all the litter between Main Street and Bryden.  I had to make them stop because I had too much work to do at the Garden (with watering, harvesting and hopefully beginning to plant fall crops).  There wasn't nearly as much litter to pick up as there had been last Spring.  That's nice. 
Except for Charlie, all the SACG gardeners stayed behind to garden.  Tom harvested potatoes.  Mari pulled out dying squash and aphid infested kale.   Neal mowed the grass last night and harvested tomatoes today.  He’ll be back tomorrow to clean up DeShaun’s plot and plant some fall crops.  Neal’s so funny.  This is his first year growing ever and he’s had a lot of luck.  He is also such a bachelor.  He apparently does not cook.  Instead, he takes the food he harvests to Ken Yee at Wing’s Restaurant just outside Bexley (where we met during March Madness last year) and Ken cooks him up something fabulous for Neal and his guests.   This is killing me.  We should all have such friends.

Zephyr found a screw driver today
Charlie gave Neal a bunch of his special peppers.  Apparently, Charlie didn’t realize that his chores last month included taking out the trash.  Sadly, I didn’t either and had inadvertently lead Neal to believe that was part of his chores.  So, I suggested that Charlie might want to share some of his peppers with Neal to make up for our collective failure to review the chore chart.  He didn't have to do it, but Charlie's a good guy and very generous about sharing his produce.

Antoinette stopped by to water her bed (where we had planted some fall crops on Wednesday).

I made our food pantry donation and then returned to harvest my own produce and do some planting.  The new girls across the street stopped by to watch me garden this afternoon.  The oldest was cheering at her first football game this morning and her entire family went to watch her. I still had a lot more work to do, but the OSU football game had already started and I still haven’t had anything for lunch. 

We were lucky to have three of the neighborhood boys help us pick up litter this morning.  Today was the day of the Children’s Parade, which Cathy from Urban Connections (and our Board) organized with Courtney from Central Community House.  Burt (from U/C) took a slew of the neighborhood kids (on bikes Ioaned by U/C) to the Parade.  So, the kids couldn’t help pick up litter.  They march from Miller/Keton to the Hot Times Festival in Olde Towne East.  However, two of the boys who helped us planned to go to Delaware County to some place with indoor trampolines and therefore couldn’t march in the parade.  Sounded fun.  The third had planned to march in the Children’s Parade, but had arrived too late.  We almost drove him, but . . . .

Somehow, someone is still getting inside the Garden to steal produce.  I haven’t figured out how yet.  Someone else took landscaping stones from one of our compost bins and threw four of them into our neighbor plot.  I can’t even begin to imagine why they would want to kill the kale and collard greens.  Then, someone pulled off all of the birdhouse gourds growing on our fence and bashed them into pieces.  Again, I cannot imagine why.   This was all very disappointing.  But overall, this has been a good week, so I’m not obsessing.

Well, I’ve run out of things to type.  I needed to write a lot so that I would have a reason to post all of the pictures I took this morning.  

I told the LSS Food Pantry that they might not see me for a few weeks.  My nephew has started playing football for Dublin Coffman and his games are usually on Saturday mornings.  His sister has also returned to playing soccer on Saturday mornings.  So, I have to go be a supportive aunt and put my gardening off until the afternoons for a few weeks.  Luckily, it’s Fall and it will be cooler. . . . and Faith Mission takes produce donations until 5:30 p.m. . . . .

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