Students from the University of Texas at San Antonio's School of Architecture are making great progress on the construction of shade structures at the Alamo Heights Garden, and garden leaders expect the project to be finished soon. Because the students gave graduated, scattered and and in many cases started jobs, they are coming back as volunteers to complete the project. The head student travels from Wimberly. The students may be coming this Sunday, though that has not been confirmed.
Garden Work Day
Today was the first garden work day of the month. Turnout at the garden was low because of the heat and the San Antonio Spurs game scheduled that afternoon. Linda, Karla, Charlotte, Suzanne and Margaret replanted some of the bunching onions, so a few more of those will be growing in another month. They weeded wire grass and Bermuda grass in raised beds, planted jicama seed, weeded around trees, applied several layers of newspaper and added mulch around trees. Only one load of mulch was used to work in the south orchard. They also placed gator bags around the trees in anticipation of the continuing drought, fed tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. There were plenty of beets and onions harvested and laid out on the picnic tables at the end of the day.
Linda gave positive feedback from Bexar County-Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent David Rodriguez' presentation at the Children's Garden at the Botanical Garden Sunday morning. She said he advised gardeners to cut back on watering of garlic until it is ready to harvest, and also to source seeds from local sources. He and other people involved in the Extension at the garden are working on developing specific types of cabbage and other vegetables that are resilient in the hot, dry Texas weather.Mona Kandeler worked last Monday and this Monday to re-pull grass from the beds in the north orchard because it had regrown, as well as Bermuda grass in the raised beds. She also cleaned around the trees by the path to ready them for mulch and trimmed stickers on the dead wood so no children visiting or playing around the garden would get stuck. She noted that orange vinegar water will kill more than ants so it should be used carefully. She put extra newspaper in the shed to be used before mulch to deter Bermuda grass.
Please bring extra newspapers to the garden -- we need them to continue layering before mulch is spread!. We look forward to seeing you at the next garden work day. Bring your sunblock lotion, hat, short sleeves (or light-fitting long) and your basket to collect veggies, get your hands dirty and have some fun meeting fellow gardeners!
The Alamo Heights City Council approved the construction of two shade structures at the Alamo Heights Community Garden at its meeting April 28. Council members heard from garden volunteers, a historian, and a former member of the conservation society. The project is made possible by a $2,000 grant appropriated by the Green Spaces Alliance, which selected the Alamo Heights Community Garden as this year's community project for architecture students at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Garden volunteers raised additional funds before receiving the grant through the making of a video featuring the proposed addition. Three of the 13 students who will soon begin building the structures attended last night's meeting, expressing their hopes of completing it by mid-May. The students, some of whom will be attending summer classes as they work at the garden, will be building signs, setting rebars and cutting wood as part of the project. When finished, the larger of the two structures will be situated off Imlay and Acacia Avenue and a smaller kiosk will be located on Ogden Lane. As garden volunteers anticipate breaking ground, they are also setting their sights on future ideas for projects, including a new walking path.
The Alamo Heights Community Garden was selected by Green Spaces Alliance (GSA - which oversees San Antonio area community gardens) to receive this year's design project from the UTSA College of Architecture. Under the direction of Professor Darryl Ohlenbusch, a class of seniors has immersed itself into the Garden to develop a project focused in community development and modular design. Funding has been provided by a grant from the GSA, along with additional donations. The goal, with respect to the Garden, was to create two structures that would highlight the Garden's location, and provide a meeting area/education center with signage and bulletin boards. The class has handled all aspects of the project--designing a plan, working with their client (our garden), moving the project through the AH permitting process, submitting a packet to the Architectural Review committee, and will present the finalized design to City Council. Construction is to begin the end of April. The project is now in its pre-construction phase with a hearing set at City Hall on April 15, 2014. Signage from the City is at the garden giving more details for the meeting. Please feel free to forward this information on to friends and neighbors. You may also view a video about the project. Your continued support is much appreciated!
We had a good crop of winter vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, several varieties of cabbage, several varieties of lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, onions, radishes, beets, and carrots. We have cleared some of the beds and planted tomatoes and peppers and will be clearing others soon to plant other vegetable for summer harvest. We've had good attendance at our work days and appreciate everyone's help.
A window has been put in the shed to give more light and ventilation. A second martin house that was donated by an AH resident has also been installed. Many people wander through the garden to enjoy the sights and smells.
Little Free Library
Thanks to Sarah Katz and an anonymous donor for donating money and Steve Hinshaw for donating materials and his building skills we now have a Little Free Library under the oak tree near the picnic tables at the garden. As the Little Free Library web site (littlefreelibrary.org) tells us, "It's a 'take a book, return a book' gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share." We hope you will share with us. Pictures are in the photo gallery.
If you've been to the garden recently you might have noticed some new additions. Two whirligigs are flying over the garden. They were donated by architect John Grable who found them in the garden of a house he is designing on Ogden. The house was owned by Mr. Balser who was on the original AH Community Garden team working to get the plans for the garden approved by the city. Thanks to John for wanting the whirligigs to come full circle.
There is also a "patio" in front of the compost bins. An Alamo Heights resident had leftover bricks from a remodeling project and offered them to the garden. We thank Steve Hinshaw for his hard work installing the bricks. Suzanne Goudge, who takes care of the compost, is especially appreciative to now have a surface to keep her out of the mud and ants!
Pictures of these additions are in the photo gallery.
In the News
There's an article in the Express News about community gardens and our Karla Toye is quoted. You can read it at http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/home_and_garden/article/Gardens-revel-in-rain-cool-weather-4486407.php.
We had a good work day yesterday with 15 adults and children present. We harvested radishes, snow peas, and beets; and planted jicama, cucumber, and pepper seeds. Our fresh compost was used to fertilize plants. Weed control was accomplished by hand and with a weed eater. Thanks to all who came. We'll have another work day later this month or in early June. I'll send details later.
April 16 Composting Workshop
Green Spaces Alliance hosted a composting workshop at our garden on April 16. Everyone had a great time. Pictures from the event are posted in our photo gallery. There was a work day 2 days before the event to spruce things up and show off our garden. Thanks to all who helped.
March 3 Work Day
Thanks to all who came and worked in the garden on Sunday. We had 16 adults and children preparing the garden for spring planting. Two new participants were Ann Rathbun and J. Steindl. Ann and Charlotte Wenger weeded around the fruit trees then put mulch on top. J. installed the new raised bed and filled it with our freshly made compost and soil. The bed will be planted with potato slips this week. Suzanne Goudge, our expert compost maker, emptied one of the bins. The Broderick and Chaney families reworked and weeded several beds that are now ready for spring planting. And of course Linda and Tom Hallstead and Karla Toye did a little bit of everything!
Benji Cohen completed his Eagle Scout project at the garden on Saturday with the expert guidance of his father Bob Cohen and landscape architect Phil Solomon. The north slope of the property now has 9 properly planted fruit trees, plus 3 olive and 3 citrus trees. In addition, they dug holes and planted an oak, a Mexican Buckeye, and a Bradford pear for us.
Next work day: Tomato Planting Day -- Sunday, March 24. 1:30-4:30 pm
Start Tomatoes at home. Buy a six pack for around $2.99. Separate and plant each plant in a quart size container.
Fill a quart size plastic plant container half way with soil, add a few spoonfuls of organic fertilizer and stir, open up the bottom of your peat potted tomato transplant and dust liberally with rock phosphate (if you have some on hand---helps with root development) Place your tomato deep in the pot and covering part of your stem, fill the rest of the pot with soil. Water and keep in a sunny protected area until planting day at the garden, March 24th. Our tomatoes will have a great head start by being started early at home.
Let us know what you have growing, so we have the appropriate number of plants that day to plant. So far the following varieties are being grown at home:
January 2011 - January 2012