Hot off the press, Off the Grid’s spring newsletter!
Here is one of the new signs that we are placing on all of the main beds, along with some of the first sprouts this year. We’ve been having a beautifully warm spring and so far we’ve got turnips, mustard greens, beets, shelling peas, and snap peas all showing their first leaves after sowing the seeds a couple weeks ago. The broccoli, cabbage, and kale that we started indoors as transplants in March will be ready to go into the garden this weekend, along with a couple bunches of onion starters we got from a greenhouse.
Tomatoes, peppers, okra, basil and other herbs were just recently started indoors and are doing well. We also started over eighty Little Bluegrass, which is one of the predominant native prairie grasses, and will use them along with native flowers to create landscaped berms.
Join us for our first Community Workday this Saturday April 17th at the Richards St Garden. Please come for any amount of time you can give between 10am and 4pm.
We just had 25 yds of topsoil/compost blend delivered this week and need your help to put it in its proper places. We are filling up our beds from last year and digging new beds for herb gardens and a watermelon bed, along with more plots for neighbors.
We will also be participating in the neighborhood wide cleanup and picking up trash from neighboring empty lots and alleys.
If you cant make this Saturday don’t worry we are meeting on Saturday April 24th from 10am- 4pm too.
Last year we got the main beds in place and had fun trying out the ancient concept of a Three Sisters companion planting (corn, beans, and squash.) Our initial vision for our community garden was that we would build the beds and fill them with good soil and then neighbors would come and grow what they wanted, free of charge, alongside our plantings that were both for the neighbors as well as for us. We had some initial interest from folks living near by, but not a lot of follow through, which resulted in rather precious bed-space being wasted.
This year we’re trying something different. We’re still going to have a few small beds available for neighbors, but 80-90% of the bed-space will be intensively farmed by us, with the goal of growing tons of high-quality food that we will then give away to the neighbors. One day each week we’ll be handing out a selection of whatever is ripe and ready!
Check out the plan:
While out shoveling the sidewalks around the garden this morning I met a gentleman who took the shovel from me and talked with me awhile. He used to own the house next door to the garden (Dang! I forgot to ask him the name of the bowling alley that was on the lot then!)
He was on his way to a local church who has a food bank on Mondays. We talked about the garden and the seeds we just got in and all the lovelies we will be growing.
He went on his way and I told him to come back this spring and summer. Vic I hope you do.
So I know we Off the Griders have been awfully quiet since the end of summer, but we are here, planning for spring and will give you a recap on last year and show you plans for this next season soon!
Off the Grid hosted a bonus checkpoint during the RW24 Hour Bike Race this past weekend. Our slot was 11am – 1pm on Saturday and we had people first ride to our garden. From here Wendy instructed folks to walk over to my house where I met them in the driveway. The look on some people’s faces was priceless when they realized the task at hand–sledge hammering out a peice of concrete from my driveway to help turn it into a bikeway and the concrete chunks to transform the backyard from a concrete jungle to a raised bed garden and patio on down the line. We pictured the event as a barn-raising of the yester-years when neighbors and really who communities would come together to help with a project knowing that the goodwill will lead on back to them one day. I must say, I am most appreciative of everyon’e efforts! Here are some before, during and after pictures:
Surprisingly, many participants thanked me for hosting the checkpoint and exclaimed how much fun they’d had giving their hand at sledgehammering. Some people, after I’d given the “one more” instruction, had really gotten into it at that point and put in a few more extra blows. All that said, I am most appreciative of everyone’s contribution!
After sledging, people headed back to the garden where Wendy marked their manifest and handed them a Seed Bomb filled with lovely native wildflower seeds to throw in an empty lot or alley way along the race route. It’ll take some waiting, but by next year’s race hopefully I’ll have a more bountiful backyard and the neighborhood will glissen with native wildflowers.