Garland Mayor Doug Athas assisted in one of the installations! The mayor, like many mayors of large cities, understands the importance of urban agriculture in his city. But our Mayor goes the extra mile and helps to install "Another Urban Garden" at the home of a local Garland family.
Two Urban Garden have been installed so far this weekend.
One installation was performed by a Loving Garland Green board member, Robert Opel, on Friday. This installation took place in south Garland at the home of Jean Shortsleeve. The second garden was installed in north Garland this Saturday morning with the assistance of the Kahl family, our mayor, and several members of Loving Garland Green. These two gardens are part of a program sponsored by Loving Garland Green. It's called "Another Urban Garden."
As you can see from the photos of these two installations, each urban garden is different and is designed to accommodate the particular space and needs of the Garland resident requesting an installation. As long as we can scrape together the funding and/or scrounge enough free raw materials from local street corners, members of Loving Garland Green have pledged over 200 hours of free labor to be dedicated to these efforts to assist residents of Garland in starting their own urban garden in 2014.
Just as location is key to successful real estate, location and soil are key to a successful garden. In a soil mix of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 garden soil and compost, 1/3 peat moss, we are convinced that just about any vegetable on the planet will thrive. Soil needs to be light and fluffy. A good rule of thumb is that one is able to stick one's entire index finger into the soil easily. If this is not possible, add vermiculie and peat moss. Another feature of this soil mix is that it holds water and thus helps conserve water. With mulch on top once the plants have reached a few inches in height, watering will be even further reduced.
The purpose of "Another Urban Garden" is to increase the number of gardens in Garland. Study after study indicates that urban agriculture strengthens local economies by creating new markets and strengthening existing markets. Each person who signs up for assistance from Loving Garland Green with establishing their garden also agrees for the first year to keep records of their garden--what grows well, what does not, crop yields, and estimates of the total market value of their crops produced. Loving Garland Green will compile this information on a monthly basis beginnng June 1 of this year into monthly reports.
ANOTHER URBAN GARDEN INSTALL FRIDAY FEBRUARY 28, 2014
The following report is from one of our board members, Robert Opel:
Hi Liz! The magic of Gardening certainly is Wonderful. I went over to finish Jeannies Garden yesterday and took the lumber and timbers I had found On Wednesday Bulk Trash days. I had some tools, but not the right ones for cutting that big of timbers. I was planning to just do the best I could.
Then a miracle happened, in the form of Tony, Jeannies neighbor, whom I had never met before. He was outside and I was excited to share with him what we we were doing with the Growing Garland Green, The Mission Goal of having 50,000 Urban Gardens for people in Garland, and the joys I've learned in gardening.
He offered not only a Skill Saw to make the work go better, but some beautiful landscape timbers that were even better than the ones I had and the ideas of how best put it together.
It turns out Tony is a carpenter! And he has been planning to build a Garden of his own right next door!
I could right then see the magic! It felt so wonderful to be working with such a loving caring neighbor.
And I had only just met him!
Your Fellow Greener,
Below: Neighbors helping neighbors. Robert Opel (left) accepts assistance from Tony who lives next door to Jean.
This particular urban garden is approximately 9 feet by 3 feet wide. Approximately 3 feet of it is already occupied by Iris. The remaining area of approximately 6 feet by 3 feet (18 square feet) will be planted with vegetables. Amazing to consider, but a one square foot garden unit measuring 16 sq ft (1.5 sq metres) holds an average of 130 plants and produces enough vegetables for one person.
ANOTHER GARLAND URBAN GARDEN INSTALL WITH ASSISTANCE FROM MAYOR ATHAS
Cassie Kahl, her husband Chris and their three children, Alexander, Zachary and Madilyn all worked with members of Loving Garland Green to install a square foot garden in the back yard of their home. To the delight of us all, Mayor Athas showed up, rolled up his sleeves, and worked with us to get the job done. In just about one hour and thirty minutes we assembled the bed, put in the soil mix, and planted lettuce, kale, carrots, peas, asparagus and radishes. At the end of the month, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers will be added. Then in mid-April, a couple of tomato plants will be featured.
Of course none of it could have been done without the assistance of the Kahl children: Alex and Zach (age 5) and their sister, Madilyn, age three shown below with her pail. Children are natural and fearless gardeners.
The Kahl family pose for a picture with the garden finished--at least for this week. The garden contains 16 square feet with each foot square boundaries marked by a wooden grid. The two pots to the side feature asparagus which was planted today (watered by Madilyn) and a potato tower donated to the family garden by Loving Garland Green. The sign on the front of the box identifies the square foot garden as belonging to the Kahls, tells a little bit about the "Another Urban Garden Program", and provides a map of what is and what will be planted in each of the squares. The wooden trellises were part of the installation. They are screwed into the frame of the raised bed. Later they will provide support for cucumber, squash and zucchini.
After the garden was installed, Mayor Athas presented the family with a certificate authenticating them as official Garland Urban Farmers.