Chris Savage - Vice President Loving Garland Green - At the July 2015 Work Morning Event
Garden Work Morning
Garland Community Garden - 4022 Naaman School Road - Garland 75040
Saturday August 29, 2015
7AM to 9AM
Come on down to the garden and watch us work. We will have coffee (donation requested). Bring your own cup. No, we won’t be so crass as to ask you to roll up your sleeves and pitch in, but our members will be there to talk with you as we work and answer questions you may have. Of course if you want to pitch in, I’m rather certain that no one will complain. I know that I wouldn't.
Scheduled Work Activities:
- Install a Hugelkultur bed [It’s been waiting (logs rotting) since May.]
- Build the brick path around the Medicine Wheel Garden
- Add Azomite and Calcium amendments to the soil and plants.
Scheduled Loofah Shucking Demonstration: 9:00 AM
Either Charlie Bevilacqua or Liz Berry will demonstrate how to shuck a loofah and turn it into a bath sponge that you can sell. The loofah is a member of the cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family. Loofahs can be eaten while still small and green. Once they get to be eight to ten inches long, they are too fibrous.
Growing loofahs (or luffas as they are sometimes spelled) promises (like blackberries and okra) to be an excellent commercial urban crop to grow here in Garland. Last year we grew 24 from a five-gallon bucket down at the garden and sold them in the fall at the Garland Marketplace for a profit of $24. This year we expanded that operation a bit. Charlie built a loofah tunnel. In spite of a critter (opossum or armadillo) living in our riparian area that loves to dig them up, the loofah vines have survived and are now producing loofahs.
In addition to bath and kitchen scrubbers, the loofah offers many other advantages. For example, if you have a sunny backyard with no place for the kiddie pool, or a cool place for your lawn chair, you can build an inexpensive arbor with rebar and wire. Here in Garland, if you plant loofah seed in late May, you can expect a shady spot with lovely yellow flowers by mid-July and the beginning of loofahs by the middle of August. Bees and other pollinators love the big yellow flowers, which last up to the first killing frost. PLUS you can eat them and sell some of them as bath scrubbers from your driveway—much more profitable than a lemonade stand.
Kale Transplants on my front porch waiting to be "monetized"
Individual Urban Farmer Plant Sale Demonstration: 7:00 AM to 10:00AM
Instead of throwing away the plants you thin out, put them in a pot and sell them!
This is an experiment—an inspiration that happened upon me a few days ago. One of Loving Garland’s Green’s missions is to encourage ordinary citizens like us to grow some of the food they eat and also to encourage people by our example to use urban farming in their own yards as a means of providing supplemental income.
It occurred to me as I was thinning out my winter kale seedlings that I could transplant some of them to pots and sell them. I’m often reading these stories on the Internet about how people can make thousands of dollars a year just by growing seedlings and selling them out of their driveway. We’ll see.
So far, I’ve gathered 50 kale transplants and 15 zinnia transplants. I’ll be adding a couple of amaranths, and some other seedlings to the mix. Most of them I will sell for fifty cents each. I’ll have them on the table with the coffee on Saturday. The plant sale will be small--likely only 100 or so plants. This is to demonstrate the possibility of the individual urban farmer--not the organization [although all proceeds will go to Loving Garland Green]. Yes, I'll also sell some seeds that I've saved. Below is a photo of some french radish seeds. I also have yarrow, dill, and other seeds for sale too.
Next spring I plan to do this on a larger scale and with plants that are difficult to find in the stores—Bee Balm and milkweed to name two—both of which are essential for butterflies and butterfly gardens.
Monarchs in the Garland Community Garden August 22, 2015
Come to See the Monarchs!
If you need another reason, then come to see the Monarchs. They are in our garden now—darting here and there.
Monarchs hatching from eggs deposited in late August through mid September will be the fourth generation this year. This is the special generation that will fly to the highlands of central Mexico. Unlike the first, second and third generation Monarchs who only live 6 to 8 weeks, the fourth generation, who emerge in late September, to mid October, will live six months. They are the generation that migrates and overwinters in Mexico. In March they will mate in Mexico and then deposit their eggs on milkweed in northern Mexico and southern Texas in late March or early April before they expire after a long life (by Monarch standards). The Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed. Thus, the Monarchs belong to a group of about 300 species who will only use the milkweed for a host plant. The status of many of these species is endangered because encroaching urbanization combined with the zealous use of herbicides such as Roundup have destroyed much of the milkweed which was once abundant along our roadsides. Even if folks don't want to go all out with a formal butterfly garden, it might be nice if they would still plant a few milkweed on their "back forty."
HOPE TO SEE YOU IN THE GARDEN ON SATURDAY!