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RE: late into the garden

  • Subject: RE: [cg] late into the garden
  • From: "Jack Hale" <jackh@knoxparks.org>
  • Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 11:43:45 -0400
  • Importance: Normal

Hi-
My organization used to be almost that stupid.  We were trying to help
people by "doing it all" for them.  Bad idea, but we were always afraid that
the program would fall apart if we didn't do it.  Sometimes we got tractors
stuck in muddy ground trying to plow too early.  Sometimes when we had a dry
spring we plowed so early that the gardens were full of weeds by the time
the "Memorial Day gardeners" showed up.  People always complained.  We could
never get it right.  Everyone had to admit, though, that the gardens really
looked great when they were plowed and harrowed in the spring, and fall
harrowing was a great way to guarantee that the gardens looked neat all
winter.   Neatness is a big consideration in the city.

Nevertheless, we "got religion" and decided to allow people to set aside
part of each garden site for "year round gardening."  We wouldn't plow those
plots, and people could plant early, harvest late, and include perennials
and even dwarf fruit trees in those plots.  The trade-off was that gardeners
had to arrange their own soil improvements, and they had to take
responsibility for keeping their space presentable.

Unfortunately, we didn't exactly live happily ever after.  The number of
complaints went down, but some gardeners are just sloppy, so we now get
complaints from non-gardeners about the appearance of some of our gardens.
We now have given up plowing completely.  People who want their plots tilled
can arrange with us to do it, although sometimes we have a long waiting
list.  Those who don't like to wait can rent or borrow a tiller, or they can
get somebody to do tilling for them.  Most folks have figured out that you
don't need to have big equipment working your soil, particularly if you take
care of it.  Lots of people are growing raspberries, and over-wintered
garlic is big in some gardens.  There is still some stress in our program,
but we like this version better than the old one.

Perhaps your "authorities" would be willing to try a gradual approach like
this, testing the concept in a small part of your garden and then expanding
it if it works.  They could save a lot of time and money, if nothing else.

Good luck.

Jack Hale
Executive Director
Knox Parks Foundation
75 Laurel Street
Hartford, CT 06106
860/951-7694
f860/951-7244


-----Original Message-----
From: community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
[mailto:community_garden-admin@mallorn.com]On Behalf Of Harmon Seaver
Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 10:33 PM
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: [cg] late into the garden

    We were only allowed into the community gardens this year last
weekend, May 25. The excuse was that the ground was too wet to plow
until then. Normally here peas, potatoes, and cabbage family should be
planted by May 1st. Obviously the people who are running this, county
employees, are not gardeners. We don't want them to plow at all in the
first place. At least 95% of the gardeners are Hmong, most of whom go in
and till up their plots with hoes anyway, and the rest either have
rototillers or can rent one.
     Is anyone else having to deal with such ignorance, and what are
they doing about it? We've tried reasoning with the powers that be, even
serve on the "guidance committee" to which they pay absolutely no heed.
Not only do they open the gardens too late, but they want to close them
right after the first frost, totally ignoring the fact that many crops,
especially root crops, keep right on growing, and shouldn't be harvested
until much later. This is the first year, in fact, that we got them to
stop applying chemical fertilizers, and allowing people to keep the same
plot from year to year, however, it's very frustrating to build raised
beds (what works best here in the heavy clay and what most Hmong do
anyway) and then have them plowed away.
     I'm wanting to start writing letters to the editor, publicizing
their stupidity, but my wife, who serves on the committee, wants to
continue to try to reason with them -- but so far that fails to work.
Has anyone been through this and know the answer?


--
Harmon Seaver
CyberShamanix
http://www.cybershamanix.com



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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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