Friday, September 24, 2010

More Help from St Marys Girls

Thanks to the girls from St Marys basketball team for coming out to the LaSalle Square Unity Garden Friday afternoon . The Basketball season does not start for 3 more weeks , but they are already champions in my book . They volunteered to come out and work in the garden , and they worked hard . Putting down mulch , and hoeing out the old rows getting ready for winter . Its all hard work at the garden because we use very little power tools . So great job girls !!

Near East Neighborhood

Diversity in area exists on many levels
By GENE STOWE Tribune CorrespondentDate: Sunday, August 8 2010
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When they couldn't find land for a Unity Garden, organizers in the Near East Neighborhood suggested everyone plant vegetables in unused recycling bins.
People at nearly half the 125 addresses in the stretch from Eddy to Sunnyside between Madison and Colfax participated.
"We gathered a lot of contact information and got to know people," says Laureen Fagan, who moved into her home about nine years ago. "We have 56 different addresses who agreed to grow tomatoes or peppers or whatever they chose."
Gardening comes easy to Bill Whipkey and his wife, Margaret, who moved into their Madison Street home 88 years ago when she was 4 months old.
"We've always had a garden," she says. "My father had a garden, I remember. There was a grape arbor and a cherry tree. They're gone."
Gone too are the drugstore, tavern, grocery store (once an A&P), meat market, barber shop, beauty salon and dry cleaner that once provided walking-distance shopping near the intersection of Madison and Eddy.
The old Coquillard School at Colfax and Notre Dame avenues is gone.
"I think it was more stable when I was younger," she says, figuring that the trend to more rental properties picked up about 15 years ago.
Neighbors are determined to protect their neighborhood. Terry Berger, who arrived about a year ago from Lake Station, Ind., recently called Fagan and volunteered to be a block captain.
"The neighborhood we live in has had some break-ins," he says. "I've noticed some suspicious activity. This is a nice neighborhood over here, and I would like to keep that quality of living safe and have everybody enjoy the neighborhood. We all have to live on this planet together."
The neighborhood includes a synagogue, a church and a small apartment building. Residents relate to neighbors who lived at the 130-bed Cardinal Nursing Home, which hosts occasional ice cream socials or cookouts for the community.
"We definitely want some community involvement," says Kay Rendal, Cardinal's director of marketing.
Fagan visits the home every Monday. "Even residents who, for mobility reasons or cognitive reasons, are not going to garden at all, you get them talking, get them involved in conversing," she says.
The neighborhood, with easy walking or biking access to downtown, the Farmer's Market and Notre Dame, still has old-fashioned charm in its homes and along its streets.
"It's very diverse, not just in terms of race but also in terms of socioeconomics, lifestyles, the kind of thing you want in a neighborhood," says Fagan, who can see six-figure houses from one side of her porch and much-less-expensive homes on another side.
Residents drop off their green beans, peas, tomatoes and cucumbers on her porch on Tuesdays and Fridays for her to take to the Northeast Neighborhood Association's food pantry.
"We may have been motivated at first by crime prevention concerns, and of course still focus on Neighborhood Watch," Fagan says. "For me, it's really so much more than that in terms of quality of life, community projects, knowing names and talking.
"I have a lifestyle commitment to simplicity. This is a smaller and compact, and yet, in my view, a very attractive little property. This house is exactly what I need. I'd say the same thing about the neighborhood. It's a really interesting place to be."

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Taking Down the Garden

Well the time is getting closer to taking down the garden at LaSalle Square . Although right not it is still putting out lots of good veggies . I was at the garden this morning and 5 different people stopped by to harvest , and none went home empty handed . ,
What I am doing now is seeking out areas that are done ( completely done !! ) producing , and pulling all the plants , and weeds . I will put them in my compost pile . A better option if you live in the city is to let the city pick up all your plants , and compost them . Its important to take most plants out of your garden . It will help remove disease, and weed seeds . If you are wanting to be more sustainable , and compost your own make sure you learn about composting .
There will be a "Composting 101" workshop Monday September 27 at 6:30pm at the Main Library in South Bend. If you want to learn about composting you may want to check it out. Sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation District, it will earn you an "instant rebate" coupon that can be used towards the purchase of a 5...5-gallon compost tumbler and/or a rain barrel. For more information or to register: 574-291-7444 ex3
After I pull out the plants I hoe up as best I can then put down grass clippings , or shredded leaves . This will breakdown , and enhance the soil . I will put the clippings on thick , and hopefully next year I will pull the top layer off and with a little hoeing be ready to plant without tilling . What I pull off the top I will put back in between the rows as mulch to keep on feeding the plants .
More fall projects include a walking path , covered shelter , small greenhouse , fruit trees and benches . Also we a doing community plots that we will give to neighbors to grow their own garden in
2012 plans include a fitness trail . So I think I will be busy right through winter .

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ND Students Shine

Great job today by a real action driven environmental group from ND . They help the enviroment through service . Which is the way it should be . A great day lots of work was done . They cleaned out beds , and got bthem ready for next year . Put down mulch in the isles , and harvested .
We also had a large amount of visitors in the garden . Still lots to harvest . Some folks came to harvest , and enjoy a good sit !!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting ready for next spring

One of the many lessons I have learned this growing season is that while have nice rows of grass between the growing beds is pretty , its a nightmare to maintain . So this fall we are putting down wood chips between the growing beds . This will keep down the weeds that spread into the beds , and save me mowing time . After a few years we can shift the growing beds because the wood chips will compost int to great soil . Although the wood chips are a little raw ( fresh from a downed tree ) they will serve the purpose , and they were free thanks to Wayne at Arbor supply .

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Garden Keeps on Giving

I was out at the LaSalle Square Unity Garden Sunday morning doing a little work . It was nice to see a woman out weeding for a long time . Later a man stopped by to harvest a a watermelon , and some okra . He said he was heading over to the Memorial Hospital garden . Another family stopped to pick some green beans . Hear it is September , and fall is fast approaching , but the gardens keep on giving . The garden has Zucchini , Okra , Green beans , radish , Mustard greens , Collards , Lettuce . Arugula , Kale , Turnip greens , Peppers , Tomato's , Tomatillos , and even a few raspberries . So while my thoughts keep heading toward fall , winter , and even next spring the garden is still trying to stay in summer mode . Its a good thing .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Changing of the Season

It has been a remarkable growing season . I believe with the over 30 Unity Gardens in South Bend , and Mishawaka area that a real impact has been made on many people . The gardens have produced a great deal of healthy food for many in need . The Gardens have brought many diverse people together to share a sense of community . On average the LaSalle Square garden has received between 40 & 50 visitors a day . These folks come out to harvest , work , and share life stories with others. There is alot to be learned from watching , and talking with the people in the gardens . I have learned much from the time I spend in the gardens , but most of all I have learned that the gardens are much needed in this community . The garden leaders , and volunteers did a great job not only with raising food , but with promoting the Unity Garden message of sharing .

So as the seasons change , and the cool weather rolls in the warm weather plants try to hang on and squeeze out the final round of food , and the cool weather plants thrive providing whatever they can before the frost comes . Its a sad time of year , and my thoughts drift to next years planning . Spring will come too soon , and it will start all over again . More people coming together to enjoy the bounty, and beauty of a garden .

Monday, September 6, 2010

Educational Series

The Unity Gardens, Memorial Community Health Enhancement, and Health works will present "Good News About Good Food": on Sept 18th from 2pm to 3pm in the LaSalle Branch Public Library. Topics include diet planning, the food pyramid, and interactive games to encourage a closer look at how we eat. Future monthly workshops will include A Path to Healthier Eating, including recipes, food preparation guides, and free ingredients!

Educational Series

The Unity Gardens, Memorial Community Health Enhancement, and Health works will present "Good News About Good Food": on Sept 18th from 2pm to 3pm in the LaSalle Branch Public Library. Topics include diet planning, the food pyramid, and interactive games to encourage a closer look at how we eat. Future monthly workshops will include A Path to Healthier Eating, including recipes, food preparation guides, and free ingredients!

Thursday, September 2, 2010