Community Garden Doings

Discussion in 'Gardening Other' started by Cayuga Morning, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Well, we have had a very successful year in the Community Garden. We just had our year-end meeting over Zoom, discussing various topics of concern to our Garden.

    Among the successes: IMG_20200801_121511_compress58.jpg

    OUR NEW SIGN! Commissioned by a high school student as a project. She had to source the money for it, get permission from the Conservation Commission, submit a design for approval, buy or source the supplies, construct & paint it & install it. Oh, and cut back the rampant growth around it so she could install it. Not bad for a 17 year old, huh?

    We've already had people inquiring about the garden from seeing the sign. Should make my job of finding interested gardeners easier next spring.

    IMG_20200924_150655_compress99.jpg IMG_20200924_151102_compress43.jpg

    NEW GATES!!!! These are spring loaded and critter proof. For a while we had a significant bunnie problem. They'd wait outside the fenced in area and scoot in lickety- split when a careless gardener left the gate open for a nanosecond. These gates were made by one of the members and her husband. (They went to MIT. Some of the things they have made have been WAY over engineered, but these gates are GREAT!!)
    IMG_20200924_150900_compress67.jpg
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    NEW COMPOST BINS! This is a four bay system and one of our younger members volunteered to turn the piles, pile #1 into bin #2, bin # 2 into bin #3, etc. We were real compost pros this summer!
    IMG_20200924_150705_compress48.jpg
    OUR "NEW" CRITTER PROOF FENCE
    This is actually 2 years old. It was a community project. We researched how to make it critter proof, and all the members showed up for the installation over several weekends. It has worked out really well. The only critters we are bothered by now are bugs, voles and turkeys. No deer, no racoons, no groundhogs, no bunnies. IMG_20200924_150852_compress16.jpg
    NEXT YEAR'S PROJECT.
    This disreputable "shed" is where we house our lawn mower. We hope to engage a Boy Scout to build us a small shed next summer, for this mower and our tools.
    IMG_20200924_151216_compress88.jpg

    This is our tool kiosk. Not many tools because we haven't been sharing community tools this year due to covid. Anyway, this kiosk is listing badly. We hope a Boy Scout will make a big enough shed for the tools & the mower. IMG_20200924_151209_compress53.jpg
    Random carts & wheelbarrows. IMG_20200924_151126_compress70.jpg
    OUR SPRING FED PUMP. Rather rustic and rather hard to lug those contractor buckets to our plots. See the red wagon? That helps. But we do wish we could come up with a better watering system. That'll be another member & my job this winter to research. Most of us are in our 60's and one of us is in her 80's. Lugging water is tough.

    The next photos are just random shots of our plots. IMG_20200924_151150_compress2.jpg
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    IMG_20200924_151141_compress61.jpg
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    IMG_20200924_150923_compress85.jpg

    Our year-end zoom meeting went well. My safely belt and glass of wine proved unnecessary. We got through the agenda in an hour and members have signed up for tasks for next year. I was impressed with us.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  3. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    Nice. We just started our community garden this past summer. I hope at some point we can obtain funds to fence it too. Otherwise every gardener is at the mercy of the deer and groundhogs and raccoons. Or individual fences which I don't live me but to save their plants I understand the willingness to go to the effort of putting it up and taking it down.

    Everything there looks great.
     
  4. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Thanks Carolyn. BTW, our new fence cost us each $75 for the supplies. It is a double fence (to keep out the deer...they can't jump the width of 2 fences.) & electrified. If you want to know the particulars, let me know.
     
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  5. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

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    thanks for that info. do each of you have a permanent plot? or how do you factor in new gardeners? or do you not have room for new gardeners?
     
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  6. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Heeeeeeeeey—what is this!?

    How nice that you took the time to post these foto’s with text explaining the situation there at your lottie complex. Holy-moly, it looks better and better. I mean from what you showed a few years ago. Allof you folks have been working hard to get your place to look like an allotment complex.

    Your pics show the community tools and equipment that you have and you have discussed plans for the future. Like structures to store mowers, wheelbarrows and tools in. That is very important as they will have longer lives if they can be inside. I was wondering if you folks plan to throw together a clubhouse or at least a lean-to affair that gardeners could hide under should a rain shower blow-up unexpectedly... or to sit under and sip tea or coffee when it is time for that all-important pause.

    I also enjoyed seeing the area plotted off and what folks grew and the white raised bed. The water point...all so impressive. Sure, things are in metamorphisis, but it is growing and developing at a good pace.

    I saw some nice asters and some veg still available for harvest. I like seeing stark colour as the plots are going over. Its the contrast that speaks tome and gives me something to cling to as the season fades. Slowly but certainly.

    Someone has a nice big sunflower. I really like those.

    But the professional compost bins.... someone’s been doing research. Chapeau.

    The fencing and gates all look secure and effective. I was wondering though if a deer could jump over that gate to get in, or does a bar go across the top when the last person goes home.

    Finally, your new sign. That looks so friendly and inviting. That was done well. Who wouldn’t want to take an allotment there.

    Thanks again for your efforts here and glad to hear that the virtual meeting went well and that plans have been made.
     
  7. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Hi Carolyn, Yes, we each have our own plot, but at the beginning of the season, people can switch to any other unoccupied plot available. We tend to have a few free plots each spring, but they are getting fewer & fewer.

    I joined the garden maybe 5 years ago. It had fallen into a lull....a lot of things were not in good shape: our fence was badly rusted out, bunnies had the run of the garden, our treasurer hadn't been collecting fees in sometime (we were bankrupt!) we no longer had anyone to mow regularly so ticks were a problem, etc etc etc. I won't bore you with all the problems.

    So needless to say, we had extra plots available. But since all of the improvements, we are rapidly filling up. We still have some turn over every year. Not a lot but, some. Of the new gardeners we get, maybe 1/2 stay, the others peter out! It is especially difficult taking over a plot that has not been gardened in a while: the weeds, etc . And the lugging of water is a problem for some people. But we are having fewer and fewer plots available every spring.

    Sjoerd, the gates are actually double fenced as well. You just can't tell from the photos. There is an electric fence on the outside of the gates. Deer can't jump the width between the fences and are loath to get trapped between them.

    Thanks for all your comments & compliments. The garden is coming along very well now and we are truly a community now. Oh! the idea of having a shelter where we could gather & have a cuppa sounds wonderful!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  8. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I see about the gates. It sounds secure.
    Do you guys have an agreement that when gardeners leave that they have to leave the garden clean? Do you have a small maintance group that does cursory cleaning of vacant gardens? I am curious about these things.
     
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  9. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Do you have collection bins for rainwater ? If not,,why not ? Would be simple to make a gravity fed watering bin for each plot or two ! The plastic bins can usually be found on Craigslist in the farm and garden section ! They hold 40 or 50 gallons each !
    Prices are usually between $8. and $20 dollars each depending on how many they have !
     
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  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    No we don't, Sjoerd. Gardeners are supposed to clean their plots at the end of the season and pretty much they do. Occasionally someone leaves without taking their paraphernalia. When it becomes clear it had been abandoned, either the next gardener inherits it or other gardeners scarf it up!

    Have you all had trouble with messy plots left to wrack & ruin?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  11. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Mart, I have wondered about that but I don't think we get enough rain. I have left contractor buckets uncovered to catch rain but it is so little. Now, if we had a large roof we could collect the runoff from.... That would be great! Around here, that is how those rain barrels are used.
     
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  12. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Cayu— Do folks just stop without formally ending? Just leave without saying anything to anyone? That is surprising. When a member comes to us they have to pay a security deposit which is one years’ rent. This is meant to go towards getting the plot in order again (if they do not adhere to the agreement) so that a prospective new member will get a clean garden plot. The agreement is that when they leave they will leave their plot in he same condition in which they received it.

    Returning to your question—yes, of course we have unsuitable members who just let their allotments stay weedy band overgrown. That is in violation of the organization’s rules and they get three warnings, then they can be removed.

    Our organization has work groups to do various jobs like cleaning up abandoned lotties, maintaining water and electricity, paths etc. Every member must participate in one of the groups to help keep things in order. Having water collection barrels under roofs of greenhouses, or in your case the roof of a lean-to or shead (once constructed) is a great idea. Many of our members (including my Bride and I) have these water butts collecting under our shed and greenhouse roofs. Every bit helps for those droughty spells.
     
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  13. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Sjoerd, I suspect the Community garden/Allotment culture is different between our two countries. Folks here pay a straight fee of only $60 per season, collectible at the start of the growing season. We have always had some plots available every season, so there isn't much competition.

    I understand you all own your own plots? Do you also own a part in the Allotment as a whole?

    We have community jobs too but it is on the honor system.... Most people contribute. I "shame" the noncontributors by sending around an occasional email recognizing that so and so has provided us with new gates, thank you, etc.

    I think we are a much smaller affair than your lottie. Our plots are only 20X20 feet (6.09 meters). I like the idea of a couple of people being responsible for cleaning up abandoned plots. That might help new gardeners.
     
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  14. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    We have a 55 gal. plastic barrel (picked up from the recycling station--someone didn't know what to do with it, but we did) that collects rainwater off the house roof. We also have three 250 gal. cubes that collect from the garage roof, and the barn roof. Even in drought prone Texas we have rainwater enough for our gardens and the hens' drinking water. Note that there are three holes in the down spout--that prevents overflow that undermines the support for the cube and disperses the excess water rather than letting it all spill in one spot. We learned that through sad experience!
    Water Collection 3.jpg Water Collection.jpg
     
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  15. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Well, without becoming too semantical...I will just agree with you. I will come back to this later.

    Does that $60 fee go to your club or to the municipality? I assume that the fees are set by the municipality, right? Do you as a group have any methods of collecting money to pay for things that would benefit the gardeners as a group...like a shed or clubhouse for instance? Do you have something like open days to sell jams, fruit or veg for a small price? I am asking these things to find out how you guys work, but also to demonstrate that there are things that can make a gardening experience at your lotty complex even more enjoyable than it already is.

    Re different allotment/municipal garden cultures:
    You are right that we own our own land. We bought it from the municipality after a number of disputes. I would dare to suggest that as much as 98% of the allotment complexes here, as in Britain are munucipality-owned. I imagine then, that our municipality plots have the same status as yours. Thus, there really is no organization as such, rather a collection of people who hire a plot of ground and want to garden. Our situation is different in that we own our own land and have a legally structured association. Sort of like a club of like-minded folks with like minded philosophy of gardening and things related to that. Another way of putting it is that one doesn’t rent a plot from us they become members and get a parcel of land to garden on. Also like the difference between a library and a reading club. You see what I mean, right? The main differance being that in the club you read a book then discuss it.

    I’m waffling now.

    The sizes of our lotties are 100 and 200 square metres, so the sizes are larger and there are 200 allotments for the members to use. We also have set up a number of services for the members. Its all well and good but you know, when you have so many members, there will be frictions and folks who have divergent ideas and philosophies. It can make management a headache. There are times when I wish that our club and grounds could be much smaller.

    If you are ever interested in the details of how we do things you can always PM me. I doubt that folks here would be interested...its sorta boring, you see.
     
  16. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    Hiya Jane !
    Your posting came in as I was nattering with Cayuga.
    That blue barrel — we have three of those that we collect water from the greenhouse and the garden shed. To solve the overflow problem, we made holes just under the upper rim and ran a hose from the barrels over to the canal. The overflow; if there is any, goes then directly into the canal.
    The 250 gallon container: there are a couple of chaps on our complex that have these. Handy to have, but what I like most about yours is that it is on a structure that you can roll around.

    You have a thoughtful rainwater solution there. Thanks for this posting.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
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