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REGROW PRODUCE YOU BRING HOME FROM THE GROCERY STORE.

The photo shows Romaine lettuce I have growing on the window sill in my kitchen.  It gets indirect sunlight which I’ve found is great for lettuce.  Once the root hairs appear, after about a week to 10 days, I transplant it into a half-gallon milk carton filled with soil. [Cut milk carton in half with a utility knife.  Put drain holes in bottom.  Fill with potting soil.  One container is enough to grow one head of lettuce.]

Peanuts for saving?  Depends on your definition of peanuts.  One bag with three heads of Romaine lettuce costs me about $2.99.  I eat about six heads of lettuce a month so my lettuce bill would be about $6.00.  That comes to $72 a year just for lettuce.  By cutting that expense in half, I save $36 and that is just on one produce item.  This is also a great project for children.

Celery is another vegetable that is easy to re-grow (in the same fashion as lettuce by cutting the end of it off and sticking it in water).

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I just ordered some seed potatoes* online.  They should be here by August 17--in time for fall planting.  I’ll be growing mine in hay mulch, the Ruth Stout way.  Potatoes (other than sweet potatoes) can be grown in the spring and fall.  In our area, most gardeners recommend planting potatoes in mid to late August but  by September 1.  I ordered Yukon Gold (Botanical name: Solanum tuberosum) which is my favorite, but there are many other varieties as well.  The Yukon Golds will mature within 60 to 80 days.  Thus, if  I plant them by August 20th, I can expect potatoes in time for Thanksgiving, if not before.

 

 * New potato plants sprout from the buds (called eyes) on the surface of potatoes. These are the “seeds” for new plants.  The eyes appear as dimples in the potato’s skin. Each eye has the potential to grow into a whole new plant.  Purchase new certified seed potatoes at the start of each growing season. Potatoes are prone to many diseases (bacterial, viral, and fungal) that can easily be introduced to the garden when planting your own saved tubers. Purchasing and planting certified seed potatoes is the only way to ensure a “clean” crop. Certified seed potatoes are guaranteed to be free of disease, and they have not been treated with the anti-sprouting chemicals often used on grocery store potatoes.

 

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I Grow Seed Potatoes in Hay to Minimize Work.

To plant seed potatoes in hay, prepare an in-ground garden bed or a raised bed for planting. Then, nestle each piece of seed potato down into the soil by no more than an inch or so. Some gardeners who plant seed potatoes in hay don’t even bury them.  They simply place the pieces on top of the soil and then cover them with 5 or 6 inches of loose straw or hay. [I do cover mine with an inch of soil so as to discourage foraging critters.] As the plants grow, add more hay to the top, covering all but the very top leaves of the plant, until the bed has about 18-20 inches of hay. Although the layer of hay serves as an excellent mulch, keep the bed well-watered through the growing season.

When the mature potato vines die at the end of the growing season, wait two weeks then peel back the hay and collect the potatoes.   Happy harvesting!

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Members of the Garland Key Club at the Garland Community Garden

THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

What a great Saturday morning!  Eleven members of the North Garland High School Key club arrived at 9AM and worked until noon--that’s 33 people hours.  When you add the five Loving Garland Green members who were able to attend, that’s another 15 hours for a grand total of 48 people hours in our community garden today. And can you tell the difference! Working together makes all the difference.  Just imagine, if cutting all this brush was done by one person, it would have taken them 48 hours to do the job that we did in three hours.

 

Key Club is an international organization, sponsored by the Kiwanis (another great service organization) and created to connect high school students to community through service.  Key Club members volunteer and help others through both community service and fundraising. They contribute to charitable causes and volunteer for organizations such as UNICEF and Bow-Dazzling to help others in need.  They do lots of good for the people in our community.  Later this month they will be helping senior citizens clean up their yards.

 

The North Garland Key Club’s passion for service has led them to become one of the top 25 Key Clubs in the Texas-Oklahoma district.  If the job they did today at the Garland Community Garden is any example of their outstanding work, we certainly hope that they are able to continue this trend.  As usual, I was impressed by their sweetness and wonderful manners!  Over the past 15 years I’ve worked with Garland students of all ages--from First grade through seniors in High School.  The story is always the same: an encounter with bright, interested, polite youngsters who are fun to spend time with.  Thank you for your work accomplished today. 

 

Community Connections Continue.  .  . 

Next week Garland Park and Recreation people will come and mulch the two brush piles that we created today.  The mulch will be used in the beds at the Garden.  Community partnership is a great thing for all.

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Getting clean clothes is a challenge for the homeless.   [In Garland, the police talk with the homeless and help them out in small, but important ways such as telling them where to go to get food and other help from various agencies.]  Now the police of Garland are helping out the homeless in our community by distributing free clothing to them--clothing that has been provided by people in the community.

 

The Garland police have a drop off box in the lobby of their main station on Forest Lane.  You can go there and drop off clothing during business hours.  You can help the homeless in your community and you will also be contributing to building better community relationships between the police officers of our community and the homeless on our streets. We are all in this together. Being homeless is not a crime and it's good to see a police department who know this and are doing what they can to help the homeless in our community.

If you have clothing that you no longer need, drop it off at the lobby of the Garland Police Station during business hours. 

1891 Forest Ln, Garland, TX 75042
 
 
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VISITORS TO THE GARDEN

This Monday Loving Garland Green hosted a tour for some members of the “We Love Plants” group from the Spring Creek Church:  Kathy, Kathy and Yadi.   It was rescheduled due to the rain on Saturday.  Thus, we had a small group since many of their members work.  However, their enthusiasm more than made up for their size.   It’s always fun to tell people about our garden, a randomly designed area where vegetables, flowers, fruit and people all come together. When you go down to the garden, you never know who might show up--a cardinal, a cotton tail rabbit, or an interesting person.  The space is not fenced and it is open to the public following the same schedule of our parks from sun-up to sun-down.  You are always welcome to pull unwanted grass at the edges of beds and pots.

 

FOOD DONATIONS TO THE GOOD SAMARITANS OF GARAND, TEXAS

 

 Also, we delivered food to the Good Samaritans on Monday.  In addition to our produce from the garden we also add canned goods. Jane, a recently retired virologist and former president of Loving Garland Green, keeps the records of our deliveries.  Being more the artist than the scientist, my record-keeping differs from Jane.  She carefully weighs everything while I weigh nothing.  Instead, I measure our gifts according to the number of people our produce donation can feed.  For example, five one-quart bags of green beans equal ten servings. 10 one-quart bags of Kale equal ten servings, etc.  Usually, Jane does the tracking but she has been out of town for the past three weeks.  It was great to have her back on Monday.

 

 

HERE ARE OUR FOOD DONATIONS ACCORDING TO JANE’S RECORDS:

Loving Garland Green’s donations to Good Sam’s June 14, 2021:

25 pounds of non perishables (canned goods and dining utensils)

6.8 pound of produce

Note:  if you order take out, you often get plastic utensils all wrapped in cellophane with a napkin. Most of us prefer to use our own silverware so these plastic utensils end up in the trash.  The Good Samaritans distribute these to the homeless who often have no eating utensils.

 

FOR 2020, TO GOOD SAM’S WITH LOVE FROM US TO THE PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY:

338.45 pounds of non perishables

138.15 pounds of produce

See!  Like I said, it adds up.

 

SPEAKING OF LOVE AND COMMUNITY . . .

I can’t give details because my fear is that he would receive a mountain of clothing and have nowhere to put it.  But I’ll tell you this much. I was told we have a policeman in Garland who keeps up with many of our homeless.  You may know that with the pandemic, our used clothing stores are closed. The homeless can’t order from Amazon. The policeman collects clothing from friends and distributes among the homeless.  Garland has a lot of nice people who care about others and do what they can to help them.

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SO MUCH HAPPENING AT THE GARDEN THIS PAST WEEK

Where to begin?  I’ll start with the pumpkin story.  Last Wednesday, June 2, I decided to start a Ruth Stout compost garden plot.  I rescued two pumpkins my neighbors had left by their garbage bins.  I threw them into a compost bin at the garden, then covered with leaves and a little soil. One week later they had sprouted!

 

So, I separated some and replanted them in the compost heap.  But there are so many! So, I transplanted some more to pots. And now we are coming to another Garland Community Garden story-- a sharing table.  We have 112 tomato plants already in plots at the garden and some are left over.  They look a bit peeked but with a little TLC they will thrive and give you tomatoes before the summer is over.  There are also a few jalapeno pepper plants, a cucumber plant and some watermelon plants  If you can give them a good home, come and get the ones you need.  The transplanted pumpkin plants are there too.  If you have plants to share, bring them to our table.

 

 

Today I delivered produce from the Garland Community Garden to the Good Samaritans.  Our delivery today included green beans, kale, Swiss chard, cucumbers and blackberries.  Next week we should be able to start delivering tomatoes.

TOMATOES ARE COMING! 

I ate my first tomato this year.  It was a beefsteak tomato and totally delicious!  There are more to come and to share.  Below is photo of the plant and a photo of one of the tomatoes.  This year I’m growing all my produce in pots.

IF YOU WANT THINGS TO GROW, YOU'VE GOT TO GET THE WEEDS OUT OF THE WAY

[That's a good metaphor for people too.]. We are so fortunate to have people who stop by to pull weeds, in addition to our regular gardeners.

 TOMORROW AT 9 AM WE WILL BE HOSTING A GARDEN TOUR FOR A GROUP FROM THE SPRING CREEK CHURCH.  You are welcome to join us.

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Many tend to think of world hunger as being “over there” across an ocean or two.  It is. But is also likely to be right in your own neighborhood, and certainly in the city where you live.  I was confronted with this reality myself when I went home for my 10th high school reunion years ago.  One of my classmates confided in me that she often only had bread for lunch--two slices of bread put together to look like a sandwich with something in between.  There she was.  I had grown up with her first grade through 12th and I never knew that she had hunger as a constant companion all that time we were growing up together.

I thought about her this morning as I delivered some produce from the Garland Community Garden and saw one of the volunteers from Good Sam’s.  I love the feeling of being connected to others who are playing a part in eliminating hunger. It helps me to quell that voice inside that tells me I may as well give up -- there is no point in trying because the problem of hunger in the world is so huge.

Around the world, 690 million people regularly go to bed hungry, according to a 2020 report from the United Nations food agencies. Globally, about 8.9% of the world’s population — 690 million people — go to bed on an empty stomach each night.  And no, as individuals we can’t single-handedly solve this problem, but working together, community by community, we can.

Those who garden at the Garland Community Garden donate 50% of their produce to Good Sam’s. This week our offering included 1 gallon packet of Swiss Chard, 8-quart bags of mint, 10- quart bags of kale; 4-quart bags of green beans; 5 peppers, 7 cucumbers and two-gallon bags of basil.  Next week we will likely be adding a lot of tomatoes to our delivery as well as blackberries.

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Jun 4 @ 7:13 am

 

As we live in a chaotic, unpredictable world, it  may be helpful for us to build as many escape routes for ourselves as possible.

I have a few: reading, working in the garden and watching Netflix. I suppose you could add meditation. Most of the time I am in the garden, I am in a meditative state with a blank mind (on the weekends when a few people are around, not so much).

For the past three months, when it is not raining, I've spent 3 to 8 hours a day working in the Garland Community Garden which I founded with six other folks 7 years ago. It's a great space with no fences and many plots. It is surrounded on one border by a riparian area that ends in a creek. At the garden the edge marks the transition from the garden to the wild woods where creatures like an owl, raccoons, rabbits, possums.

I often think about the edge when I am at the garden. A lot has been written about the edge and its importance and meaning for human beings. The edge, the place where two distinct environments meet is a significant space that makes room transition, growth and sometimes the birth of new things. In the world of nature, it is at the edge of the forest and the meadow where new species of plants often emerge with characteristics that blend aspects of the plants in the woods with the plants in the meadow.

A couple of days ago I created a Ruth Stout plot. I've done them before but this is the first one I've made one for about three years. I was inspired by two pumpkins beside my neighbors trash cans that I picked up and tossed in the back of my truck. Now their pulp and seeds will produce pumpkins in the fall.

Ruth Imogen Stout (June 14, 1884 – August 22, 1980) was an American author best known for her "No-Work" gardening books and techniques. Stout moved to New York when she was 18 and was employed at various times as a baby nurse, a bookkeeper, a secretary, a business manager, and a factory worker. She was a lecturer and coordinated lectures and debates, and she owned a small tea shop in Greenwich Village and worked for a fake mind-reading act.

Ms. Stout planted her first garden in 1930 at 54 years of age. She gardened for the next 50 years--until she died at age 96. Her unique contribution to the gardening world was to grow her eatables out of her compost pile. “No work gardening” she called it. Just throw some hay and organic matter down, throw some seed in, and feed with compost from your dinner table. No weed pulling, no tilling.

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UPDATE FROM THE GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN!

 

The photo shows a coming attraction to the garden.  One of our three young pear trees (three years old) has 10 pears!  The other two have none--go figure.

This morning I just filled 15 one-gallon bags with Swiss Chard and Kale  and 3 one-gallon bags with basil.  Each bag is two servings of super healthy food.  Thus, a total of 30 servings of greens. Charlie will deliver the bags in a few minutes to the Good Samaritans, a food provider in our community.

This is noteworthy because all of these greens came from four five-gallon pots that I have on my plot at the garden and at my home. The mission of our organization, Loving Garland Green, is to show (by example) the value of growing some of the food you eat and sharing it with others as we donate 50% of our produce to non-profit food banks in our area.  Even if you have limited space such as a small patio or deck, or perhaps a sunny room, you can grow lots of healthy things to eat.

Everything is growing like crazy at the garden.  I think this will be the year of the tomato for the garden.  I’ll get down there and count (in between the monsoon showers) but I’m fairly certain that we have close to 100 tomato plants down there in the various plots and many of them already are loaded with green tomatoes.

NEW GARDENER AND NEW PLOT--ALL IN ONE DAY!

We just added another new young member to our active gardeners.  Her name is Emma Spalding who recently moved to Garland from Kentucky.  I signed Emma up on Sunday  and by the end of the day she had already made and planted her garden plot!  Emma is going the natural way:  no border and leaves mixed with the soil.  So far, all three of our latest members over the past two months are young and have created their own new plots where there once were none!

SPEAKING OF YOUNG . . .

I got a call last week from Isabella Ignacio from North Garland High School Key Club.  She was calling to offer volunteer help to the garden from the club. School is out in June and in July Isabella will be coordinating with Matt Grubisich, Director of Garland Parks and Recreation, and Loving Garland Green to mulch a large pile of brush down at the garden.

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FUN AT THE GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN ON ANNIVERSARY DAY!

Yes indeed!  It takes a community to make a community garden--that and lots of persistence. 

Our anniversary celebration was a success!  We had volunteers from Keep Garland Beautiful outreach there to assist us and Neighborhood Vitality sent some very nice giveaways for our freebie table. Councilman Robert John Smith, a long-time loyal supporter of our garden  stopped by to congratulate us.  Scott Bollinger Garland Neighborhood Resources Manager came down for a tour.  We look forward to working with Scott as well as with Matt Grubisich, Director, Parks Operations & Maintenance at City of Garland, TX

Long-Time important Garland Community Garden Supporter, Councilman Robert John Smith (8th District). 

 

Scott Bollinger, Garland Neighborhood Resources Manager at the Medicine Wheel.

Many old friends stopped by.  Among them was Linsey Gilbert, School Nurse at Parkcrest Elementary School here in Garland.  If you have a chance stop by and see their beautiful school garden--one of the prettiest in Dallas County located at 2232 Parkcrest Drive, Garland TX. Linsey is the one who coordinated the development of this lovely garden.   She brought her sweet little doggie with her.  You may not know this, but dogs are welcome at the garden as long as they are on a leash and the owner pick up after them.

Linsey Gilbert, School Nurse and School Garden Innovator at Parkcrest Elementary School Garland Texas relaxing in the shade of an old native pecan tree at the Garden.

Speaking of Linsey and Parkcrest reminds me of Reba.  Reba Collins was one of the members of the outreach team from Keep Garland Beautiful who assisted us.  Reba is a certified Master Naturalist who designed the pollinator garden for Parkcrest Elementary.  Members of Loving Garland Green also worked on the school garden project at Parkcrest.  We assisted in the design and planting of the vegetables.

Reba Collins - Keep Garland Beautiful

Reba Collins, Master Naturalist was there from Keep Garland Beautiful to help us out.  In addition to Reba, the Keep Garland Beautiful community outreach team for our event included Ken Risser, Daniel Segert and  Darla Meek.  Keep Garland Beautiful is committed to educating & engaging individuals to take responsibility for improving their community environment. Since their inception as a nonprofit, they have collected 873,779 pounds of litter and installed eight pollinator gardens--a great volunteer organization to join as they do so much for our community.

And of course, a garden party would not be a party without children.  Here are two youngsters taking advantage of the freebies at the Neighborhood Vitality table.

 

Children's enthusiasm for Gardens is boundless. 

Jack is a special garden boy.  He was born on Earth Day, April 22--eleven years ago. Year before last he planted a Celebrity tomato in this pot.  This year he returned to plant another.

Jackie and his Celebrity Tomato 

No, they are not looking for Waldo.  They are looking on the leaves of common milkweed at the garden for Monarch caterpillars. Four were found. They have been rescued and are now in my living room in containers with milkweed.  In the wild it is estimated that only 5% of Monarch caterpillars make it to adulthood.  When rescued, the odds are much better!  We only lose about 5% of them.  Members of Loving Garland Green have been rescuing caterpillars and tagging Monarchs for five years.  The Garland Community Garden is a certified National Wildlife Habitat:  Garland Community Garden No. 198,434.

 

Angelica (in the foreground) is searching for Caterpillars with Nancy, one of our faithful Loving Garland Green members. Nancy is our resident expert on herbs.

 

We made new friends too.  That's the thing about gardens:  You can meet and make all kind of new friends.  Juan and Sandra from Mesquite who read about us in the Mesquite paper were among our first time visitors to the garden.  I'm sure they will be back.

Juan and Sandra -First time visitors to the Garden but they will return.

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A special thank-you to Jane Stroud who has been our president since 2017 and Secretary of the Board before that.  Jane is still very active in Loving Garland Green.  We could never have put together our Anniversary celebration without all her hard work.