My van “died” again so I can only go where my feet will take me. If you go to the garden ( call and I can walk up there in about 10-15 min.)
“Are you interested/willing to be a mostly self-sufficient neighborhood garden so that I can put more time into starting more community gardens?”
Yes, but we need to discuss the logistics of that. (The property owner's contact info and written permission to be there and use water may be good to have if you leave to start another one.)
I think leadership is essential. When something is used by everyone, but managed by no one it inevitably deteriorates as is the “tragedy of the commons”.
While my duties first, as a mother of (almost) seven children, and second as a small business owner, may give me much management experience and insight, it is better to do a few things well than many things poorly. The precedence of such responsibilities constrain me to responsibly avoid making another large commitment. I can offer advise and consultation, but prefer someone else to be the main contact / organizer.
- Are you willing to help with fundraising if needed? (Perhaps a "local food dinner" served at the County building, or at First Lutheran Church?
This also depends on who/how many will be participating, and what they are willing to commit to, as well as if it becomes a “self-sufficient neighborhood garden,” and what we mean by that.
When things cost (be it monetarily, or in labor), it produces value. People don't care about/ take care of what they don't value (those that don't care often take advantage the efforts of those that do). To prevent this, I think those involved should be required to do their part to contribute in some way.
Additionally, for any public or community entity to garner sponsorship, it really should prove itself worthy of such sponsorship. For the garden to be worthy of community support, it should contribute to the community (not only to those involved) by means of marketable goods/ services such as selling produce, compost, seeds, etc. (at the farmer’s market perhaps) I think this would be a better idea than hosting a “dinner”. Nevertheless, consider that if people struggle to meet up, how can they commit/ contribute to any fundraising event? Therefore I am against ongoing charitable “fundraising” events or dependence upon such things to raise money because I simply don’t think people want or have time to commit themselves to that kind of endeavor.
Ultimately, if this becomes a self-sufficient neighborhood garden, then I favor calculating and splitting the cost for commonly used & needed items ( hoses, irrigation equipment, some tools) between those involved. This may require someone to assume the position of a treasurer. It really depends on who and how many people are involved.
A self-sufficient neighborhood garden would do well to draw up, “a plan that suits everyone & so that they keep their same space from 2011 year forward,”
I have ideas on how to do this, but we need to establish a consensus of involvement.
“ -Is there a volunteer(s) that I can teach about the drip irrigation system?”
Also I agree that someone must learn the drip irrigation system. I volunteer for that if no one else is available. I've been wanting to learn about it anyway (It also had some leaks and I was wondering how to repair them, etc.). Did not know much about it last year so I just used the hose (which was in poor shape).
Row covers sound great to me (I was not sure where to get any) since there was a bit of a bug problem and many of my seedlings got eaten last year. I think it would be good since most of us can't patrol for insects on a daily basis. Not sure what kind you were thinking, I'd like to try the kind with hoops to grow brassicas, etc.) we may need to consider a storage solution for when they are not in use.
I think before any investments are made, we discuss who and/ or how many will be participating, and what funds we have available, and deal with needs (like repairing the gate, ensuring the water system is in order --no leaks and a hose that reaches all beds, and perhaps getting some kind of pruning tool for fall clean up of big things.)
Donations to the CARE pantry went well for us, I just wish we had more of a variety of things to offer. We mostly had zucchini (lots of it, so I hope they did not get sick of them) and tomatoes ( which sometimes got squished or cracked before they could get donated. This year I'd like to grow more things (but needed more space last year).
Which leads me to addressing:
“How much space do you want next year?”
With our large family we consume more, so naturally could use more space. Space for everyone depends upon who and/ or how many will also be participating. I discussed with Randolph about taking over his space (perhaps leaving my two half rows to Melissa, as this would be a natural extension of her space if they still want to be involved.) I have garlic planted in the lower two beds west of Sue (so they are occupied until summer).
How can we set up the borders so that everyone can contribute to their upkeep yet no one gets overwhelmed by them?
One suggestion is better access to all the individual plots (suggestions below) and perhaps assigning border maintenance to those nearest that boarder (depending on how many individual plots there are). Another idea is to have group work days where everyone involved commits to working together (but if people can’t meet up I don’t see this happening successfully.)
I think to have a pathway through the center (N-S) instead of hopping over rows, as well as widening the ones around the edges for easier access would be beneficial to improve access. Then maintaining them with mulch (see method below). I’d also propose we re-work the location/ size of the Herb bed in the center and widen the path to the shed.
One method for preventing weeds in pathways (and starting weed-free beds and boarders) that really works well for me ( because it is relatively easier on the back than constant weeding, and fairly inexpensive) is to lay soaking wet newspapers ( not colored or glossy) several (7-10) sheets thick / or soaking wet plain brown cardboard (no glossy ink or tape) 18-24 inches wide over the leveled path (smothering weed remnants), then cover with weed fabric, then cover with mulch (straw, leaves, wood chips, any thing organic that looks nice and is easy to walk on-- rocks not recommended as they may find their way into a bed where you don't want them)
The paper products prevent sunlight from reaching the weeds underneath and hinder their growth. The moisture keeps the “mat” from blowing away until it can make contact with the ground, the weed fabric further prevents weeds from breaking through and/or weed seeds from rooting down. While not essential ( I have gotten away without the fabric), but with heavy traffic I’d suggest it’s use as sometimes my paper material got kicked to the surface and I had to re-smooth it down.
-How can all participants keep up with harvest and weeding all the way until the garden is put to bed for the winter?
Let’s communicate more! If someone can only garden for a season, then let’s make that known in consideration of others who may desire more space so they can use that area the next season when the first person is done.
If you go on a long vacation, get really sick, change jobs, etc.( or just want to “call it quits!” ) it benefits you to inform someone (this is where leadership kicks in) so we can help manage water, weed, donate produce, fend off insects etc. otherwise all that effort goes to waste and people are left wondering what happened to you as your plot wanes into disarray.
I propose we have an e-mail/ contact list so we can better communicate. I started a face book group entitled “Tahlequah Community Garden” all you have to do is join the group (many are on fecebook already, and this seems to work better for a group than e-mail or phone calls). Then we can all keep one another posted publicly about whatever advise, questions, concerns, ideas, successes, and failures that may go on and deal with them quickly.
- Do you want to work together to coordinate a bulk seed order?
I’d like to know where from? Sounds good, but again, we need to work out what people are willing to commit to first and what everybody’s plans are.
I suggest a seed exchange if you have extra seeds or are looking for something particular, post that on the face-book page so everyone can see/know. You my find someone has or knows where to find what you are looking for.