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Come See the New Sights Down at the Garland Community Garden

First of all, we have a lovely new sign.  It was just installed this week by employees from our Garland Parks and Recreation Department.  We are very proud of it. Now we will be easy to locate.  Our address is 4022 Naaman School Road –at the light for access to South Brand.

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Hops are here!

Hops at least have a proof of concept regarding the ability to grow them as an urban crop in the DFW area.  In April of this year I talked to several hops growers on the west coast, in Michigan and in Massachusetts.  All the growers told me they thought hops could grow here. They suggested a south/southeast placement in the garden and Cascade as the species of hops.  We planted several Cascade rhizomes in two 55-gallon drums.  One of the two barrels got a few hours less sun each day than the other one and it so far has no flowers. 

The flowers are still very small.  I don’t know if it’s because they are not mature yet, or if this is it.  We’ll see.  Next year we will find a willing member and plant several rhizomes on the south side of their home to further explore the economic viability of hops as an urban crop.

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Monarchs mating in the grass at the Garland Community Garden—another reason to not use herbicides on your lawn

Monarchs are here!

The garden is filled with monarchs.  Most of these monarchs are the third generation this year.  They are mating now and females will be laying eggs on milkweed. Those that make it to adulthood (less than 5% in the wild) will be the fourth generation who fly to the highlands of central Mexico for the winter. 

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Buffalo Grass is here.

The buffalo grass is a huge success.  Buffalo grass is the only native turf grass in North America.  It is reported to not need mowing and to need less than 1/3 the amount of water required for St. Augustine and Bermuda.  We ordered the seeds and planted this plot back in April.  I had my serious doubts about it towards the end of May as I had to keep beating back the Bermuda grass.  Finally, however, the Buffalo grass took hold.  I really like it, but I realize it’s not for everyone and for all purposes.  For example, I can’t imagine putting on it, but I can imagine sleeping on it.  It is so soft.  If you visit the garden, take off your shoes and walk on it.  You’ll see what I mean.  It feels so good!

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The Blackland Prairie Sampler and Hugelkultur are here!

Our Blackland Prairie Sampler is progressing nicely.  We have several native grasses in it along with some prairie flowers.  Most of the smaller plants in this bed we grew from seeds ordered from Native Americans.  The more mature grasses in the plot (Little Bluestem and Maidenhead) we purchased from a local nursery.  In the photo above you can see the Blackland Prairie Sampler in the background.  In the foreground is our first hugelkultur.  The little green plants you see growing on it are peanuts which one of our members, Kevin Keeling, along with members of the North Garland High School Key Club, planted August 29, 2015.  The hugelkultur is yet another of our urban gardening experiments.  According to some, the hugelkultur is supposed to need no water (except in extreme drought) and no amendments to the soil for twenty years.  We’ll see. To create this bed, large rotting logs are placed on top of the soil, smaller twigs next, then followed by various layers of organic matter including manure.  The bed is topped off with a layer of compost or fine mulch.  The best time to build them is in the fall.

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And there is so much more to see down at the garden!

Amaranth--an ancient grain you can see in many places down at the Garland Community Garden

  • A pawpaw tree – We recently discovered a pawpaw tree growing near the edge of the riparian area between the garden and the creek.  It’s a rather large tree and it has one pawpaw growing at its tiptop.  Pawpaws are a bit like papayas, but we don’t see them in our grocery stores because they don’t keep well and have difficulty surviving that average 1,500 miles that our food usually travels to make it to the shelves of our grocery stores.  No doubt this pawpaw tree was in the yard of someone’s home that was once located in this area.  We plant to put a sign identifying the tree.
  • Medicine Wheel – Our medicine wheel has been spruced up and enclosed with a brick pathway that was installed last month by members of the North Garland High School Key Club.
  • The Loofah Tunnel—Like the sweet potatoes we have growing all over the garden, the loofah tunnel is in a prolific mode as well.  We have some huge loofahs.  During the October Marketplace we will have a demonstration showing folks how to peel a loofah and save the seeds.  In late October we plan a Saturday Sweet Potato Harvest Fest.
  • Amaranth - an ancient grain, grown by the Aztecs is found throughout the garden.  We will be selling its seeds in October.

 

JOIN US FOR OUR END OF MONTH SATURDAY WORKDAY!

This Saturday (September 26, 2015) Loving Garland Green members will be down in the Garden from 7:30 to 9:30 AM.    We invite you to join us.  You can watch us work.

 

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015