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Archive for March, 2010


It’s already getting pretty exciting for your garden planners this spring. Every time I go to the post office box or my email inbox there are more applications.

We’re working hard to make sure we have enough garden space for everyone, but we still have a way to go on the planning process.

However, as the map at the right shows, we are not out of the “killing frost” time zone yet. We’ll do our very best to get everyone’s gardens ready as close to that time as possible!

We are planning our first big project day for Saturday, April 17. That is the day we will have the Marquette volunteers to help us. We may have a smaller project day beforehand to prepare for the volunteers – stay posted, we’re still planning. Lots to do… and the season hasn’t even started yet!

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Yes, the snow is gone, and it seems like you want to be out there planting stuff, but we’re not quite ready yet. Here’s what’s going on “behind the scenes” at the garden.

Calling Last Year’s Gardeners
Did you garden with us last year? Do you want your own plot back again? Or do you want to garden in a different plot? Now is the time to let us know!

We have 44 applications for garden plots so far, and of those 16 are repeats from last year and 28 are new gardeners.

We are trying to call all of last year’s gardeners to see if they want to come back, and give them first choice of the existing beds. It would help us if all you gardeners from last year who want to join us again would fill out a 2010 application and email it in so we won’t have to call you.

However, we want to have a place for everyone who wants to garden this year, so we are planning an expansion as well.

What Needs To Be Done On The Old Beds
Before we can plant, we need to do some spring maintenance on our old beds.

We need to turn under the cover crop and straw mulch that we added last fall. We also need to top off the beds with some fresh compost, because they have settled somewhat over the last year. I know some of you are just itching to get out in the garden, but trust me, you’ll be happy you haven’t got anything growing when we get that Easter Day snowstorm…

The final task is add another layer of wood chips to the areas between the beds. We are hoping to do this on our big volunteer day we have planned for April 17.

Planned Expansion
We are currently going door-to-door among the neighbors to find out how they would feel about a second circle of beds to the north of our current circle. If we do that, we would add about 50 additional 4’x8′ beds.

We are also writing grants and looking for contributions from businesses in the neighborhood to help us make that happen, provided all the neighbors think it is a good idea.

Looking Ahead
We are planning a big volunteer day for Saturday, April 17. That is the day we get volunteers from Marquette University for our big neighborhood Earth Day Clean Up. We are planning to work as much as possible on the gardens on that day.

We are currently looking at a timeline for April project days. We’ll keep you posted.

As you can see, some of our planning is contingent on outcomes from what the neighbors think about things, so hang in there with us as we’re working to find the answers to some of our questions. We’ll keep you posted on the blog – keep checking!

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Hey, Gardeners, would you be interested in serving on a Community Garden Advisory Board?

Thus far this whole project has been focused on “let’s get some food growing and not do politics.” We’ve been holding meetings once or twice a year, and sometimes we get together after project days. But maybe it’s time to have a few of us come together and “check in” more regularly about what’s going on in the garden.

What do you all think? Would some of you be willing to “self-select” to create an informal board? Should we have elections? Do you not care about the whole governance thing as long as you can garden in peace (this is a perfectly acceptable opinion)? Should we just proceed until apprehended?

If you would, and if you’re interested, please take a minute to weigh in on this issue. You can fill in the poll below, leave a comment here on the blog, or if you want more privacy email socialsolutionsmke@gmail.com

See you in the garden!

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Come Back To Us…
Are you planning to return to your plot in the Garden this season? Or would you like to garden again, and have a different plot?

It would be a good idea to fill out a 2010 application (look in the column to the right)and send it in today. There is a place to let us know if you want your old plot or a new one, or if you don’t have an opinion on the matter – please be sure to check one of those boxes.

To date we have received 35 applications, and of those 23 are new gardeners!

Over the next couple of weeks we plan to call all the gardeners from last season who have not yet sent in applicaitons, but you could help us out a lot if you could send yours in so we have you on file.

We’re planning to distribute about 3,500 postcards next weekend letting people know about the garden, so we expect we’re going to get a lot of new gardeners from that.

We’ve been working hard this winter and spring to raise money to expand the gardens. It looks like we’re going to be able to do that, but the new beds might not be ready until May, so we want to give our past gardeners first crack at the existing beds.

More news as it develops. Mark your calendars for project days starting in April!

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Yeah! The fog and the snow and the mud and the itty bitty green things just starting to grow! It’s happening at last.

We have been busily writing grants and collecting applications from new gardeners, and it looks like we’re going to be able to do an expansion this spring. Are you gearing up? Are you ready to plant? Are you ready to get some of that good fresh-air-and-exercise that’s such a big part of why we garden?

Get ready. We’re looking at Saturday project days starting in April, with a whole new generation of city farmers to help us do that heavy lifting, plus some volunteers and other assorted joiners-in.

It’ll be here before you know it.

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