Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harvest Party

The 2010 gardening season was very successful , and just like last year the Unity Gardens capped off the season with a harvest party at the Potawatomi Greenhouse . The event is to celebrate all the people that made the gardens happen .

This year the gardens grew to over 30 gardens , and it was thanks to the hard work of the garden leaders , and the support of the community .

We had a special guest at the harvest party this year Mayor Luecke . More , and more the support of the city , and the Mayors office is helping to grow the Unity Gardens . In 2011 we already have many educational collaborations with schools , and daycare centers planned . We are looking at several new garden sites , and maybe even a garden at the South Bend courthouse .

We are thankful to the folks who brought food out to the party . Starbucks donated coffee , The Botanical Society donated the use of the Conservatory , and Channel 16 news was out to cover the event .

So a quick thanks to everyone . Now its time to put the gardens to bed , and start planning for next year .

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thanks May Lee

Article published Oct 29, 2010
Celebrating a season of growthUnity Gardens' harvest event is Saturday.

By MAY LEE JOHNSON Tribune Staff Writer SOUTH BEND Tribune

There are at least 34 reasons to celebrate the Unity Gardens -- and that's what organizers plan to do Saturday.The Unity Harvest Celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Potawatomi Conservatories in Potawatomi Park.Everyone is welcome to attend and celebrate the end of the 2010 Unity Gardens season. There is no charge.There will be food, a discussion of plans for 2011 as well as a recap of the third season, when the number of public gardens grew to 34.That's a large leap from the dozen or so last year and the lone garden on Franklin Street in South Bend the first year.Unity Gardens founder Sara Stewart said some of the gardens are more successful than others, but they all contribute to the mission of improving community health -- physically, socially and economically.That seemed to be the case at the South Bend Juvenile Correctional Facility's garden, where youths experienced the rewards of growing fresh vegetables with their own hands.The process also helped the troubled students -- boys ages 12 to 16 -- focus on a positive experience and gave them a therapeutic outlet, facility representatives said."These kids had a chance to see where our food comes from," said Geoff Jankowski, a science teacher there. "I was able to utilize the garden into the curriculum."They were able to get their hands in the dirt and actually see the structure of flowers, pollination and photosynthesis."After the harvest, three youths at the correctional facility made salsa from the tomatoes, onions and peppers. They also donated salsa and other vegetables to Catholic Worker House.Esa Ehmen-Krause, superintendent of the juvenile facility, said the garden project was a good fit."All the boys at one time planted, weeded and watered the plants. They worked the garden from start to finish," she said."In the end, they felt great about giving back."And Aimee Shelide, of Catholic Worker House, said they were grateful to be the recipients."This food will help supplement our meals because we eat vegetables all the time. They are a very important part of our mealtimes," Shelide said.The correctional facility garden is in a highly visible spot in the neighborhood and a source of pride for boys, according to Jankowski."It built pride in them and when their parents would leave they could be heard saying, 'Hey, mom, stop by and look at our garden,' " Jankowski said.One more reason to celebrate.
For more information on the gardens or the celebration, call Sara Stewart at 574-315-4361.
Staff writer
May Lee Johnson: 574-235-6326

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Leaves

Working on putting the LaSalle Square Garden to Bed !! For covers we are using grass clippings & ground leaves. This should make for a nice rich soil this spring .

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Up Coming Events

Oct 30
11am to 2pm "Unity Harvest Celebration" Will be held at the The Potawatomi Conservatories Everyone is welcome to attend , and enjoy the celebrationof the end of the 2010 Unity Gardens Season Enjoy food & refreshments . We will have food , and refreshments , a reveiw of the 2010 season , and plans for 2011 .Come see what the Unity Gardens are all about !

Nov 7th
The Unity Gardens will have a booth at the NNN Arts Cafe
8th Annual Arts Café on Sunday, November 7th from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Near Northwest Neighborhood, Inc. (NNN) invites you to the 8th Annual Arts Café on Sunday, November 7th from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. This free walking tour will open five homes for the community to view, showcasing the distinctive character of area homes and providing a unique backdrop for local artists, musicians, and culinary specialists to share their diverse talents.
This year’s Café will be on Cottage Grove Avenue, between Lindsey Street and Van Buren Street – guests will begin their tour at the corner of Lindsey St and Cushing St.; just follow the signs from the South Bend Civic Theatre (at the corner of Portage Ave. & Lindsey St.). At the event artists’ wares will be available for sale – featuring everything from watercolor, pottery, photography, and jewelry, in addition to culinary delights. Local musicians will add to the atmosphere, providing music for your enjoyment. Also, take a minute to stop by the Children’s Activity Tent where there will be interactive activities for youth.
Not only does Arts Café provide a chance to see the hidden beauty of the homes in the near northwest neighborhood but it also gives participants the opportunity to see and appreciate local artists’ talent. We look forward to bringing the community together to help celebrate the great things happening in our neighborhood. So don’t forget to mark the Arts Café on your calendars for Sunday, November 7th, and plan on joining us in celebration.
For more information, call the Near Northwest Neighborhood, Inc. at (574)232-9182 or visit us online at

Please Like the Unity Gardens Facebook Site!/pages/The-Unity-Gardens/123560624328366

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Up coming Events

Upcoming events
October 19th 6pm to 8pm "A Path to Healthy Eating"
The class will be held at the LaSalle Branch Library
Edie Sutton will be demonstrating a simple vegetable recipe
Participants will be given ingredients to take , try the recipe at home
The cost is free !!

October 30th 11am to 2pm "Unity Harvest Celebration"
Will be held at the The Potawatomi Conservatories
Everyone is welcome to attend , and enjoy the celebration
of the end of the 2010 Unity Gardens Season
Enjoy food & refreshments
Meet the Unity Garden Leaders
Learn about plans for the 2011 gardens
There is no charge for this event

Please Like our Facebook Page!/pages/The-Unity-Gardens/123560624328366

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Found a nice article on fall clean-up

Putting Your Garden to Bed By: Nathan Harman of Dome-Grown Farm

Putting your garden to bed for the winter can be compared to putting a child to bed: finish dinner, put away toys, go potty, brush teeth, put on pajamas, and read a story.

Finish dinner - This means tending your food plants. Gather the last tender crops before frosts come, save seeds from the best specimens, protect your winter crops with blankets and cold frames, and plant your bulbs and perennials.

Put away toys - Take care of your garden toys (tools). Locate, clean, oil, sharpen, touch-up, and generally care for all the tools, pots, hoses, buckets, and other implements you've been using all summer. Store carefully indoors out of the elements.

Go potty - Put garden waste on the compost pile. Plant tops and debris, unseeded weeds, leaves, old mulch, etc. should be used to build up a goodly compost pile, or amend and turn a current one. Work your compost well now to have finished compost ready for you in the spring.

Brush teeth - Freshen up the garden. Burn any plant material that carries a known virus or pathogen that is only destroyed by fire. Tidy your pathways, mow, mulch. Make things look nice to your eye, cause it's going to look that way all winter.

Put on pajamas - Don't let that poor garden bed shiver naked all through the winter! Keep the ground covered with mulch (shredded leaves, grass clippings, straw, etc.) and/or cover crops (wheat, rye, oats, clover, etc.).

Bedtime story - Tell your garden story from this season and write down whatever you can still remember. What worked well, what didn't? Any new plants or techniques to comment on? Any good ideas for next year? The act of writing, and telling yourself the story of the garden, seems to give finality to the season while also inspiring the future.
Much of the winter we will spend away from the garden, so we should be sure to leave it in the best possible shape as we step out this fall and enjoy a few months of winter calm. Like a child, once the garden's awake, there's no stopping. Happy Gardening!
To view the complete article, please click here to visit our blog.

Nathan Harman is an active member of the Bloomington Permaculture Guild and participant in Transition Bloomington. He and his wife (with their two young daughters) operate Dome-Grown, a small permaculture farm in Bloomington.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Visit to the Niles Community Garden

Sara & I visited the Niles Community Garden this week . We met Mark , and Joe at the largest of the 4 gardens they have in Niles . It was a treat . The Garden is comprised of plot that you can buy for $15 ( 10 x 10 ) or $25 ( 10 x 20 ) . They also devote a part of the garden as a communal growing area , and a fair amount of the garden produce is donated to local food banks .

These guys really know what they are doing , and they share it with the community through an education program . The afternoon was a learning experience for me , and I plan on learning some things from these guys to implement in the Unity Gardens Program

Niles Community Gardens
508 E Main Street
Niles, MI, 49120-2618
Phone: 269-462-2787
Or 269-683-5292

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Week at LaSalle Square

This week at LaSalle Square we got our first big fall frost . On Sundays some girls from St Marys came out & helped put down Mulch in the Isles , and do a lot of harvesting before the frost came . On Sunday , and Monday night we got hit with some pretty frosty nights . It changed the garden season like a bookend to a great year . While we still have many cool weather frost resistant veggies doing well most everything else is wilted away .

The good news is we had some Fruit trees donated by George at McKinley Terrace Garden Center . So we can start work on the Orchard . I also started laying out the area for community plots . Next season we plan on fencing off another area away from the main garden for community plots . We will give plots to those who want them first come first serve . The Unity Gardens will provide Seeds , tilling , and water donated by the city . It will add another demension to the The Unity Garden Framework.