I know it’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to really chat about the garden. I have seen some of you around, but not nearly all of you, so I thought this would be a good way to get in touch and go over some reminder points about conduct in the garden in general, especially since we have so many new members.
First things first:
We have a board meeting coming up on Friday, July 15 at 5pm. Board meetings are open to all members and required for all board members to attend. This is a good time and space to bring up issues you may be facing and help come up with solutions.
Similarly, on the 15th, if you have not tended your plot appropriately, it may be reassigned. There are only a few plots that look really raspy, but it’s really important to note that when you let your plot overgrow, you are infringing on your neighbor’s space. Please tend your plots. Not only is it neighborly, it’s part of the rules on the contract you signed in order to be part of the garden. Please ensure that all of your growing glory does not spill into the pathways. And please, please, please be sure to keep pathways clear of pots, cages or other obstructions because many of us like to be in the garden either early mornings or dusk when the air is cool, but light is limited. I can’t tell you how many times I have tripped over tomato cages in the pathways. If anyone finds them in the pathways, please put them in the shed or discard them if necessary, but don’t be upset if this happens to your stuff because you didn’t put it away.
Speaking of the shed, it’s in a state of medium disarray. Please try to make best use of the space in the shed and organize things occasionally. I know it’s hard to keep it totally tidy while we’re in the middle of the growing season, but it can sometimes be very overwhelming to go in there. Try to use common sense and stack wheel barrows together to save on space. And just tidy up in general.
Also remember that there are still a variety of seeds that you are welcome to use in the shed. Don’t be shy! Use them! Similarly, if you collect seed, put a little in the shed for others to use. Try to remember not to save hybrid seeds because they aren’t dependable producers. Heirloom seeds and especially exotic or hard-to-find seeds are most welcome.
And just as a reminder: please do not use any kind of chemical-based product in the garden such as Miracle-Gro. I know it’s tempting, but please resist! I don’t think anyone has done this but I just want to remind you all that this kind of thing is totally unacceptable. Only use organic materials in the garden. Being so close to the river, everything we do eventually drains off into the river, so it’s not only bad for our soil, but bad for the wildlife that surrounds us and our waterways. If you’re unsure about a product, please ask one of the long-term gardeners. There is truly a wealth of information available to you if you just ask.
Similarly, there is some fish emulsion available in the shed for you to use. It has a two-year shelf life and what is in the shed is left over from last year’s purchase. Last Saturday, I went to the soil-building workshop at the Early Street garden in South Providence. The host said the best use of the fish emulsion is to put about a half tablespoon to a tablespoon of emulsion in a 32oz spray bottle and spray the plants every 2 weeks after you water (otherwise you wash it off the plants). It’s like a vitamin shot. She said it is also beneficial to water your plot with it, but the best use is to spray the plants with it right on the leaves. So feel free to use up what’s in the shed and we’ll get more next year.
There has been some thievery around the garden, and while my gut tells me that the gardeners are blameless, I feel it’s really necessary to reiterate that it is absolutely unacceptable to take anything from anybody’s plot without express permission from the resident gardener. The only exception to this is if something is overgrown into the pathways, and even then it’s kind of questionable. Use your best judgment, but never enter another person’s plot without permission. It’s simply uncool.
Do not weed plots without permission, even if the plot is totally out of control. If a plot is excessively weedy, please notify me by email or telephone (626-4548) and I will take care of it. That is my job and I have no problem attending it. Further, sometimes things that look like weeds are not, so it’s really unfair for someone to take it upon themselves to weed when there may be something left on purpose to go to seed for collection. Best rule of thumb? Mind your own plots.
If you go out of town, please let somebody know. There was one instance where a gardener left the country and I was prepared to give the plot away because it appeared to not have been tended. I don’t want to give your plots away, but I totally will if I have no idea what’s going on. That’s part of my job, too. So, please, if you go out of town let me know at minimum. I might even weed your plot for you. Maybe I’ll even water it! But at worst case, it won’t get reassigned and you can have a happy vacation without worry.
Be sure to lock up when you leave. We’ve come down a couple times and the gates have been open. With thievery (which I assume is from outside the garden), we might as well make ’em jump the fence. So please check all three gates and the shed before you leave and make sure everything is locked properly.
Thursday nights are the weekly collection for Camp Street Ministries. Please get in touch with Renee. If you have things you would like to donate. Be specific about what you have available for her to take to Camp Street.
Some of you were interested in the compost committee with Hannah Morini, and I’m going to assume you all got in touch with each other, but if there are any questions please be sure to let me know and I will do all I can to help get everything organized.
Finally, remember that Friday evenings (weather permitting) I am usually at the garden, from around 6 to dusk-ish. This will change slightly as the days get shorter, but for most of the summer these are the hours. I am happy to help you with any of your questions as best I can or direct you to someone who knows, if I do not. I don’t know much about flowers, so if your question is about flowers, I’ll probably have to point you somewhere else. Just fair warning.
The garden really looks magnificent and you guys should be really proud of how beautiful it is. We are lucky to have one of the nicest gardens in the city and it really shows this year. Thank you for all your hard work!!
k (and j!)