Archive for April, 2011

Dancing With the Rain

We’re doing our annual dance with the weather, but some progress has been made on the garden in the past couple of weeks. Here are some updates:

Project Day Tomorrow
Saturday, April 30, 9AM to Noon

The rain is supposed to hold off until afternoon, so I will be in the garden in the morning. We have some wood chips so we can start laying them down on the paths. Come on over if you like, check out the beds and get a start on mulching the paths. We haven’t been able to get our soil delivered yet, so we can’t really start planting, but there are still chores to be done.

Wood Chips: Yup. Got some from the city this week.

Soil: Nope, not yet. It’s just too wet to move yet. I’m hoping some warm dry weather next week will dry things out enough that we can take delivery before next weekend (fingers crossed). Then the fun will really start!

Garden Plot Assignments: DONE AS OF 11PM, FRIDAY, APRIL 29! If you haven’t received an email with an updated garden plot listing as of Saturday, April 30, please email me.

Garden Plot Numbers: Done! Kris and I went out to the garden and mounted our shiny new numbers on the beds this afternoon (hooray – finally a day without rain!). So we should all be able to find our beds now.

May 14 Project Day: There’s a group of volunteers who will be joining us on Saturday, May 14, so we’re hoping to plan a big project day. Maybe we can finish topping off our beds that day.

That’s if for now. Hope to see you in the garden tomorrow – this is last minute, so no worries if you can’t make it. There will be many more opportunities!


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There was a lot of enthusiasm on Saturday as hoards of Marquette students descended on our neighborhood for their annual Hunger Clean Up event. Two years ago the Hunger Clean Up students helped us start the work on the Community Garden in Kilbourn Park. They have been here every spring for the last ten years or so to help with the Riverwest Earth Day Clean Up and whatever projects we have planned in our parks and community gardens.

This year we had hoped to harness their energy to top off all our garden beds with soil and put down wood chips on the paths. As it turned out, the weather was our downfall. A chilly, misty day did not keep us out of the garden, but our soil source informed us that the soil was simply not warmed up and dried out enough to move to our site. As far as wood chips went, the crews did not have enough to get to everyone who wanted them.

What we did get done on Saturday is very important. We cleaned up the winter mess that always seems to accumulate – not just in our gardens, but throughout the neighborhood. We also turned under our winter cover crop, so the beds are ready to receive their spring layer of soil as soon as it can be delivered.

Contingency Plans and Priorities
Farmers like us are used to the dance we do with the weather. Even now we are making contingency plans.

There are several groups who will be volunteering with us on upcoming weekends, so the work will most certainly get done in a timely way.

First priority is getting our beds topped off so gardeners can begin planting. We have asked that our soil be delivered as soon as possible, so at least individual gardeners can come in and top off their own beds and get their gardens in.

Garden Bed Assignments
We have completed the work of assigning garden beds. In a project this big, there are always glitches, so we are now in the process of fixing a handful of mistakes. We’ve gotten a couple of funny emails. (“Gee, I’d love to garden but I’ve moved to San Fransisco,” is my favorite so far.) And I’m sure I’ve missed a couple of people. But we’ll get everyone in. We have a few plots left, so if you haven’t heard from us, don’t panic. Contact us, but don’t panic!

Marking the Beds
We have devised a new plan to put numbers on our garden beds, but the spring rains have kept us from completing that plan. We’ll be doing that as soon as weather permits, so you can find your bed and we can make sure everyone is where they want to be.

Garden Ollas
Because we simply were not ready to work with soil this past Saturday, we are postponing our garden olla project for a week or so. We will be in touch as we figure out how to make the ollas available to you so you can get them in your garden before you plant.

Situation Normal…
This is what makes gardening so much fun for those of us who love making plans. More often than not, we get to make brand new plans two or three times before we reach our goals. We’ll keep you posted… and meanwhile what a beautiful day we have today on Sunday!

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As the bard said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley,” and our schemes seem, to some extent, to have “gang agley” for the garden this weekend.

The soil we ordered was not warm and dry enough to move, unfortunately. And I’m not sure what happened to our wood chips. I had a call from the city that they were going to deliver them on Wednesday, but something must have “gang agley” for them as well, because no wood chips have appeared. Sigh.

BUT, that will not stop us from working in the garden tomorrow! It will not stop the volunteers from coming, who will be here “rain or shine.” So we will do what we can.

We will give the garden and surrounding area a good cleaning and pick up all the trash and tree limbs. We will turn under any of the winter cover crop that managed to come through. And we will plan for the future.

Contingency Plan for Soil
We have our order in for soil as soon as it warms up. So there will soon be a pile of soil at the garden that you can use to top off your individual bed and get started planting. We will be having other groups of volunteers in subsequent weekends, so will will get all the beds topped off as soon as possible.

Plot Assignments
We finished plot assignments today, so I will be sending out the list of assignments in the next few hours. We have had some nifty number cards made for the beds, so we may be putting those on the beds tomorrow, if it isn’t raining (I’m in total denial that it’s going to be raining tomorrow morning. We’ll see how that plays out…).

Contingency Plans for Wood Chips
We will be having Project Days throughout the month, and beyond. Plus we are lining up more volunteers for the near future. Plus our internship program starts the end of May, so our interns may be putting down the last of our wood chips on the paths.

Some of you have ordered Ollas. Not sure whether we will be delivering them tomorrow – we’re thinking now that we will choose a different Saturday to deliver them in the garden, and on an individual basis. We’re working on the details for our olla workshop – we’ll keep you posted.

This is Gardening
You make your plans, and do the best you can with what you get. We’ll be doing our big Spring Clean Up tomorrow rain or shine, and proceeding to do the rest of the garden work as soon as we can get our materials.

Hooray for Spring! We love you, you fickle temptress…

Saturday, April 16, 9AM till we’re too tired to do any more

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We’ve been scrambling – there is so much to do! I just heard this morning that we should be able to get wood chips before this Saturday. Hooray!

We’re hoping for the best on soil delivery – it just depends if the soil warms up enough. But we have the order in and our fingers crossed!

We’re also working on the final stages of the strange and amazing feat of getting all the garden beds assigned. I refer to is as “juggling cats and chain saws.” We’ll do our very best to get everyone back in their old beds or into new beds and next to who they want to be next to… We’re hoping to send out the emails on Friday. Come to the garden if you can on Saturday and we’ll do our best to get underway.

Hooray Spring!

Saturday, April 16, 9AM till we’re too tired to do any more

April 16 is our big Earth Day Clean Up that we’ve been doing in Riverwest and city-wide for years. That’s the day we get lots of college-age volunteers to work with us on various community park and garden projects – last year we had more than 400!

This year we hope to have our soil and wood chips delivered by that day, and we will put all those kids to work helping top off all the garden beds and putting wood chips down on the paths. Ideally, cross your fingers, by the end of that day we should be ready to garden! Woot!

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