Where did the year go? A year ago this month was the start of the Alamo Heights Community Garden. It was a cold start, but after some unusually chilly days in February and March we saw the beginnings of some great vegetables. The Garden has had and continues to have some great crops and we have all learned about worms, aphids, water, and that you can really eat broccoli greens. The Garden’s success would not have been possible if not for the many volunteers who have built planting beds, shoveled soil, pulled weeds, sowed seeds, planted seedlings and fruit trees. We must not forget the grant from the Brown Foundation that kick-started our effort. Additionally, many thanks to the City of Alamo Heights Staff who got us organized and stuck with us from the beginning; they continue to support our efforts. Thanks to the City Council for your support and confidence in our determination to make the Garden a special place in the city; I think we hit the mark.
We started the garden with the goals of community building, education, friendship and organic healthy food. I think we have achieved these goals for this year. The garden has become a place to visit, walk or garden. I have seen many families visit the garden to see what is growing, and for some it is the first time seeing carrots that did not come in a bag. Additionally we had several garden potlucks to meet neighbors and share some great food and drink. Yes, the garden is building a community. The garden is a living classroom for everyone who volunteers or visits the garden, from the science of watering just enough, to recognizing beet plants. Yes, the garden is providing an education. Many friendships have evolved as a result of a shared interest in the garden. This was especially evident on our workdays or at the potluck dinners. Yes, the garden has developed friendships. It’s amazing the amount of great organic vegetables the garden has produced. It does not get much more local and healthy than that. Yes, the garden has provided organic and healthy food. So for this year, I think we can call it a success.
As we look to the future we are always looking for ideas on how to improve the garden. So if you are still looking for a New Year’s resolution, add the Community Garden to your list and get involved. Share your ideas or any special skills you may have that will benefit the future of the Alamo Heights Community Garden.
The Fall Garden is looking great, we have lots of tasty fresh vegetables growing along with hot peppers and basil from the summer crop. I’d like to say thank you to Eagle Scout candidate Hamlet and other scouts for planning and constructing a walking path through the garden. The path is a great addition and provides an excellent surface for friends and neighbors to enjoy the garden.
We are planning a Full Moon potluck this Thursday, November 10 at the garden starting between 6-6:30 pm. This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors, visit your community garden and get involved.
As always, we welcome everyone’s participation in the garden and there is always something we need help with. A few examples of tasks we need assistance with;
- We are looking for someone interested in working with our composting and picking up used coffee grounds from Starbucks for our compost bins
- Watering our fruit orchard, this involves hand watering a few times a week
- Help with weeding around the fruit trees and around our planting beds
- Harvesting and enjoying the vegetables
- We are always looking for donations, specifically we need about 5 cubic yards of organic compost, gardening hand tools, and organic fertilizer
- Cash and check donations are always welcome – please take your donation to City Hall payable to the City of Alamo Heights with a memo indicating “Community Garden”
If you have questions on how you can participate please contact Karla at email@example.com, Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org , or me at email@example.com
Community Garden Scarecrow Contest
Build your own scarecrow. The Alamo Heights Community Garden invites you and your family to build your own scarecrow in the fruit orchard. Have your scarecrow completed by October 23rd and you will have a chance to win a prize for the most creative scarecrow. To participate:
1. Send or drop off suggested donation of $20 to 428 Normandy with your family’s name and contact information
2. Build your scarecrow in the fruit orchard and identify it with your family’s name before October 23rd
3. Judging will be on October 23rd
4. Remove your scarecrow after the judging
5. Donations will be used to purchase garden tools and a rainwater collection barrel
After a very dry summer we got some much needed rain and the temperatures are cooling off. The garden is looking great and we have started the fall crop. We need your help, and there are many ways and opportunities for you to assist and get involved. Our next workday is on Saturday, September 24 starting at 10:30 am. If you cannot be there on Saturday, contact Karla firstname.lastname@example.org coordinate a time that works best for you. Here is a list of things we would like to accomplish:
Below is a list of donations we are looking for:
We are also looking to spruce up the garden shed with a small deck, a ramp and a flowerbed. If you are interested or have ideas let us know. We have posted a information board on the front of the garden shed with upcoming information and a planting schedule. If you are interested in participating in a scarecrow contest in support of the garden please contact Karla.
On October 5th Cambridge Elementary is having their walk to school day and we are looking for volunteers to man a table from 7 to 8 am to provide Community Garden information and to get those interested to sign up for our email list. Please contact Karla for more information.
I have received emails from many of you asking how to get involved. This nice fall weather is a perfect opportunity to meet some of your neighbors and support the Alamo Heights Community Garden.
It is great to be home. I was on a business trip to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait for the past 6 weeks and I was unable to update the website. The trip was interesting, hot and made me thankful to be living in the United States. I can say 120 degrees makes 103 seem cool. A lot has happened at the Garden while I was gone; we now have a Garden Shed, thanks to the hard work and planning of Eagle Scout Candidate Derek, his Dad and other volunteers. Thanks and great job to all! We also had a great harvest of melons, beans, tomatoes, peppers and flowers.
Check out the pictures on the website.
We plan on working at the Garden this Saturday morning to clean out some of the planting beds and plan for the fall planting. If you have time and are interested, we will start around 8:00 AM
It rained! After several months of drought conditions it finally rained in true San Antonio fashion, 2 inches in a very short period of time. This is great for the garden because it provides the plants a good soaking and we can conserve the city’s water. As you are all aware we are under stage 2 watering restrictions, and it is important that the community garden sets the example. Under stage 2 we can water with the drip irrigation system any day between 3 am and 8 am or 8 pm to 10 pm. We have a good layer of compost in the planting beds, so we only need to water 3-4 days a week. Currently we are watering M, W and F between 6 and 8 am, for 2 hours, and one day on the weekend if needed. If you are interested in watering and your schedule allows, let me know. We appreciate those interested in watering, but please do not water at any other time, because overwatering will damage the tomatoes and cause an increase in non-beneficial insects. There are plenty of tomatoes, so please stop by and try a few. We also have a great crop of melons growing, check them out. If you visit the garden, we need help with pulling weeds in and around the planting beds and around the fruit trees. We would like to plan and schedule another garden workday combined with a gardening class and picnic. If you are interested in helping with the planning of this event send me an email.
I have had several inquires about making cash donations to the garden. To accommodate this we have coordinated with the City staff, and they will accept checks, which they will add to the grant funding we are using. If interested, make your check payable to the City of Alamo Heights and indicate Community Garden on the memo line. We will use these funds for equipment, tools, garden shed etc…
It is important it remember this is a community garden for all in Alamo Heights to enjoy. So whether you get your hands dirty, help with the website, help with construction, make a donation, share with you children or grandchildren or simply walk through, it is your garden. So enjoy, get involved and meet some of your neighbors.
It has been several weeks since the last update, I have been busy with work, and Ruth and I took a trip to Miami Beach – more on the trip later. The garden is transforming, as the weather gets warmer or downright hot. The corn has been harvested and I must say it was a great success; the ears were small but tasty. The tomatoes are doing great. If you have not taken the opportunity to try one, you don’t know what you are missing. You can’t buy tomatoes like the ones from our garden. We have melons, potatoes, cucumbers and bean plants in the ground; jalapeno peppers are ready for picking and we planted a sunflower patch to add some color to the garden.
The compost bin is completed, so any weeds or vegetables can be placed in the composter. Remember, the composter only likes a plant-based diet, please no animal products. I have received several emails asking how to help. There are many things that you can do when you visit the garden, some suggestions are: pulling weeds around the fruit trees or out of the planting beds, watering the trees or planting beds if needed, checking for bugs, harvesting ripe tomatoes or other vegetables, or you can just relax and enjoy.
While Ruth and I were in Miami Beach we visited their community garden. The official name is the Joseph J. Vallari Victory Garden, or as they call it The Miami Beach Victory Garden. This community garden is dedicated to the memory of the men and women who were stationed in training camps in Miami Beach during WWII. Their garden is much more compact than ours. They have 20 plots that are about 4 feet by 6 feet. They run a membership where people are assigned individual planting beds and they also maintain a waiting list. The City provides lockers for the participants to use for their tools and other garden items. They have a rainwater collection system from the downspout from an adjacent building. Their approach is much different than ours but similar outcomes. We had the opportunity to meet a couple of the members, and they felt that the garden served as a meeting place and provided a sense of community in a very urban area. If you are interested in reading more, their website is http://www.miamibeachvictorygarden.blogspot.com/.
The garden is looking great. We are harvesting cabbage (there are a few left), beets, snow peas, summer squash, swiss chard, collards, green beans, radishes and a few tomatoes. The addition of the compost will help keep the soil moist while adding nutrients to the soil. Thanks to all who helped last weekend. As a reminder when watering, please check the soil first with your finger and if it needs water, turn on the soaker hoses for about 30 minutes. This will ensure we only water when necessary and conserve water.
We still have room for some summer fruits and vegetables. I planted some melon seeds this weekend. Other seeds that can be planted for summer harvest are: southern peas, cucumber, eggplant, watermelon, okra, sweet potatoes and peppers.
Derrick is still working on obtaining approval of the garden shed as an Eagle Scout project from the Eagle Scout Committee. He hopes to get approval and start construction this month.
I was at the Garden this afternoon and it is looking great. I harvested some broccoli and broccoli leaves (if you have not tried broccoli leaves, they are delicious) and had them for dinner tonight. It does not get any fresher than this. The corn and tomatoes are looking good as well as all the greens that are ready for harvest. Stop by and help yourself. Karla was also there, and we put mulch around all of the fruit trees. Thanks to the City staff for delivering the mulch!
We are having our second Garden Pot Luck dinner on Sunday, April 17th at 4:00 pm at the Garden. This is a great opportunity to meet everyone who has contributed to the Garden, share some homemade food and enjoy the evening. If you are interested, please bring a homemade dish, if possible using something from the Garden, drinks that you enjoy, dishes and utensils for you, chairs etc… If you have questions please contact Karla at email@example.com. I look forward to seeing you on the 17th.
January 2011 - January 2012