Organic Carrots (8 pounds 14 ounces $12.78) from my garden and Organic Cherry Tomatoes from Charlie’s garden (1 pound $4.05) and five sprigs of fresh organic rosemary from my garden (not shown) $3.00 Total estimated dollar value $29.06 [Infused water made with various organic fruit for the staff at Good Sam’s]
Today Jane Stroud (President Loving Garland Green) and I delivered fresh produce to the Garland Good Samaritans from the NGHS Environmental Club’s citizen scientist garden plot at the Garland Community Garden (squash, green beans, okra, cucumbers, onions, and eggplant). To date that plot has yielded over 48 pounds total (over $108 in dollar value). Twenty-six pounds of this has been donated to the Garland Good Samaritans.
Organic grapes 3 pounds 14 ounces - Dollar Value 1.49 cents pound $9.23—delivered from my front yard to the Good Samaritans June 20, 2017—grown in the space that once supported a front lawn.
Today we also included vegetables and fruit from my garden and from Charlie’s garden as shown in the photo above. Margie Rodgers, one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green also stopped in at Good Sam’s today to deliver from her garden.
Spreading Urban Gardens by Living Examples
Four of the eight 27-gallon pots that Loving Garland Green installed at the Garland Good Samaritans in April of 2017. All eight pots are thriving and producing beans like crazy. We also planted calendulas, an edible flower for color. In one of the pots, Pam Swendig, the director of the Garland Good Sam’s also planted corn, which is thriving with the beans. That’s the thing about dreams. We have to let other folks in on the creativity and add to the community stone soup. No one person has the corner on ideas. (Not even you or me.) We are all in this community together. The more we contribute our ideas and experience, the better our community becomes. The corn Pam planted in the pot with the beans will no doubt produce some corn.
Bringing the Garden to the People
Imagine our city with pockets of not only organic gardens grown by ordinary citizens like me and you, but also of small organic truck farms operating on land in neighborhoods throughout Garland. Some of these truck farms would even have a few chicken coops and perhaps a tiny home where the chief steward for that operation lives.
Imagine walking to your neighborhood truck farm with your family to buy some produce once or twice a week. That’s my dream for my community and as one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green,
I am working to bring that dream into reality. Three of the most tangible results include my front yard in which most of the lawn has been replaced by fruit trees, grape vines, blackberry bushes and a few veggie plots; the Garland Community Garden which has expanded from one 32 square foot plot in 2014 to a planted space of over 3,000 square feet today; and eight 27 gallon containers installed at the Garland Good Samaritans in April of 2017.
The Garland Community Garden, also a Certified Wildlife Habitat, Shares It Bounty with Critters
Here is one of 12 ears of our Aztec Black corn that was half eaten on the night of June 19th, 2017. It was a raccoon, an opossum or perhaps even a squirrel.
We share the Garland Community Garden with an adjoining riparian area that is filled with wildlife ranging from field mice to several owls. No doubt there are probably raccoons and opossums as well and who knows what else? I certainly don’t venture into that wooded thicket that separates us from the creek and ultimately the Tollway.
In fact, the Garland Community Garden is one of few community gardens in the USA to be certified as a USA wildlife habitat—due in great part to our adjoining riparian area that provides habitat for all kinds of creatures. I’ve even seen a roadrunner (chaparral) dashing out into the garden for a juicy insect perhaps.
I wasn’t all that surprised when I surveyed the damage to three rows of Aztec Black corn this afternoon. But I would be a liar if I didn’t say I was disappointed. We are planning to use this corn as part of our Fall Harvest celebration the first Saturday in November when we harvest sweet potatoes. At this point there is still enough left to carry on with our plans to grind it into corn meal and make taco chips for the guests to sample.
For some reason the critter(s) didn’t touch the Oaxacan Green Corn or the Bantam. But they went after the Aztec Black with the dedication of Carry Nation with an axe. It took a toll of 12 ears of corn—each one about half-eaten.
Taking Action the Organic Way
An owl, donated to Loving Garland Green by Kevin Keeling, and a garden flower propeller were installed this afternoon in the Garland Community Corn Patch (June 20, 2017) to frighten critters. Being an organic garden as well as a wildlife habitat, we don’t use chemicals and we don’t kill or even trap animals.
Update June 21, 2017 First Day of summer
Garland Community Garden Bantam Sweet Corn Patch 7 AM - 6/21/2017
(Notice the opportunist corn moth already laying eggs on the cob. Nature, ever the scavenger, moves quickly.)
Well the score is not good for the human team but it's great for the opossum, squirrel or raccoon team. The critters took out additional corn. This time none from the Aztec Black. Instead this time it ate from the Oaxacan Green and our Bantam Sweet Corn. All total at least 17 ears of corn--not quite half of the total yield from this patch.
Lessons Learned so far:
1. The Aztec Black, Oxacan Green, and Burpee's Bantam corn grow very well in our area. They can be grown closely together and they produce two ears per stalk which is great. All are from open pollinated, heirloom seed.
2. The corn will be fenced in next year with some kind of fencing designed to keep four legged pests out. We would do it today but next year due to crop rotation the beans will be planted in the corn patch and the corn in the bean patch.
For our celebration in November I will try to find some Oaxacan Green and Aztec Black kernels to make into corn meal for taco chips.