Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Plan

Here's what we're trying to accomplish this growing season:

From: Todd Marti & Glen Demott

To: Gardening Group

Date: April 3, 2010

Re: Garden plan for 2010


This memorandum sets out our proposal for the 2010 UALC community garden. Section I discusses the allocation of space within the garden, Section II discusses harvesting and distribution of the crops, section III sets out a time line for accomplishing the tasks involved, and section IV discusses the resources needed. The Appendix to this memo lays out the use of the beds in the New Garden that we suggest.

We have not discussed the children’s garden. That’s not because it won’t be part of this year’s garden, but because we understand that Kelly and Carol will be designing and managing that part of the garden.

We want to stress that this is only our proposal. The garden belongs to all of us, so we should all agree on whatever plan we come up with. However, we are already into the gardening season itself, so we need to settle on a plan as soon as possible.

I. Allocation of space.

We view the garden as consisting of two areas. The first is the new garden immediately to the South of the Mill Run Church building (“New Garden”). Other is all of the area we have been gardening for the last two years, to the east of the parking lot (“Old Garden”). This section discusses both gardens.

A. The New Garden.

This garden consists of 28 4 foot x 50 foot beds and a yet unplanned set of additional beds along its south side that will be set aside for a children’s garden.

We suggest that we produce three crops in the New Garden. In order to make that suggestion understandable, we need to explain how those beds are allocated. Our proposal for using the beds is set out in chart attached as the Appendix to this memorandum. It will be helpful to have that in front of you as you read this.

The spring crop would mostly in the eight beds that Glen will manage (beds 1 through 8), and several, not many, of the other beds. We anticipate planting some mix of turnips, beets, and greens in those beds. As discussed below, these crops will be supplemented by the spring crops we suggest be planted in the Old Garden.

The summer crops will be primarily produced in beds 9 through 26. They will largely consist of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, and okra. Those beds (except those containing the okra) will be irrigated with soaker hoses and covered with black plastic. The beds with okra will also be irrigated with soaker hoses, but will be mulched with newspaper and straw instead of plastic. We’d like to get all those beds prepared by early May, and actually plant the crops in mid-May.

We also anticipate summer crops in beds 1 through 8, the beds that Glen will be managing. Some will be follow on crops after the spring crops grown there are harvested, and some will be planted in Mid may in space not occupied by spring crops. The details of this have not yet been worked out.

It is worth noting that the summer crops in the New Garden may be supplemented by similar crops in the Old Garden if it remains available through the summer.

We anticipate most of the fall crops being in beds 17 through 23, the beds the squash and zucchini will be in from May though mid-August. Those beds would be used to grown greens and/or turnips. We anticipate planting them in mid-August, and those crops being ready harvest in late September or early October. These crops may be supplemented by fall crops in the Old Garden if it remains available.

B. The Old Garden.
This part of the plan has a fair amount of uncertainty in it because we don’t know how far into the growing season the Old Garden will remain available. We do know that we’ll be able to do a spring crop, but beyond that the rest of this part of the plan is conjecture.

We suggest a spring crop of turnips and beets in the rows we tilled in the east end of the Old Garden last fall. We anticipate planting those rows during the April 13 work day for the folks from the Wellington School. Those crops would be ready for harvest sometime in early June.

If we will have access to the land through the rest of the growing season, we propose that those rows be replanted with some sort of fast maturing summer crop, perhaps zucchini or yellow squash. That would be replaced by a fall crop of greens after the squash/zucchini have stooped producing.

II. Harvesting and Distribution.

One thing we learned last year is the large amount of time involved in harvesting and distributing the crops. We need to do it on a more regular basis and have help from beyond our core group. Several points need improvement.

First, we need to be more systematic about harvesting, doing it on the same days each week. Once the summer crops really start producing (probably around July 1), we should harvest twice a week, perhaps on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If at all possible, we should get them to wherever they’re going the next day (if not the same day). We also need to be meticulous about weighing and logging what we produce and where it goes.

Second, we need to designate folks within our core group that will take responsibility for recruiting and coordinating harvesting volunteers and the ac tual delivery of the crops once they are harvested. Kelly and Glen are perhaps the best candidates for this. Perhaps they could recruit SALT & Renewal groups as pools of volunteers, in addition to whatever individuals are recruited.

Third, we need a place to store the crops between the time they are harvested and delivered. One option would be to harvest in the evening, load the crops directly into the vehicle they’ll be delivered in, and the deliver first thing in the morning. Another would be to store them in the inside loading dock area of the Mill Run Church, although this would require that we get them out of there and delivered the first thing the next morning.

III. Timeline

Here are the tasks we would need to complete to execute this plan, and the dates we need to get them done by:

April 13 Spring crops planted in the Old Garden.

April 17 Matt completes the rest of the beds.

May 15 Beds 9 through 26 ready for planting, water hook up installed, fence completed.

May 15-22 Summer crops planted in beds 9 through 26, start watering weekly as needed

June 1-30 Recruit and organize harvesting volunteers.

June 15 Spring crops off Old Garden, start planting summer crops if the land is available.
Side dress crops in beds 9 through 26

June 30 Start harvesting from beds 9 through 26 at least weekly.

Aug. 1 Squash/Zucchini out of beds 17-24

August 15 Fall crops planted in beds 17-24.

Oct. 31 Prepare beds for next year.

IV. Resources needed

Here’s what we’ll need to execute this plan, exclusive of what we’ll need for the children’s garden and the beds that Glen will be managing:

Additional rails & corner posts for fence
Gate materials for fence
Rabbit fencing**
Blood meal*
Turnip seeds**
Mustard green seeds**
1,400 feet of soaker hose**
3,600 feet of black plastic
10-10-10 fertilizer*
Okra seeds
32 zucchini plants
32 squash plants
100 pepper plants
200 tomato plants
200 tomato cages**
Straw for Okra rows in New Garden, between rows in the old Garden.
Newspapers for Okra rows in New Garden, between rows in the old Garden.
Boxes for harvesting

* Materials already on hand/available
** Materials partially on hand

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