Saturday, March 20, 2010
Tues March 2nd Shepherd’s Field Community Garden Meeting.Bruce Hotvedt- site coordinator at Shepherd’s Field
Jennifer LeMay – communications assistant
Ed Smith- site coordinator at The Farm
Don Proctor- community crop steward
Randy Hynek -Sumner City Council & community garden founder
Last year, Sumner Community Gardens produced 38,000 pounds of food todonate to local food banks (more than Tacoma, Auburn, Kent and Tukwilagardens combined!) Are you interested in helping with food bank crops? New program thisyear: You will be provided with a plot of roto-tilled land at TheFarm, and seed will be provided. You maintain the plot and keep 70%of harvest, with 30% of harvest going to food bank as your “rent” ofland use.
Don Proctor is planting community crops of green beans, peas andcorn. Don says, “These crops are yours to have when you need it, helpyourself!” A big thank you to Don and his good work. Watch for emailupdates/announcements from time to time when some helping hands may beneeded for various tasks of weeding, maintenance and harvesting.
Bruce asked who wants manure for fertilizer? Randy has access to aone-ton dump truck for delivery to garden sites. Manure will beavailable soon in the community garden plots so you can help yourselfto this rich soil amendment.
Jennifer asked those present what the preferred means of communicationmight be. It was decided email and an online bulletin board(listserv) would be better than facebook page. Also messages will beposted on the physical bulletin board at the garden site for thosewithout email/internet access. The general email for the Shepherd’sField garden is: SumnerComGarden@biteme.com
** UPDATE** New listserv on Yahoo Groups, please sign up!http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SumnerComGarden/ We will look into a website in the future which would be sharedbetween all Sumner Garden sites.
Bruce gave out owner manuals for the roto-tiller, you must sign awavier to use. Within the next couple weeks, as land becomes ready towork, roto-tiller will be available to use. It will be stored in the shed, locked up with combination number and hour meter to recordusage.
Don Proctor is willing to help folks roto-till their plots, he’ll doit for you! Please email Don at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sumner High School has a greenhouse program and will be growingtomatoes starts for a new “adopt a plant” program. More detailscoming soon.
As garden plot assignments are finalized, a map of the plots will beposted on the bulletin board at the garden. New gardener applicationsare still coming in.
Joyce Barron is planning to beautify the garden with flowers aroundthe bulletin board area. She says, “Feel free to jump in and weed orplant more flowers!”
Bruce mentioned we’ll be looking for volunteers to help withcomposting. Please contact Bruce if this is a task you are willing tohelp with.
Question was asked: will the Master Gardeners be coming back this yearto answer questions, troubleshoot? Ed Smith said last year it waschallenging to coordinate scheduling, but hopes to offer at least 2workshops/visits from them.
Some folks are interested in an informal seed exchange. It wasmentioned the food bank tubs could be used, placed near shed. Placeyour seeds in sealed zip-lock bags to weather proof and help yourselfto what’s available.
Pastor Lori from the church recommended times to avoid the gardenmight be Mon, Weds, Fri from 9:30am-12:30pm, and Monday afternoons4:30pm-6:30pm due to the preschool hours. At least please park yourcar closer to the front street during those times as the school usesthe parking lot near the playground equipment.
meeting or garden event to be announced. Meanwhile PLEASE signup for the yahoo listserv to keep updated. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SumnerComGarden/The Google Groups listserv will be closed as of April 1st and TheYahoo Group listserv will be our primary means of communicating atthat date.
More information coming soon as the season gets underway. Let’s getthis garden growing!
So there you have it folks. Time to don the overalls and straw hats.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
To the Shepherd's Field Gardeners: Most of you are probably unaware that there have been problems for some time with the governance of the gardens. Last year this group elected 5 of us from the garden to represent your interests as part of the Shepherd's Field Leadership Team. We volunteered to serve because we wanted to put more effort into the "community" of our community garden. Unfortunately, all our efforts to represent the interests of the community gardeners through a professional and collaborative process have been unsuccessful. We feel that our energy would be better used somewhere we can make a difference. Therefore, we hereby resign our positions, effective immediately.
I don't know what Flo, Patty and Joyce were working on, but I get the impression they were unsuccessful..
So as I headed into the garden shed to dig out the community wheelbarrow, and as I hefted composted manure from the back of the car into that wheelbarrow and wheeled it out through the wet grass and the mud I thought to myself, "This is way too early in the year to be doing this crap." As I hoed out the overly large clumps of grass and weeds that had taken residence in the garden I thought to myself, "What the hell was I thinking?", and as I began chopping up all the old tomato vines from last summer and loaded them into the wheelbarrow for transportation to the compost bin I thought, "Hell, I still have 34 pints of pickled beets, 4 qts of canned tomatoes, 3 qts of canned spaghetti sauce and a buttload of frozen beans. I don't need to do all this crap this year. I should just skip this damned garden and watch TV or some silly shit."
Soon though, my attitude began to change. As I dumped the compost into 4 even piles, one in each of 4 sections of the plot, I began to feel less frustrated. Life seemed to level out a bit. I leaned on my rake for a few minutes, watching juncos and sparrows flitting from the rotting sunflower stalks still standing in the gardens of my neighbors and I realized I was content. I really didn't want to be done for the day. Unfortunately I knew that was ineveitable so I started raking the piles, slowly, more carefully than I probably did last year, as I worked the compost from the center of each garden sector to it edges.
Now I realize this is in some ways a wasted effort. The weeds are coming back, I'm sure, even as I type this silly nonsense, and in a week or two, or maybe even a day it will be impossible to tell I was even at the garden today. But as the rains come, soaking the soil into an even less workable state, I know the organic nutrients of that compost will leech into that soil, bringing it back to something resembling the plantable condition of last season. And as I stood there raking into the earth the nutrients I had so selfishly removed last summer and looking around at the decay of spent, brown crops, and the new, healthy growth of my neighbors onions and garlic something just felt right. I guess life resembles life on all levels. Growth and decay. One never cancelling out the other.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
First off, there are lots of green beans now ready for picking at the sheep pasture garden. I got a three gallon pailful in just 1/10th of the patch this morning.
So everyone should feel free to help themselves. I'll try to get the rows all marked so people can note what has been picked most recently (I picked the north half of the two western-most rows -- adjacent to the corn).
Let me bounce an idea off all of you. How many would be interested in participating in the garden equivalent of the old fashoned "quilting bee" -- only this would be a "green been canning bee"? We could set up to pick, wash, snap, blanch, pack jars, and can in pressure cooker/canners as a group project. I have one pressure cooker/canner and could probably borrow at least one (maybe two) more. We could use propane camp stoves or burners for both blanching and the pressure canning. I have about 10 cases of wide-mouth pint jars, maybe 4 cases of narrow mouth pints, and quite a few quart jars -- all of which I would not mind at all loaning to anyone who doesn't have jars.
I have three work tables (4-foot by 8-foot) that we can set up for the canning assembly line. I also have quite a bit of raspberry, peach, apricot and rhubarb wine that needs to be consumed and many bean canners might want to help with that too.
When? Well we need to decide that. I think weekends would probably fit the schedule of the most gardeners but you tell me what works best for your schedule if you think the whole idea isn't too for departed from sanity.
The second item of interest is a call for volunteers to help get the beans picked. The beans at the horse pasture site are not ready yet but when they do start producing, we'll need to pick all 20 rows about twice per week -- probably for at least a month. I'm reasonably sure that will generate more beans than all of us collectively could eat, can, freeze, or whatever. I think there will be enough beans to supply several different food banks in the area if I can prevail upon enough people to get them off the vines and into banana boxes for delivery. Whatcha think??
Food banks? Volunteers? Yeah, whatever....but a canning bee? Well, hot damn and let me at 'em. I can't imagine anything more fun. Hell, it borders on naughty, even.
So at 9am sharp on August 23 I was at the Garden with bells on, bucket and box of mason jars in my hand, ready to do my part. After setting the jars down with the others I carried my bucket out to the communty bean field (remember, the one where I helped install posts and string earlier in the summer) and started picking.
After a couple of hours we had filled buckets and bags with beans of all sizes and it was time to start the production process.
In the parking lot of the church that adjoins the Sumner Community Garden, Don (80 years old at least and hasn't sat down in 6 years, I'm guessing) had set up a few wooden tables along with 3 or 4 propane burners and a Coleman stove. Sitting on these burners were a mixture of pressure canners and large stockpots. Cases of Mason jars were stacked at one end of the line of tables. Pairing knives were set in a small pile on one table. Small garbage pails half filled with water were sitting on the pavement in front of the tables and Don was already busy dumping beans in and swishing them around to clean them off. After swishing, the beans were drained and dumped on a table in front of eager gardeners waiting to start snapping, stringing and cutting.
On one of the propane burners was a pot full of water. As it would come to a boil a load of beans, now cut into bite size lengths, would be dumped in to blanch. After a minute or two these were ladled into the sterilized jars and set aside to wait their turn in the pressure canners.
After what seemed like an eternity of standing around trying to look busy so no one would force me into actually participating in this extravaganza of womens work, quart jars full of wonderful beans suitable for eating far into the upcoming winter started piling up before our very eyes. I got 12 of these beauties....
...but next year I'm having my own party. Sheesh!
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
And here is a pic sans said dirt:
I am feeling so healthy its startin' to make me kinda sick.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Friday, July 18, 2008
The next two pictures are views of the plot both on planting day, May 25, and today. The nine plants closest are Romas. As I understand it, cages are not required for Romas as they are bred so as not to need them. Most of these tomatoes should ripen together and will be used for sauce which will be canned, doing away with the need for that nasty Ragu during the winter. The six plants at the back (the tall ones) are three cherry and three yellow pear. Both of these are small salad type tomatoes and will be munched on freely.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Anyway, here is the lettuce. Red and green leaf in one row and Bibb in the other. Coming along nicely, I think.
The beets are also produceing nicely. I have one row of Cioggia, which are red and white striped on the inside, and one row of an heirloom yellow.
And look at this! Real honest to God yellow squash. This one is about the size of my ring finger, and growing visibly each day. Many more are coming right behind on these two plants. Four more plants have sprouted recently on another hill and are growing quite quickly.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Sometime during the past week Don (The Man) has finished running the wires from the concrete posts at one end of the rows to the posts at the other end. The job of the 6 people helpful enough to show up this morning was to finish running the twine up and down from the bottom wire to the top wire and back down again, over and over and over and over and over until the bean plants have plenty of surface to cling to as they climb toward the sun and produce all those wonderful green beans for us to eat. Whenthe rows are strung it should look something like this:
Oh, hey, it does look something like that. Good for us.
Over in Plot #48, also known as Tomato Land things are looking up. The 'mater are growing,
and blossoms are blooming. Soon we should see some tomatoes.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 1:45 PM
Subject: auger diggers
To save Don Proctor lots of labor I will rent a gas powered post hole digger but we need at least one other person to help. We need to bore fifteen hole three feet deep at the sheep pasture. These will be for the post for the bean rows. The event will start at 3pm this Saturday at the sheep pasture.
Total time depending on the number of people who show up one to two hours
So I showed up, and after about 15 minutes of breaking our backs with the giant sized super villain style gas powered auger posthole digger we came to the conclusion it would not work worth a damn on the hardpan clay so we tossed it in the back of Answer Man's truck and I dug the rest of the holes with the hand auger. No big deal, so don't get the idea that I'm trying to pass it off as a big deal. The whole thing took about an hour or so after I arrived.
Don had already done half the holes with the hand auger prior to Answer Man bringing the gas auger.
This is the least of what Don has done. At least thats the conclusion at which I have arrived. Retired from something and pushing 70 at least, Don was not one of the original members of the steering commitee for the Sumner Community Garden, but called after hearing of the project to offer his assistance. Seems Don has a hobby of sorts. He likes to grow vegetables for the local food bank (Every mans got his own brand of foolishness")and this seemed the perfect opportunity for him to increase his harvest, I suppose. As we worked this afternoon Don mentioned he estimated this particular field would probably produce between 2500 and 3000 lbs of beans.
Anyway, it seems Don has been busily preparing fields I didn't even realize existed for planting. He has tilled. He has weeded. He has gone out into the community and found people willing to donate loads and loads of seed, twine, concrete, and other necessary materials. He has even constructed reinforced concrete posts to place at the ends of the bean rows, and it was these posts that would stand in the holes we were digging today.
After finishing the holes Don and the rest of us stood one post at each end of each row of beans. Here is a pictuer of Answer Man posing as Don works hard to insert a post.
We then ran two wires, one at the top of the posts and one about 6 inches from the ground, from one end of the row to the other. After this was done Don and I proceeded to run the twine. The twine had already been wound onto a premade (by Don) bobbin so one of us stood on one side of a row while the other stood on the other side. An end of the twine was tied at the top and Don would run the bobbin down to the bottom wire and pass the bobbin under to me and I would run the twine back up, passing it back to Don when I reached the top. This we did until the bobbin ran out and Don said, "Well, I guess that oughtta be enough to show the rest of 'em how to do it."
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Including me there are eight people interested in joining the chicken team. That’s great. From my initial research it takes about fifteen weeks to raise chicks to the egg laying stage. The commitment require for this will be year round. Though with eight people if we all take turns we should only have to visit the chickens to feed, clean and pick-up eggs less than once a week. Many hands make light work. I’m sure as we progress there will be more people who want to join the chicken team. Futher lightening the work require for all of us. There is a barn on site at the horse pasture that we can use if we partition of part of it for the chicken house we wont need much in the way of materials make it work.
We should all meet together at least at first to get things rolling. Please email or call me and let me know what works best for you to meet on a Saturday, Sunday or after seven pm during the week. Or If there is a time you can’t meet let me know and I will schedule a meeting as soon as I hear from you. We are in inflationary times being we have the space and six 55gallon steel barrels, I would propose we purchase a years supply of chicken feet asap as I’m convinced that the price of feed will continue to rise. Just some of the questions we should consider. In addition the health aspects of raising our own eggs, we should be able to produce our own eggs for substantially less then what it cost at the store. I would greatly appreciate it if those who are interested might consider taking a leadership role and volunteer for the steering committee. The plan subject to change depending on your wishes is for us to operate independently of the community gardens. If we plan things right we design our operation so that new members can join in the future even if they don’t have a garden plot. If that’s alright with you. I will help out where ever I can but in the end this is your project and you will decide how things are run. I’m here to help not to tell you how things will be run and operated. This is exciting and should be fun I look forward to hearing from you.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Plot #67 (Mr and Mrs Smeltzer)
It appears Mary has come through with that load of crap just as she said she would so I felt I would be doing her, as well as myself, a disservice by not actually using some of her compost.......so I grabbed a bucket.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
After recently requesting another 6 x 12 plot (for my maters, y'all) we were assigned #48...
...and suddenly finding myself with something to do besides weeding and watering I threw myself into the task with my usual reckless abandon. After mixing a bale of compost into the soil along with a couple of gallons of homemade organic fertilizer (Steve Solomon's book) I planted 9 Romas, 3 Yellow Pear, and 3 Cherry tomato, all seedlings as opposed to seed seeing as how the summers here are neither long nor hot and bringing the fruit to a ripe harvest can be difficult. I went with a majority of cooking tomatoes in hopes of harvesting enough to can some sauce for the winter, thereby avoiding the use of Ragu, etc.
After getting everything planted I gathered the hose in order to water and found it had sprung a leak significant enough to warrant the purchase of a replacement so off to Fred Meyer I went. After a half hour or more I was back and spraying a soft shower of water over my newly transplanted vines. About this time the sun was setting so I called it a day and headed home to fire up the grill.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 8:05 PM
Subject: Garden Social Mtng. Minutes
The first Garden Social was a great success! Thanks to all who attended and brought their desserts and ideas. Below is a summary of some of the issues covered in no particular order of importance.
The Master Gardeners hot line is # 253-798-7170. They are available from 9am-3pm to answer any and all of your gardening questions.
The shed will be cleaned out and available for gardeners to keep their tools and such. It is on the 'list of things to do' so it will likely be a couple weeks. Thanks Bruce.
Randy will be giving tours of the community corn, potato, bean, and pumpkin patches at the other community garden site (by the cemetery).
The first tour will be Wed. May 28th at 7pm
The second tour will be Sat. May 31st at 10am.
The site is located next to the someplace (over by that other place)
Randy will meet anyone who is unfamiliar with the area in the parking lot of a store you aren't familiar with fifteen minutes prior to both tours. Then you can follow him to the site.
Randy and Don talked about the different community crops that are being prepared.
Beans, Peas, Potato's, Corn, and Pumpkins. It was decided that if you were interested in taking some of the harvest of these crops that you would offer an hour or so of time per month to taking care of them IE: watering, weeding, stringing etc... Many people have shown an interest so it should be fun. If more time is needed to meet their growing needs, we'll let you know. I will send out periodic e-mails regarding different tasks that need to be done at different times. Thank you to Don, Eileen, and Randy for all of their time in setting up these garden crops.
I ran into a couple of gardeners who were uncertain about our pesticide/herbicide guidelines. I thank them for their questions because it let me know that perhaps we had not made it clear in our guidelines. So, clarification... NO PESTICIDES OR HERBICIDES!! We are an organic community garden. Other community gardens have said this is a real make or break issue as it directly impacts all gardeners. If you need help with some organic suggestions ask our Master Gardeners, they have all kinds of ideas.
A wish list was presented and added to: Wheel Barrow (Cindi offered one) , Picnic Table (Lori is working on that) Bench, Tools (Jim had some extras) Lost and Found box (Cindi), Short Hose, Hose Guides (Kathy is checking out Craig's List) Herb Garden (Bette has volunteered to plant one) THANK YOU ALL!! If anyone else can help, let me know.
Liquid fence was suggested as a way to deter rabbits.
It was suggested that we give extra harvest to The Sumner Food Bank!! Fabulous Idea!
Winter gardening was discussed. It was agreed that winter crops were fine to grow and that we would revisit cover crops at a later meeting.
And we can't forget THE GREAT CHICKEN DEBATE OF 2008!!
Randy brought up the idea of keeping some chickens at one of the garden sites for their eggs. After much debate several people did sign up to be on the 'Chicken Team' to discuss the issue further. If you are interested, contact Randy. We will keep you updated.
The Great Chicken Debate of 2008! Now thats some funny stuff.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
This Sumner Community Garden thing has turned out to be far more than I had ever understood it to be. I must admit that I imagined this as being little more than a city having some unused land and deciding to make a few dollars by renting plots out so those of the gardening ilk could spend a summer digging in the dirt and producing small batches of fresh veggies for their own families. I had heard rumblings through emails about sharing extra with each other etc. You know, if I have an abundance of beans and my neighbor has extra zuchinni we would naturally help each other out and stuff. Then on another occasion I spoke with Answer Man and he mentioned something about another field where they were doing some gardening, but I thought little of it and went about my business in my tiny little gardening world over at Plot 68.
Then came The Meeting. The big Sumner Community Garden Dessert Social Meeting of the Gardening Minds.
All I can say is wow. Turns out this thing is much much larger in scope than I had ever imagined. Answer Man (leaning on the table in the back of the picture)turns out to be a Sumner City Councilman with a vision. A vision of an ever growing group of gardeners coming together to produce not only vegetables for themselves and their families but for the community as a whole. Turns out the "other field" is actually really a pasture of sorts which Answer Man and his team of answer men are busily transforming into something of a community farm where the idea is to have large plantings of vegetables which would not be sensible or convenient as small garden crops. Rows and rows or corn, potatoes, pole beans, pumpkins, and I don't even know what else, have been or are soon to be planted. Concrete reinforced bean poles are being constructed to be placed in the proper locations at the ends of said rows. Hopes were voiced that we may end up with 3000 ears of corn or more. We might end up with 100 lbs of potatoes per person. Halloween and Thanksgiving pumpkins might come from our own patch. I can only imagine the numbers of peas and beans we may have on our hands as the summer progresses, and the only requirement for participating in this grand harvest is that one participates in the work beforehand. Hell, there is even talk of building a coop and buying chicks and beginning the production of our own organic egg supply. All we would do, says Answer Man, is decide how many eggs we would want a week and buy the proper number of chicks, then help in the caretaking, etc. There was an objection (based moral grounds) to the raising of chickens in this fashion, and this visibly raised Answer Man's hackles. The body language at this point in the meeting was unmistakeable, and I'm telling you now that Answer Man is not going to be deterred on this point. He is hell bent on having fresh organic cruelty free eggs every morning for breakfast and I would put my money on there being a coop full of cackling hens before the month of June has passed.
I AM IN!
An email containing the minutes from the Sumner Community Garden Dessert Social and Meeting of the Gardening Minds has been promised and I will post them as soon as I have them in my possession.
Also, the "Steering Commitee" (thats Answer man and his band of Merry answer men) has decided to open the gardens up for year long gardening. Plot #68 is mine not just for the summer but for as long as I care to keep it. I may now plant winter crops or just a cover crop, if I so desire.
This is so cool.
--It's Fosco, Dammit!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
My taters are poking through...
Beets are up...
Carrots have made their first appearance...
And the peas.
The radishes are looking healthy. That a confidence booster.
And with a view like this...
...who can complain?
--It's Fosco, Dammit!