Political Commentary

Friday, April 6, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Opening Day; Seed Fair; Garden Orientations; When to Start Gardening; How This Place Works

Hello Gardeners,

OPENING DAY – Opening Day for both gardens will be Saturday, March 24. This is the official first day to work in your plot. Portable toilets will be installed at both gardens. The tools and garden carts are already out of storage at Eagle Heights, and they’ll be brought out at the University Houses Gardens that day. (The hoses and hose reels at University Houses will stay in storage until closer to the time for the water to be turned on.) Remember, water won’t be turned on in either garden until it’s warm enough that the pipes won’t freeze. (probably not until May.)

SEED FAIR – Our annual Seed Fair will be held at the Community Center, on Saturday, April 7, from 9:30am – 11am. This event is for our gardeners only, not for the general public. To get your seeds, you’ll give your name to the volunteers, they’ll check that you have a plot, and then they’ll give you 15 tickets. (Note: this is 15 tickets per plot, large or small, but gardeners with two small plots will only get 15 tickets.) Each ticket is good for one packet of seeds. We have a good selection this year – peas and beans, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, radishes, kale, chard, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, melons, herbs, and flowers. And lots more – maybe this is the year to try rutabagas? (or maybe not…)

You’ll also have the opportunity to ask gardening questions of two of our very experienced gardeners, and also to meet your Garden Committee Co-Chairs and learn about the Garden Committee. (See “How This Place Works” below.) And we will be selling row cover, a type of light fabric that protects your plants from insect pests. (You’ll have other chances to buy row cover later on, if you don’t want to get it at the Seed Fair.)

If you are not able to come to the Seed Fair, but you still want free seeds, email me, and give me a list of the seeds you want. We may already be out of some things, but I’ll gather what I can for you, and I’ll leave the seeds for you to pick up at the Community Center.

GARDEN ORIENTATIONS – We strongly recommend that all new gardeners attend an orientation to learn some of the basics about our gardens.  We have the following orientations planned for Seed Fair weekend. All orientations will start at the garden shed:
Saturday, April 7               Eagle Heights             11:30a.m.            Orientation in Mandarin
Saturday April 7                Eagle Heights            12:00 Noon        Orientation in English
Saturday April 7            University Houses Gardens          12:00 Noon        Orientation in English
Sunday April 8              University Houses Gardens          12:00 Noon        Orientation in English

If you are not able to attend any of these sessions, but would still like an orientation, please email me, and I’ll try to set something else up for you.

TIME TO START? - Spring is starting, but the ground in our gardens is still frozen. Even once the frost is out of the ground, your garden is likely to be very muddy. Digging a muddy garden is hard work and messy, and it’s also not good for the soil – it compacts it, which makes it harder for plants to send roots through it. An easy way to find out if your plot is workable is to grab a handful of soil, and squeeze it. If it forms a loose ball that easily breaks apart, it’s ready to be planted in. But if you’ve got a mud pie on your hands, you’re better off waiting. You can still pull weeds, and start deciding what to plant where, but it’s better to wait to do extensive digging. By the way, if you are pulling weeds and old vegetation out of your Eagle Heights plot, take them to the weed pile and dump them on the concrete slab. DO NOT DUMP THEM IN THE DUMPSTER.
HOW THIS PLACE WORKS – I’m the Registrar for the gardens. I’m a very part-time employee, who assigns garden plots, answers questions, and mediates disputes. I also send out a message once a week with information about events, answers to commonly asked (or sometimes never asked) questions, gardening tips, reminders about the rules, and links to recipes. We also have two very part-time garden workers. But we employees don’t run this place. Who does? Guess what – you do! Our gardens are managed by the gardeners. We have a garden committee that meets once a month to discuss issues, problems, and projects. Please get involved. We want and need your opinions and ideas. Be sure to stop in at the Seed Fair and meet Co-Chairs Ilana and Janet!
Happy Gardening (soon) and see you at the Seed Fair,

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