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Archive for March, 2010

Our garden helps support Malachi’s Storehouse, a food pantry located at Saint Patrick’s Episcopal Church across from Brook Run Park. Our conservative goal? Donate at least 20 percent of our garden’s total harvest to the food pantry. Our ambitious goal? Donate ONE TON. Achieving this goal is actually possible if we reach beyond our fence and into our community. Click here for more info about the Ton for Hunger iniative. Spread the word!  Click here for our garden’s long-term donation goals.

Our garden’s current food pantry projects include:

  • Six team-tended plots
  • Two club-tended plots
  • Two potato bins
  • One strawberry bed
  • Two herb planters

Want to contribute? Here are some options:

  • Donate the excess harvest from your personal plot or home garden to the food pantry. Email us for drop-off information.
  • Join the food pantry team and help maintain our charitable garden projects.  See below for details.
  • Volunteer at Malachi’s storehouse on Wednesday afternoons, which is when they distribute food to economically stressed families. They could use a couple extra people each Wednesday for two hour shifts between 2:30 pm and 6:16 pm.  (Choose any two hour stretch of time that works for you.) Contact Mr. Rene Herrera, who manages Wednesday operations, at 678-773-4075 if you’d like to help.

After our garden opened in September of last year, we were able to grow, harvest, and donate approximately thirty large salads and a handful of root crops in a few short and chilly weeks. Now that spring is popping open blossoms and warming the soil, we’re excited to resume our weekly contributions to the pantry and working towards our long term donation goals. We made our first donation of the year today, so we’re already six family-sized salads closer to ONE TON!

Ways to Get Involved with Team Food Pantry: (Contact Pattie Baker, the team leader, to participate.)

  1. Choose one of the six food pantry beds to mulch once a month.
  2. Help harvest Tuesday mornings at 8:30 am.
  3. Bring donated food home to wash, package, and then deliver to the pantry by 3:00 pm on Wednesdays.
  4. Help separate seedlings whenever you have spare time. (The radishes need thinning now!)

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Daisies in the Garden

Daisies in the Outdoor Classroom

Today we welcomed a group of Daisy Scouts to our community garden. During their tour, the girls were drawn to the plots lush with cool season veggies. They examined the budding fruits of strawberry plants, baby carrots freshly unearthed, bolting broccoli, yellow blooms of the plant used to make rapeseed (or canola) oil, and the many other things growing in our plots. The girls next visited our compost cages and learned a little about the circular nature of composting: a cabbage leaf decomposes into nutritious soil, and the soil is then used to grow a nutritious cabbage. Composting, they decided, helps make the world a better place, and that message was the focus of today’s Daisy adventure. After their tour, the girls ventured over to the pavilion and outdoor classroom where they planted peas in organic soil mix in bio-degradable pots, which they took home to either add to or start their own vegetable gardens. We hope the Daisy’s enjoyed their visit and earned their pink badges. And we hope that our garden, one plot at a time, is making the world a better place.

Would you like your Scout troop or youth group to visit our garden? Let us know! We are interested in connecting with all age groups in our community and developing education programs. Want to join the education team? Sign up!

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Thanks to Heyward Westcott for donating and installing our new garden sign!

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Last Saturday, a group of enthusiastic members and visitors of all ages filled the garden. People shoveled, planted, mulched, built, and of course, did a whole lot of chatting. If you stopped by the garden last weekend, you undoubtedly felt the positive vibe too!

Flower Beds in Progress

Flower Beds in Progress

FLOWER GARDEN.  A group of volunteers prepared the raised flower beds that line the front fence. They covered the bottom of the beds with heavy paper to deter weeds, filled the beds with topsoil, and then amended the soil with compost. Karen Converse designed the flower garden, and the next steps are to mulch the path to obscure the cinder blocks and then plant flowers! Members and volunteers will plant perennials in the main bed and children will be invited during Lemonade Days to plant annuals in the cinder-plots.

Future Pumpkin Patch

Future Pumpkin Patch

PUMPKIN PATCH.  The excitement of Saturday’s flower bed project inspired Bob Lundsten to break ground on our future pumpkin patch. The soil for the patch has been worked, amended, and staked off, but the ground still needs some help. Do you have a roto-tiller to lend the garden for a day? Email us if you want to get involved in this project.

New Teepee

One of the Cub Scout Teepees

CUB SCOUTS.  Wolf cubs roamed the garden on Saturday. The boys from Scout Den 15 built three new teepees for our garden. The teepees will be used to support vining veggies, such as green  beans, tomatoes, and guards. Click here for a story about this project and other Saturday activities.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH.  A representative Jewish Family Career Services stopped by last weekend to see our garden and discuss the possibility of forging a relationship with us. Their organization works with a group of developmentally challenged adults who have shown interest in outdoor activities. We are exploring the possibility of integrating this group of developmentally challenged adults into our garden community by setting up a border bed for them to maintain. We will meet again with the JFCS in the next week or two to discuss the details of this possible relationship. If you’d like to learn more or join the discussion, please email us.

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A group of citizens led by Susan Farrar is in the process of opening a community garden in Henderson Park, which like Brook Run Park, is DeKalb County owned land. The location for their community garden is on a parcel of land in Henderson Park that has not yet been developed and for which a master plan is under way.  Last month, the final version of the master plan, which includes their community garden, was presented at a public meeting where it was approved by those in attendance.  Hurray!

A message from Kathy Gannon regarding Henderson Park’s Community Garden…

We Need Your Vote for Fruit Trees for county parks.  With the help of Parks and Recreation a group of citizens from Henderson Park submitted a grant to Edy’s for the “Communities Take Root” program that awards orchards to community groups.  Henderson Park is not large enough to handle all 100 fruit trees so if awarded the grant, the trees will be divided between Henderson Park, DeKalb Memorial Park, and Fork Creek Mountain Park.  Please help our parks win an orchard by casting your vote for one of the parks at Communities Take Root. You may vote as many times as you like, but only once per day.

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Should we open our gates to more folks by offering a new level of membership for container plots? Think of it as high-density gardening. We could map out spots around the inside perimeter of the garden for large containers and charge a lower annual fee for members who use those spaces. Pattie Baker suggested this concept after talking to a visitor who’d strolled over to our garden from the dog park. It’s a way to invite in people who want to participate in our garden community, but don’t want to maintain a full-sized plot. It’s also a way to include folks on the waiting list who don’t want to wait for a full-sized plot, those who have mobility issues who might find the bending and tending of a larger plot difficult, and those who want a lower cost of entry to participate (both for membership fee and cost of materials) in the garden membership.  We strive for as wide a range of inclusion as possible, and we believe this option will help us meet that objective more fully. 

THE BASICS:   New members would provide their own containers that measure 24 inches in diameter. (This pot is large enough to grow pizza toppings: a tomato vine, a pepper plant, basil, and a handful of green onions and garlic.) The membership fee for those who use the container plots would be $25 annually, and these members would enjoy all the same privileges as current members, such as invitations to social events, access to classes/workshops, voting rights, etc.

We could begin with roughly a dozen spots to test the idea. If it works, we could add a few more container plots, and if it doesn’t, we could use the space for our expanding food pantry projects or sharing gardens.  The two containers that we have already added to the garden are growing herbs for the food pantry.

What do you think? Please comment on this blog post, join the discussion on our social network, or send an email to the board. Please contribute your thoughts before April 1st.

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Cannas, Black Eyed Susans, Lantana, Mums… Let’s plant flowers before Lemonade Days!

THE DESIGN.  Karen Converse, who’s working towards master gardener certification, designed a flower garden for the raised beds that line the front fence. She collaborated with fellow members and avid flower gardeners Tracy Gilchrist and Angela Minyard on the selection of plants. The design relies on low-maintenance, drought tolerant, deer resistant perennials in the main beds and colorful annuals for the cinder-pots (the holes in the cinder blocks.) Additionally, the look of the cinder blocks will be softened with a heavy layer of mulch and creeping plants.

Do you have flowers in your yard that you plan to divide and share? Email usWe’re especially looking for healthy Rudbeckia “Goldsturm”, Yarrow “Coronation Gold”; Purple cone flower, Bath’s pinks (gallon size chunks or larger).

THE DIRT. We will amend the topsoil with compost from DeKalb County and river sand and pro-mix that we’ll order from a local landscaping company. We could use big chunks of cardboard (refrigerator boxes, TV boxes, etc.) to line the bottom of the beds to prevent weed growth. Email us if you have cardboard to spare or can spare a little time to help prep the bed.

THE DIG. We need a few hands and trowels to help plant the perennials in the raised beds the weekend before Lemonade Days, but we’ll invite the children who visit during the festival to plant the annuals in the cinder-pots. Email us if you’d like to help plant the perennials.

THANK YOU…

  • Dunwoody Garden Club for a generous donation of $300.00 for our beautification project
  • Bill Grant Homes for two truckloads of topsoil
  • Bill Lichirie for over 200 cinderblocks

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