Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
17 March 2016
- If you volunteered for the plant sale update your hours in the Green Binder.
- There are still tomatoes, peppers and herbs for sale, $1.00 each.
Happy Spring at SCG!
For gardeners this is the best time of year and SCG looks beautiful. The Poppies are blooming all over the garden and spring vegetables are being planted everywhere. Check out the Iris garden which will soon be in full bloom. Be sure and welcome new gardeners and offer help to your neighbor if they need someone strong to pull up some weeds, dig a hole or push a heavy wheelbarrow to the compost pile.
What it means to be a Community Gardener
-- written by Valerie French
A wise gardener commented recently that we should not describe the process of providing spaces to garden as "plot rental". What Sunshine Community Gardens provides is not a 20x20' piece of private property, but the opportunity to commit to gardening. Sunshine gardeners are not 'renters', but stewards.
Tenancy is a legal relationship: the tenant has responsibilities to the landlord usually detailed in a long document with small print, mostly involving paying rent on time and leaving everything in working order at the end of the lease. Paying rent is a good and necessary start - but it isn't gardening.
Each plot in Sunshine Community Gardens is a garden - a piece of land intended for the cultivation of plants. Cultivating plants requires ongoing commitments: to till, to plant, to water, to weed, to maintain, to harvest, and to clear for the next season so it can all be done again. Gardening is something like a job: if you don't show up regularly, the tomatoes die, the flowers droop, and you don't get 'paid'. And eventually the garden stops being a garden.
In a community garden, failing to tend a garden has immediate and wider effects. For most of the year, a garden can be overrun by weeds within two weeks. Plants that are not tended become insect breeding grounds. In mid-summer, unharvested produce rots on the vine, and the rats come for it. The neighboring gardeners - and neighbors are rarely more than three feet away - battle weed-seeds, runners, insects, and vermin attracted or bred by the failing garden. They cannot address the source of the problem without trespassing on their neighbor gardener, violating both written rules and basic courtesy. For the same reason, what produce there is goes to waste instead of being harvested and donated to a food bank, or simply eaten. Those who have volunteered to help maintain the organization spend their time policing "messy plots" instead of helping the community as a whole, and become burned out and disillusioned. Gardens that "return to nature" cannot be left there: eventually, someone will have to uproot the weeds and re-create the garden.
And then there is the wider community. It includes the people waiting for a space to garden here; the Micah 6 Food Bank and its constituents; the many people who stood in line to buy our tomato and pepper plants this spring; our landlord, the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; and the State of Texas that ultimately owns the land. To all these people, we represent that we use this space to garden, and we are all responsible to them as well.
These outside commitments - to other gardens, to the organization, to the wider community - make community gardening an act of stewardship: an ethical responsibility.
As Board secretary, I have seen and participated in closely-reasoned legal arguments referencing the Site Rules and Bylaws point-by-point, mathematical debates about the acceptable ratios of weeds to vegetables, and the fine procedural points of mailing and verifying receipt of "clean-it-up" notices. These distract from the ultimate point. If the natural law theory applies anywhere, it ought to be here, and that higher law is this:
- Each plot is a garden. Therefore, each plot should be readily identifiable as a garden (i.e., space used for the cultivation of plants), and each plot needs at least one gardener (i.e., person actively engaged in cultivating plants).
That simple. The purpose of our organization is to provide opportunities to garden, to ensure that each garden has a gardener or gardeners that take care of it, and that the gardens as a whole are maintained and are an asset to the wider community.
Equally, every single gardener here has a duty to tend the land that has been entrusted to them as a garden, and to maintain it as an asset for themselves and for the wider community.
Please make certain your plot has a gardener this spring.
One of things we can be really proud of at SCG is the fresh vegetables we provide to Micah 6. We usually donate 50-100 pounds per week. Last week we delivered 36.5 pounds.
How Can You Help?
- DO NOT let the vegetables from your garden go to waste!
- If you can't harvest because you are out of town or busy, complete the signup process below and allow the Micah 6 volunteers to harvest your produce.
- If you are harvesting to make room for spring plants and can't use it all, donate your produce.
- How to donate your produce:
- If you are harvesting vegetables from your plot for donation, place them in plastic bags available in the "cool room" and put them in the refrigerator in the trailer.
- To sign up for someone to harvest in your plot, follow the directions posted in the "cool room" in the trailer or on the bulletin board outside the tool shed. You are asked to place a flag (located in the "cool room") in the plot and then post your specific directions on what can be harvested on the white board in the "cool room" along with your plot number. Also, use a "green dot" which is provided to locate your plot on the map located on the wall next to the white board. More details are provided on the posted directions.
- Harvesting is done on Thursdays and/or Fridays. Depending on the number of donations, deliveries are made Thursdays from 3:00 to 3:30 PM and Saturdays from 9:00 to 9:30 AM.
- We need planters, harvesters, weeders and deliverers.
- Contact Mary Gifford (firstname.lastname@example.org / 512-453-9742) or Dana Kuykendall (Kuykendall@austin.rr.com / 512-496-6575) if you would like to volunteer. You will find find Mary in her garden. It is in front of the tool shed. Stop by and talk to her if you have questions.
- Volunteer hours count towards service hours.
Sunday, April 17th
12:00 - 3:30 pm
You are invited to participate in an opportunity to win the $1,000 as top prize in the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-off. Contestants will be competing for the best tasting vegan chili. Gardeners could win top prize using their own home grown fruits and vegetables!
- All ingredients must be plant based.....perfect for backyard gardeners!
- A high-spirited event that's also fun, healthy, animal and earth-friendly.
- A chance to win multiple cash prizes and trophies.
- Celebrity Judges and popular vote determine winners.
- Family friendly event with delicious food, fun activities, exhibits, music, contests.
- Conveniently located in Round Rock.
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Jeff Monks email@example.com
- Vice President - Jim Willmann firstname.lastname@example.org
- Secretary - Shannon Posern email@example.com
- Treasurer - Caroline Limaye firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Michael Hall email@example.com
- Director - Kay McMurry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Katy Davis email@example.com
- Zone 1, Martin Morales firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 2, Katy Davis email@example.com
- Zone 3, Ludmila Voskov firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 4, Ila Falvey email@example.com
- Zone 5, Mary Gifford firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 6, Charlotte Jernigan email@example.com
- Zone 7, Jing Li firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 8, Irina Kadukova email@example.com
- Zone 9, Kerry Howell firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 10, Christopher Schroder email@example.com
- Weekly Weeder Newsletter - Margaret Powis firstname.lastname@example.org
- Plant Sale - Michael Hall email@example.com
- TSBVI Liason & Volunteer Coordinator - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Plot Rental - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Compost Coordinator - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Compost Tea - Jennifer Woertz email@example.com
- Education Committee - Shannon Posern firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carpentry & Repairs - Robert Jarry email@example.com
- Water Leak Repairs - Steve Schulz firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tools & Wheelbarrows - Bob Easter email@example.com
- Compost Tea - Jennifer Woertz firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website Coordinator - Sharon Rempert email@example.com
Record Service Hours Online - the Virtual Green Binder