Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
15 April 2015
Potluck and Book Signing
Sunday, 19th April, 5:00 pm at the (newly renovated) trailer
We are celebrating the success of the plant sale as well as providing an opportunity for us all to meet and build community in our community garden. Trisha Shirey will be there to answer gardening questions and sell and autograph her books. Her latest book will cost $21.60 and can be paid for by check, credit card, or cash (correct change is always appreciated).
Report on Saturday's Workday
Despite threat of inclement weather, gardeners came out April 11 for a successful work day. The trailer was cleaned, the tool shed swept, the fence line weedeatered, the green houses and pathways deweeded, and the hackberries hacked. A big thank you to Anita, Andrew, Anna, Ray, Polly, Jihong, Michael, Jinling, Alison, Arash, and Steve.
Compost Tea Available this Weekend, 18th-19th
Compost tea will be available on Saturday and Sunday in the south greenhouse. Please bring a gallon container. Gardeners are limited to 1 gallon each. The tea will continue to be available during the planting season.
Note From the President
The following article was written in 2008 by Valerie French who was the secretary of Sunshine for four years. In my opinion, this article is so relevant that the gardeners of Sunshine should have access to it.
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.
Annual Research Symposium at St. Edwards
Wednesday, 22nd April, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm.
Carter Auditorium. Free to the Public
The 3rd Annual Research Symposium for the Professional Science Master's program in Environmental Management and Sustainability at St. Edwards University on (Earth Day) Wednesday April 22nd, 2015 from 6-8pm. The results of our community garden research project will be shared with the public.
Topics include anthropogenic stressors on wildlife, community gardens, tick abundance, sea level rise and ecosystem services. Free and open to the public!
What to Plant in April
All month: Amaranth, Bean, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, M uskmelon, Okra, Peanuts, Peppers, Pumpkin, Southern Pea, Squash, Sweet Potato, Tomatillo, Tomato transplants, Watermelon.
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Ila Falvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice-President - Janet Adams email@example.com
- Secretary - Ginny Heilman firstname.lastname@example.org
- Treasurer - Jack Reynolds email@example.com
- Director - Michael Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Director - vacant
- Zone 1, Jody Trendler 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 Kaducova email@example.com
- Zone 9, Cheryl Hazeltine 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 jartdaht@gmailcom
- Plot Rental - Kay McMurry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carpentry & Repairs - Robert Jarry email@example.com
- Water Leak Repairs - Stewart Nichols firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tools & Wheelbarrows - Bob Easter email@example.com
- Website Coordinator - Sharon Rempert firstname.lastname@example.org
Record Service Hours Online - the Virtual Green Binder