Workday Recap: May 2019

The good news: we did not have to water today!

The rain provided more than enough! Our group met inside for an hour before braving the elements — you can’t keep a gardener from the dirt!

Now is the time to pull up any winter crops and switch to summer crops. The lettuces, turnips, beets, spinaches aren’t likely to last once the heat comes–and we know it’s on the way! Swiss chard is an exception: leave the center and continue to harvest the outer leaves, and it may last all through summer.

Keep an eye out for pests. This turnip looked healthy on the top, but the underside of the leaves shows small black dots–eggs! Use ONLY organic controls in the garden: diatomaceous earth, insecticidal soap, etc. to discourage pests. Harsher chemicals can affect the good critters we want to encourage in the garden, like pollinators and earthworms, so it is important we protect them by using organic methods.

We also had sad news: this may be the Hines’ last time at the garden. They are moving in June, but have a gift to remember us by: a bug hotel to make their new garden happy!

This is a great time to plant a bunch of things: welcome to peak planting season! Bush beans, peppers, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, eggplant, okra–the list goes on! You can start harvesting onions and garlic or wait a few more weeks. Hold off on harvesting potatoes until the tops of the plant turn brown.

Thank you Loan and Al for the seed donation, and thanks you’re the garden team who sorted and organized all of them! Remember, you are welcome to our donated seeds for the garden or for your home plot!

The weather cleared and we ventured out. Go team onion!

The air around the cleaning table was practically onion soup–that’s good eats!

Mark your calendars for July 4; we plan to once again march in the Homestead neighborhood parade. More details to come. Bring your ideas for a float design!

Our next workday is June 8. See you there!


April 2019 Workday Recap

The winds did blow, the rain did fall, the hail did hammer–but the workday went on! A truly stalwart group attended this month’s savage weather workday, and we accomplished way more than expected!

Gardeners are hardy!

Spring has arrived (with its strange weather). Our Best Bets list is pretty long; now is a great time to plant a wide variety of things, including peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, herbs, squash, green beans, cantaloupe, and, yes, even some okra! Remember, label your crops with the variety, so we can learn from your successes!

While the weather was more clear, we added mulch to the paths, mounded our community potatoes, and added compost to the tires, which we planted with luffa! (Yes, the thing you use in the shower!) We tended the beds, but we didn’t need to water–Mother Nature took care of that for us!

When the weather turned severe, we headed indoors to talk. Mike introduces his compost-sorter; keep an eye out for further improvements! Our engineering minds are continuing to develop the concept.

We also got an update on the greenhouse: unfortunately, the city of Carrollton says there is nothing we can do. The zoning codes for our garden are odd and there are no workarounds for community gardens at this time. Long-term, we can work to either change the city code or get an exception approved by City Council, but that can take a long while. In the meantime, we cannot have a greenhouse. However, we will talk about additional alternatives as a group.

See you at the next workday, Saturday, May 11!

Workday Recap: March 2019

We had a truly marvelous spring day and it was great to see so many of you there!

Also, a special welcome to our four new members! We’re so glad to have you with us.

We began with harvesting, turning compost, and tidying up some community beds. Thank you to the Young Men’s Service League for helping us with our big compost job!

We also filled beds with compost where it was needed. Remember to add compost and turn your soil as you add plants; compost provides great nutrition!

Despite being very early in the season, we donated 26 pounds of produce yesterday, and we have nearly doubled donations from last year!

Greenhouse Update

After conversations with Carrollton’s zoning staff, we have decided to see about getting a special permit for the garden as a whole, including the placement of our greenhouse. Megan is meeting with the city at the earliest availability and after that the process is expected to take 30 to 60 days. The good news is the zoning staff member seemed to think we had a high likelihood of getting our request approved!

We also discussed best bets and current activities. We are most likely past the frost risk, so it is time to start planting for spring! Now is the time to start tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers and much more. As it warms up, this is the optimal time for many varieties.

Remember to grow UP instead of OUT and add something strong for your tomatoes to grow into. The tomato cages at big box stores are NOT strong enough for our bounty!

This year, please pull up any “volunteer” sunflowers you find–let’s only keep invited guests as last year we got a little out of hand for our sunnies. Please also remember to label what you plant to help us when we want to identify the most successful crops.

Our next workday will be Saturday, April 13. See you there!

Workday Recap: February 2019

The air was chill and the sky overcast, but the gardeners were hardy and eager to get to work!

The Young Men’s Service League came out to help, focusing on turning and tidying our compost piles. It was a lot of work but our bins are now in great shape!

Gardeners tidied up beds and laid mulch on weedy areas–our constant battle against Bermuda grass!

We also found some produce to harvest: leafy greens, radishes… and one 11-pound turnip! Way to grow, Scott!

After we got chilly, we went indoors to discuss Best Bets and other garden business. Now is the time for leafy greens, peas, carrots, onions, and potatoes. Plan ahead to leave space for what you will be planting when spring arrives (soon!). If you are germinating seeds at home, try to work on tomatoes. Otherwise, keep an eye on your cold-season crops at the garden.

We discussed the greenhouse situation. After a vote, it was decided we would continue to try to get a variance from the city and hope for a full-sized greenhouse. We are open to your good ideas!

See you next month, March 9, 9 to 11 a.m.!

Workday Recap: January 2019

It was a chilly but very productive day at the garden today, and we welcomed several new gardeners. Thanks to those who made it out!

We started by tidying the garden. We added mulch to beds, turned our (massive!) compost piles, and harvested winter crops. We even made our first donations—cabbages, and some surprise sweet potatoes! Awesome start to the new year!

We had a solid group and got a lot done, but the air was still brisk so we went inside for our meeting.

Dan demonstrated how to plant onion sets and potato eyes, and some of each were available to share and plant. We talked about Best Bets—now is the best time for a limited number of greens, such as spinach, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips, and lettuce. We also offered a quick refresher on Square Foot Gardening (a copy of our recommended book is available to share in the shed–please leave it there so we can all read it!). Now is the time to fertilize and replenish your garden bed with compost.

February will be the prime planting time for many other plants, so come ready!

Greenhouse Update

Bad news on the greenhouse: City guidelines will not currently allow us to have a standalone greenhouse like we were wanting. We can currently add a 2-foot “lean-to” style greenhouse (just for seedlings) attached to the shed, or we can talk to the City to see about getting a zoning variance. Volunteers took on each of these tasks and we will discuss further next workday. We can also use the grant money for other things. Come prepared to help us decide what we should do!

Social Media

Another hot topic that came up today was a way to communicate with all the gardeners. While you are encouraged to make friends with your garden neighbors and help each other out, so far we have not had a linked messaging application, email listserve, or similar to encourage communication among gardeners. Several people thought this would be helpful, so that’s our newest thing to try!

You should have received an email with a list of email addresses of all the gardeners. If you did not get an email, reach out via comment on the blog, on Facebook, or directly to Megan or Dan to see how to remedy this. Please do NOT post your email address or phone number directly on the blog comments, for your own security.

We also discussed several avenues to have a more streamlined conversation method. A few options are listed below, with pros and cons. Please be prepared to help us discuss what option is best for the garden as a whole at the next workday!

Type Pros Cons
Email List Simple to use;

everyone has an email address already;

compatible with all levels of technology

The “reply all” phenomenon can be frustrating;can clutter your inbox;shares email addresses with everyone
Facebook Messenger Already have a Facebook page for the group;

Easy to use;

Easy to chat to individuals as well as the group

Able to control what kind of notifications you receive

Privacy concerns, both with Facebook the company and with the group accessing individual pages;

Everyone has to download the app;

Other Messaging Apps such as Slack, WhatsApp, etc. Easy to use;

Easy to chat to individuals as well as the group

Able to control what kind of notifications you receive

More private (only moderator accesses contact information)

Everyone has to download the app;not every phone may be compatible

Special Thanks

Special Thanks go to Craig for tidying and organizing the shed! That’s no small job! Please remember to clean off your tools with the wire brush hanging by the door. This will both keep things tidy and prevent the spread of disease in our plants!

Our next workday will be 9-11 a.m. on February 9. See you there!

Workday Recap: December 2018

Yet another rained-put workday! Those who did attend were hardy folk, and we actually did accomplish some important work: we used the 80 (yes, 80!) bags of leaves donated to use by our neighbors in Homestead to add another layer of mulch to our pathways. As the leaves break down, we’ll have another layer of protection against weeds!

Mike also helped us clear out the sick asparagus plants. Look at that might tumbleweed!

Otherwise, we retreated indoors. We got the $1000 check (yay!) and started to talk about greenhouse options. We also discussed best bets–mostly spinach and other hearty greens as well as most of the best bets from last month. We talked about the many types of onions (so versatile!) and Al shared a suggestion for lettuce planting we may try.

Here’s a tip on broccoli harvesting: if the top begins to bloom, you should have harvested it yesterday! The flowers don’t taste as good!

We also preliminarily reserved plots for next year. If you missed the meeting, don’t worry! We’ll make plot-picking more official next meeting.

If you know anyone who might want to join the garden, please invite them! It currently looks like we will have several open plots, and we’d love to see some new members!

Thanks to those who made it out! See you all again in January!