Notes from All Garden Meeting 9/20/2015

Minutes of All Garden Meeting
September 20, 2015

Bee Hive report:
Sharon reported that the hive is doing very well; they have enough food to get through the winter. At the end of next season if things keep going as well as they are now, we should have honey to sell.

Giving Garden report:
They will be having a work party on September 26th, 10 to noon to clean up summer garden and plant winter garden. Last winter we started growing food over the winter to donate to the food bank. That went well, so are planning to continue. So far this year, we have donated 940.4 pounds and we are still harvesting. Last year’s total donation was 574 pounds. Good work, Marilyn and Jamila and their team.

Volunteer hours:
Time is getting short to get in your required volunteer hours. There will be work parties for all the Saturdays left before 11-1-15. If you cannot attend these work parties and still need hours, contact Bonnie before 10-5-15 for projects you can do on your own. People have not been doing any of the projects on the posted list so I will not be doing that any more. Gardeners are responsible for recording and reporting their own hours. The email address is always in the Friday emails. Only those people who do not have internet access should report their hours in the book in the tool shed. I will report for them only.

Soil testing:
I would like to have some of the plots soil tested. I think the most reflective process would be to have one gardener in each zone tested. I will also include the giving garden. I am pretty sure that we need to add lime again, but want to make sure we add the right amount and type. Also, Walt’s mixes our fertilizer specially reflecting our special situation so it would be good to see how we stand now. If you are willing to do this, please contact me, Bonnie. It is free and not hard to do.

Fund raising committee:
The committee met and decided projects we need to raise money for. They are as follows:

  • Security- The first item we focused on was securing the tool shed better. Roxanna has found a locking bar which we would use in the winter to add additional protection to the door. We are working at finding a welder who can work on aluminum. We are also planning on reinforcing the panel in the door. The other aspect of security we looked at is making signs that explain that we are growing food for our families and also signage that reflects the work we do with children. Helping people understand our garden better could affect how they behave in our garden. Adding the presence of the youth garden will also add to those who care about our garden.
  • Irrigation: We focused on this because of wanting to utilize our water better. The community is asking everyone to reduce the use of water and we can do that by having more irrigation and less hand watering. Our type of irrigation makes our watering more effective. We need to put irrigation in the common beds, the lawn, and repair sections of the giving garden’s irrigation. We also want to encourage more gardeners to put in the drip irrigation. In the past, we have supplied most of the materials that gardeners need to use, but the supply of hose is getting low and we need to get more.
  • Accessibility: Because of the structure of our garden, accessibility is limited in two important areas. One is by the tool shed. Putting in a good ramp could also help reduce the drainage problem we have there. The other area is where our raised beds are. Those gardeners in that area have to go all the way to the top or bottom of the garden to get to the tool shed. Another area of accessibility that is lacking is actual entering of the tool shed. It is not situated in a way we can add a ramp there, but better stairs with hand rails would make entry saver and easier. Faith, who has experience and contacts in this area will be doing some research for us.
  • Children/Youth involvement: All of the cost of children outreach this year was covered by our contest win from City People’s Nursery, so we will have to cover that in another way this next season. Also, we are just starting our involvement with the Center School, an alternative high school which meets at the Seattle Center. Two of their science teachers have already worked us into their plans for the school year.
  • Grants the fund raising committee is looking at are two at this time. One is a matching fund grant from the city. We need to show how it would benefit our community, which should not be a problem. We can match dollar amounts with volunteer hours, which shouldn’t be a problem considering the amount of volunteer hours that will be necessary to the above projects. The other grants we are looking at a specifically for work with children and youth.
  • One of our gardeners, Clair, worked to qualify for her employer’s donation match. She did 30 hours of volunteer time and submitted the necessary paper work. Her company is donating $250 to the garden. Please check with your employer to see if they have a similar program. Microsoft, Boeing and other companies will donate money in exchange for employee volunteer hours. It can make a difference in our garden.

At this time we have a cold compost system. Signs have been posted at each compost area on how to do composting. There have also been many emails send out about this. Even so, we had someone dump a large amount of plant material in one of the bins without following the procedures posted. If you see someone dumping without chopping, etc., please, nicely, ask them to follow the procedures or contact me with their plot number. There is a map in the tool shed which has the plot numbers on it.
I will be meeting with a lady from GROW to look at our system and help us form a plan for changing over to hot compost.
We really need people to be on the compost team and a new lead. Please contact Bonnie if you are interested or have questions about this. 22 and a ½ hours were recently put into the compost situation last week. Please respect that work and do your part to help keep the compost under control at a time when plots are being cleaned out at a high rate.

Update on children/youth outreach programs:
These are the organizations we are partnering with in this program:

  • Pacific Science Center Day Camps: This was our third season of working with two of their day camps and they are looking forward to next year and may add camps.
  • Children’s Museum Day Camps: First season and they were very pleased with the time they spent with us.
  • Seattle School’s Special programs for sight challenged children: Because of transportation problems, they had to cancel their day camp field trip at the last minute and weren’t able to schedule another day that week. I am working with them to bring a group of children up for fall activities. Now that the teacher strike is over, we are working on setting a date.
  • Center School: This is an alternative high school that meets at the Seattle Center. We have a plot assigned to them and are working with two of their science teachers. The teacher strike slowed us down, but we are now back on track and they will be up to plant soon. We are working at getting the bed cleaned out and ready, so if you are interested please contact Bonnie.
  • Young Child Academy: This is a pre-school that has been involved with us from the first season. They continue to enjoy outings up to the garden and Bonnie goes there to teach also. This group planted the pumpkins last spring and are very excited about coming up and painting their pumpkins.

At this point, we moved into a discussion about winterizing. This is covered in a document sent with these minutes.

At the end of the meeting a gardener brought up the following issues:

  • Waste of water during the summer: She told us she had often observed water running from beds when people water. I told her that I was aware of the watering problem and was going to be proposing the following in the next season:
    • Orientation would include information on good use of watering.
    • Encouraging all gardeners to put in the drip system since it is the most efficient watering of our beds.
    • Reminders at each all garden meeting about our responsibility as gardeners in the p-patch system to use water wisely.
    • Requesting that if gardeners repeatedly see a fellow gardener over watering, to talk politely to their fellow gardener about good use of water.
  • The second concern was expressed about the garden’s response to the homeless shelter being opened on Roy. I explained that the people in charge of this program had contacted me after a public meeting where one of our gardeners had expressed concern. So we have a way to communicate about any problems that might develop. My personal experience with homeless shelters coming into a new neighborhood is that it often cuts down on any problems with homeless people. I also pointed out that we have had only one homeless person cause any difficulty where we had to call security or the police, which is pretty good. She said she still feels uncomfortable up at the garden at times. I encouraged her to put security’s phone number in her phone. I also assured her that I do talk to Center Security and the neighborhood officer that covers our area whenever there are problems and also at other times to help keep us well covered. Another gardener encouraged us to get to know our fellow gardeners to increase the community at the garden and help us know when someone is not part of the garden so we can call for help if needed.

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