The Photo Diary
Friday, May 29, 2009
Jan checked on the garden early in the morning. And electric cords have materialized and are stored with the wheelbarrows. Another gift from a Gardening Angel? So the next construction crew working in the garden will have not just resolve, but power!
Afternoon watering took only about 2 inches of water out of the topmost rainfall water tank.
Looking back over the month, much has changed. There are more raised beds in use. The garden contains a much wider variety of plants. The plot has its own water supply from captured roof water, powered by gravity. Experienced gardeners have taken on roles of developing the plot. And Community Culinary School of Charlotte students have begun tending the plants and expanding their hands-on learning about food production.
The demonstration garden has also created one salient attitude change. Dozens and dozens of people are now talking about local food production. And nutrition. And good eating. That's an additional crop growing from this forgotten back lot in an industrial area near downtown in Charlotte.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Lucy, left, took five Davidson College students on a tour of Friendship Trays and the demonstration garden today. The five students were selected for Stapleton Davidson Urban Service internships, designed to help students learn about "social service and church-related organization work in an urban setting." One of the five students will spend the summer on Distribution Street. Click the picture for more information about the 10-week Davidson internships.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
It was Compost Day in the demonstration garden. Above, Kitchen Manager Sibyl Durant (behind tree, at right) dumps vegetable scraps from the kitchen into a compost pile surrounded by old wooden pallets, as staff and students from the Community Culinary School look on. A classroom session and this "field" experience were led by Henry Owen, a volunteer who helped launch the garden project in April.
Owen showed students how to spread compost near vegetables already growing, along with how to use compost in the spring before vegetables are planted. There was much talk about how to tell when the compost is "ready," and how to respond when the pile begins to stink. The stink is usually a sign that there is too much nitrogen from decomposing kitchen scraps in relation to the amount of carbon – leaves, hay, straw, shredded paper – added to the pile. So if the pile stinks, Owen said, add hay.
Back in the raised beds, the first wannabe peppers emerged (below).
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Lucy writes, following up on Chef Ron's comments (Diary, May 19):
"AND, as the timely arrival of the 10 bales of hay, generously donated by Tonia, happened to coincide with the students' presence in the garden, they unloaded that too!
"Now, the composting experts' assistance is needed to get that underway, hay out of barn, stacked in garden. Henry, what do we do next?
"I must say, it was an affirming sight to look down and see the group gathered to plant and learn.
"Another exciting sight, the bottom tank of the three-tiered rain gathering system is completely full! If you have not seen it, please stop by. Rich Deming and other friends from Slow Food Charlotte have created an amazing means for keeping our garden green and growing. (As I understand it, they will be working here again on Saturday, so come to lend a hand if you are able.)
Friendship Trays volunteer Kathy has also donated and planted a bed full of cherry tomatoes, plus thinning and "hilling" the beautiful squash plants which have emerged as a result of Melissa's seed sowing.
"All is well and VERY busy on Distribution Street."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Chef Ron writes:
"Hello Good Garden People,
"Today Class 34 of the Community Culinary School of Charlotte moved earth in our gardens. The charge was led by Jan Thompson, who offered up experience, strength and hope in all aspects of a “beginning garden”.
"Dirt was tilled, radishes planted and thoughts of sumptuous summer salads were had by all.
"As the garden grows, so will knowledge of Class 34 students. How Cool is This!"
May 14, 2009
Long before the morning's drizzle began, another Garden Angel visited the garden. By the end of the visit, most of the tomato plants not already in cages had been outfitted with stakes. And the first of the twist-ties had been put in place.
Thank you, Garden Angel! This is how our garden grows.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The trees behind the demonstration garden are alive with peeping and tweeting and fluttering throughout the day. Sometimes the birds even alight on the tomato cages.
All well and good for now.
But it won't be long before these benign fowl become the foul garden ruffians of Distribution Street.
Are the Defenders of the Crops prepared?
As every gardener knows, birds keep their distance when a human presence is in the garden. But who can manage a constant presence in the garden?
Are the Defenders of the Crops prepared?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Rich Deming put the finishing touch on the water collection system in the demonstration garden today. On Saturday, another work crew will be back to complete the raised beds.
Meanwhile, Henry Owen's sweet potato seedlings (inset) are stabilizing and appear poised to begin growing toward Union County.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Rich Deming was back, with volunteers Matt and Bre, to construct the water collection system and to start construction of raised beds made out of used pallets. Rich says he will be back Monday evening to finish piping the collection system. Read Rich's comments about the work on the Slow Food Charlotte site.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Rich Deming, left, and business partner Mike Gorman came by with a truckload of used wood pallets for Saturday's "build" of raised beds in the demonstration garden. The pipe will be part of a rainwater collection system. Deming and Gorman planned to return later with three large tanks that will collect rainwater from the warehouse downspouts.
If you'd like to help Saturday or just stop by to watch the progress in the garden, Deming said the Slow Food Charlotte volunteer crew would arrive at about 10 a.m. and go full-blast until the work was done, probably around 3 p.m.
Oh, and Deming and Gorman did indeed return with three bulk transport containers. They'll all be connected together Saturday, flushed out by the first rain, then put into use to irrigate the garden. "If you have an inch of rain, they'll probably all fill up, and then you'll be able to water for three weeks," Deming predicted.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The squash were at attention this morning, seemingly thriving on the deluge and downpour of the week. No watering today. No coals to Newcastle.
Melissa's oregano seedlings (Diary, May 6) found a space in the expanded herb garden.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Ms. Bonnie Watermelon survived Tuesday's downpour, but was carrying a brown coat this morning. If today's predicted rain is less severe, perhaps Ms. Watermelon will get a bath.
Melissa brought by oregano plants that will be planted in the raised herb garden.
The Friendship Gardens planning group got together early in the afternoon. Afterward, Henry got out his shovel and headed for the garden. He carried a number of sweet potato seedlings that were left over from his home gardening.
Henry shoveled in some more dirt to create a long mound at the end of one raised bed. Then he repeatedly stuck a gloved finger into the mound to make holes for each seedling. In September, he said, the tubers would be ready to dig up near where the plants were planted. But between now and September, he said, be prepared for the vines to grow over the end of the garden and travel a bit.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The first squash seedlings have broken through to the sunlight in the demonstration garden. A few okra are also up.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Recent rainfall at the demonstration garden has dampened the soil all the way to the bottom of the raised beds.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Pepper plants bent away from Friday afternoon's healthy breeze headed north. Lucy brought groups of friends through the garden in the morning. In the afternoon, a lawn mower got through the remainder of the plot. So the space is ready for more planting, and the building of some more beds.
Indeed, among Friday's visitors were representatives of Slow Food Charlotte, and they plan to return next week to build some raised beds. Thank you, folks. For more on Slow Food, click on their logo below.
Marvin donated a 100-foot length of garden hose for our thirsty plants. Thank you, Marvin!
And Marvin continues to bring in unmortared bricks from a patio he's torn up. We'll soon begin another garden bed with his bricks. Thanks again, Marvin!