Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Blustery End Predicted for the SACG’s Closing Day

In just a few days, we will be calling it a year on the 2015 growing season.   On Saturday, we will be putting the rest of the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden to bed for the winter.  Because of the early freeze, I’ve already started on pruning back the flower beds and some of the raspberry brambles, cleaned out most of the food pantry plots, emptied the tall tank and lowered the water level in the big tank.  On Saturday, beginning at 9:30, we will be addressing the following:

·        Cutting the raspberry brambles back to the fence (and removing the dead branches completely).  Put the brambles into lawn waste bags.  Keep an eye out for praying mantis cocoons so that we can put them somewhere safe to hatch next Spring.  Hopefully, no one will cut the brambles on the outside of the fence back too much because we will need those brambles in the Spring to keep thieves from climbing over the fence.   We’d like the Garden to look somewhat tidy while we’re gone over the winter.

·        Pruning back the flowers.  Put thick stalks into lawn waste bags.  Annuals (like petunias and marigolds) can be pulled out of the grounds, but perennials should just be cut back to a couple of inches above the ground.

·        Cleaning up the herb garden plot (by cutting back oregano, etc.)

·        Cleaning out the remaining two kids raised beds.  One of them (with tomatoes) can be bagged.  The other (with kale and greens) should be harvested for our food pantry

·        Mowing the lawn

·        Taking down the front gate sign and gate

·        Taking two buckets of water and pour them in the turning compost bin on the south side of the Garden.  Turn the bin a couple of times to mix everything up.

·        Spreading shredded leaves over some of the plots.  Capital University has granted me permission to take the shredded leaves that they have deposited on their curbs.  We could use 30+ bags.  If someone brought a tiller, we could till the leaves into the soil.  Some of the plots have lost their organic component and the soil has become very hard.  Working in shredded leaves will improve the soil for next  Spring.   Because we are not predicted to get much snow this winter (which protects the soil from erosion), a layer of shredded leaves and/or straw could protect the soil as well from blowing away during the freeze and thaw cycles over the winter.  If you have a bagger on your lawn mower, please use it to shred leaves, put them in bags and bring them to us on Saturday morning.  All leaves are good (except for walnut tree leaves), but maple leaves are the best because they are very thin).  Do not bring them after noon on Saturday because no one will be around to spread them.

·        Emptying the remaining water out of the big tank. 

·        Pulling any obvious weeds and cutting back any weed trees (like mulberry and Chinese elm)  that are growing in our fence rows.

·        Harvesting kale, lettuce, collards, parsley, chives, mint, cilantro and sage for our final food pantry harvest.  We’ll also pull the older plants out of the ground and put them in the compost bins.  There are some smaller kale and collard seedlings that we’ll leave for the mild winter.  They’ll likely live through the winter and start growing again in the Spring before we return.  Last year, we harvested and donated about 50 pounds of fresh greens and herbs on our final work day.  We’ve become infested with aphids in the past few weeks, so I don’t think we’ll have quite that much on Saturday.

·        Picking up and disposing of litter that has blown onto our lot.

·        Tidying up the shed.

·        Pulling out the stakes and cages on the north side of the shed, discarding the rotten ones,
locating the box of trash bags that I think Ezra buried over there, restacking the stakes, putting the cages on top and covering it all with the blue tarp to protect it from the elements over the winter.

·        Pull the mint and other weeds out of the strawberry patch.

·        If we have time, we could transplant some perennial flowers to better spots and divide some of the overgrown mint and asters, etc. 

This is a lot of work and will take all of our effort.  It will be sunny and dry (but a little cold and windy, so dress appropriately).  I’ll bring donuts and
apple cider and some extra tools (from the Tool Library). Feel free to bring some treats of your own as well as pruners and rakes as well as any friends.  With any luck, we will finish around lunch time (or at least by 1 so that you can watch the second half of the OSU game).   Many hands make light work.  The more the merrier

I’ve attached copies of group pictures from some of our closing work days in the past for grins and giggles.

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