Archive for June, 2009

Taking a Breath…

We’re taking a well-earned “breather” this weekend. There will be some individual projects going on, of course, but no big group push.

Wood Chips
As Kris noted in her email the other day, the city delivered a final truckload of wood chips. We can take the opportunity to add another layer to our paths, and there were a few thin spots. And there are some other projects around the neighborhood that will take some, so they will all get used.

Everyone is ultimately responsible for watering their own bed. But we are a generous group and sometimes a gardener will be watering and will water a neighbor’s beds if it looks like it could use a drink. These raised beds do dry out quickly! If you do not want anyone else to water your bed, please post a little sign in your bed saying “please do not water,” and I’m sure we will all comply.

Vacation Help
Please feel free to ask your fellow gardeners, or call Jan or Kris, or post something on the blog if you need someone to look after your lot if you go on vacation. We’re all ready and willing to help!

Upcoming Events
The garden is very popular! We have been asked to participate in a number of events coming up. Please let us know if you can help or have ideas:

Skyline Music in Kadish Park
Tuesdays, 5:30-8:30pm
July 7 – Aug 11

We have been invited to highlight the gardens during this time. It would be great to have a few gardeners around in the garden to answer questions and tell interested people about the gardens. Very informal. Andrea has made a display board of photos we can use.

We do want to pick one night of Skyline to have as many of us present and offer a salad bar from the garden that we can sell (as a fundraiser) to folks. We will have to decide on the best date.

Thursday July 23, 7PM
“Promise to America”
Documentary Film Will Be Screened in the Park

This is a collaboration between the Young Non-Profit Professional Network, COA and Riverwest Health Intitiative to promote safer neighborhoods. This is a 1-hour documentary highlighting a Milwaukee Mom’s journey to the Million Moms March on Washington. There will be activites and a drum circle. We have been invited to be a part of this event.

Friday Aug.7
Summer of Peace

In the park all day and we will be collaborating with a few other urban agriculture folks on a healthy eating/ urban gardening area for this event. We have also been invited to participate in a “Peace Parade” in conjunction with this event.

Art Opportunity – Masks and Puppets for Parades
We have an opportunity to make some masks and big puppets that our group can use in parades to promote our garden and urban agriculture in some upcoming parade events.

Check out the new page in the right column about Puppets & Parades.

Little Seats For the Beds
We plan on moving some of the smaller boards that were left over from construction out to the garden so people can place them along the width of the bed to sit. If you see some out there, feel free to use them.


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First Harvest

On the last day of spring, we have our first harvest in the Victory Garden. Will brought a salad bowl and vinaigrette to the pot luck on Saturday, and made a fresh salad from his mesclun mix greens and sliced radishes. Living food...

On the last day of spring, we have our first harvest in the Victory Garden. Will brought a salad bowl and vinaigrette to the pot luck on Saturday, and made a fresh salad from his mesclun mix greens and sliced radishes. Living food...

Wood chips: DONE! Seventy-six garden beds: DONE!

What a spring we have had! We have a few amenities to finish up, like the sandbox and a burlap bag strawberry garden, but we are at a point where we can really look back and marvel at our accomplishments here in our little corner of the world…

Saturday’s Discussions…
We took some time to talk about a few topics of interest at the gathing on Saturday, in between hot sweaty wood chip spreading and eating delicious food ranging from fresh-from-the-garden salad to indulgent chocolate chip cookies. Here’s some thoughts…

Food Sharing
We came up with the idea of having a “food share box” where people could put extra veggies from their beds, and anyone could take them as they wanted. Then on Fridays we could take anything in the box at that time to the food pantry. That would also be a good way to coordinate harvest from the food pantry bed – it can all go over to the food pantry at the same time.

Skyline Music Salad Bar Fundraiser
As many of you know, there are free Skyline Music concerts in Kilbourn Park on Tuesday nights in July and August. We’re thinking of doing a salad bar at one of the concerts – probably in early August – with donations going to the Victory Garden fund. We’ll post a schedule of the concerts on a separate page on the blog, and talk more soon about coordinating a salad bar.

Special Thanks to Joshua Glover Center
We just want to acknowledge the guys from the Joshua Glover Center and all the help they have given us in this project. Not only do they have a beautiful garden bed, but they have been at the garden every single Saturday since we started in April, ready and willing to help with the heaviest, toughest tasks. Thanks, guys! We really could not have done this without you!

Happy Solstice!
Hope everyone is enjoying the longest day of the year. Keep watching the blog as we plan further adventures and advancements. This group of gardeners we have formed is just seething with potential… can’t wait to see what we come up with next!

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Wood chips are a LOT lighter than compost!

Wood chips are a LOT lighter than compost!

The Last of the Wood Chips
The Assault of the Maple Trees
Big Brain Problem-Solving

These are just a few of the fun topics we can talk about at the Gardeners’ Gathering on Saturday, June 20.

Let’s plan to get together about 10AM to spread the LAST of those pesky wood chips on the paths, and take some time to water and play with our lovely gardens.

Remember how we talked about how there would be “no weeds” in the garden? Well, we hadn’t counted on the maple tree dumping a ton of cute little helicopter seeds on our nice lush black dirt. Those little seeds are in maple tree heaven. And unless we pull them out, we’re going to have a forest!

Luckily, they’re easy to spot. Just look for the tiny red maple leaves, and out they come! You might want to clear out the other helicopters, too.

Other than that, you might spot a lonely dandelion leaf or a single blade of grass poking through – pull them out now, before they get out of hand…

Call for Agenda Items
Is there anything you would like to talk about concerning the garden? Let’s plan to gather about 11AM to discuss some things.

So far we have a few topics identified: Food Pantry collection plans; water issues; annuals and perennials; orphan plants; plus any other business.

If you have other agenda items, please leave a comment after the post, and we’ll add them to the list.

Pot Luck
We can enjoy food and fellowship about Noon – feel free to bring some of your favorite delicacies.

So our schedule for Saturday looks like this:
Gardeners Gathering
Saturday, June 20
10 AM Gather & Enjoy the Gardens
11 AM Discussion Time
12 NOON Pot Luck Lunch

Happy Summer Solstice and Father’s Day on Sunday, June 21. And remember to check out the first Gardeners Market at Locust and Bremen, 11AM to 4PM.

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More Hard & Rewarding Work at the Victory Garden

Hi everybody!

According to the solar calendar, we’re almost into summer. Who would have ever guessed? Still, I worked in short sleeves yesterday and today (Monday, June 15).

My Yukon Gold potatoes are doing great, and my Golden Bantam corn is going into the ground tomorrow. (I have marked off the center of the central garden at Jan’s suggestion.) Some people have planted things there, and I have moved these plants to the perimeter.

We have received and spread two more loads of wood chips from the City, and one more load will do the trick. Also we have received a fourth 20 yards of fine soil, some of which is being moved to another community garden.

Members of the Lutheran church across from the UWM Student Union have planted most of their garden and will be finished in short order. Lady Di (Diana) has also completed her vine trellis, with help from her spouse and his dad.

With generous help from fellow gardeners, I have also assembled two vine trellises from old ladders. I think they’ll be installed tomorrow (Tuesday), with a little help from my friends…!

People walking through the park or driving by are fascinated by our project. (My mailman always honks when he sees me in the garden.) Lots of other people honk, too.

Just this evening, as I was counting my corn kernals, two women walked by with two dogs. I always say “hi,” and we sat and talked until it got too dark to plant my corn. I encouraged them to come back on Saturday or Sunday. There might not be any plots left, but there will be plenty of work to do and produce to share later on…

Yours in gardening, Walt.

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We are closing in on that elusive goal every gardener pursues – being DONE.

We need a few more wood chips (working on it!) and we’ll have our garden in good shape! We got all the beds filled and almost all the landscape cloth covered with wood chips last weekend. We’ll finish up this Saturday, if not before…

Plot Assignments
We are dong a few last plot reassignments to our very short waiting list of some plots whose original applicants have withdrawn. It seems like we are meeting our goal of getting everyone into a plot this spring (summer starts June 21!)


Gardeners Gathering
We would like to gather as many gardeners as we can this Saturday to evaluate where we are with the garden so far, and decide what’s next – in addition to just enjoying our new gardens and each other’s company!

We’ll be putting up a suggested agenda in the next day or so. If you have agenda items you would like to add, put them in a comment on this post.

Here’s the thought about scheduling:

Gardeners Gathering
Saturday, June 20
10 AM Gather & Enjoy the Gardens
11 AM Discussion Time
12 NOON Pot Luck Lunch

DON’T FORGET the opening of Gardeners Market, Bremen & Locust, Sunday, June 21.

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Teens from COA and volunteers from Shir Hadash Congregation worked together to plant a Victory Garden on Sunday, June 7.

Teens from COA and volunteers from Shir Hadash Congregation worked together to plant a Victory Garden on Sunday, June 7.

With the hard work of almost 20 neighborhood volunteers on Saturday and some 30 volunteers from Shir Hadash Congregation and the neighborhood on Sunday June 6-7, we made the ALMOST final push to finish the Victory Garden beds. We all worked until we ran out of soil – but we’re getting more!

Soil and Wood Chips!
We are getting delivery of wood chips and another half-load of soil for the final push this Saturday. We have six beds left to fill, and then we will finally be able to put those wood chips down and stop patching our poor landscape cloth on the paths!

We are still dealing with our leaking water barrels, but meanwhile we’ve decided to just leave the hose by the garden – we’re working on an idea to help make it all more secure. Meanwhile, you can hook the hose up to the hydrant on Garfield and Booth and use it to water your plants.

If you are the last one to use it, please be sure the water is turned off at the hydrant and bring the hose back to coil it by the garden. (By the way, we have not found a really neat way to accomplish this – just do the best you can.)

We’re still working on this, and will improve this process soon. Are they any amateur (or professional) small-scale irrigation design specialists out there?

Remember, We’re Organic…
Just a note – this soil is very fertile. We should not need any kind of fertilizer this year. Please don’t bring any kind of plant foods or commercial pesticides or herbicides into the garden. We really don’t need them, and they are actually kind of dangerous.

Project Day
(Ready for the LAST big push?!?)
Saturday, June 13
10AM Start Time
12 Noon Pot Luck
(Once again, the salad. I made it on Sunday last week. This time Saturday!)
Fill final 6 beds
Spread wood chips

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My dear fellow gardeners,

What fun this weekend! We were able to accomplish a lot with “the usual suspects” on Saturday but enjoyed a good rain the next night. Sunday, we had the enthusiastic help of a synagogue congregation and came very close to reaching our goal for this year. I hope they return and harvest some of our fruits for people they know

With more than 30 volunteers Sunday, we now have some 68 raised beds installed, and when I was leaving, I saw Terri bringing a couple more frames in her pickup! As usual, I was exhausted after three hours, even with my elderly breaks, but I have two thoughts for the future.

First, I very much appreciated the rabbi gathering us in a circle to introduce ourselves and talk about what we were doing, to pronounce a blessing, to engage us in song and to participate in collective rituals. I hope that we continue to do this all the time. Gardening is spiritual.

Second, always the practical gardener, I don’t think we should wait until next weekend for another small load of soil. Can’t we get it for this Wednesday afternoon?

Time flies, Walt Saveland.

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