Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Thumb ? " What Happened ?"

Here's an update on Madison Square Garden, the Unity Garden at Madison and Walsh streets:

Martin's Greenhouse on Western Ave . donated some flowers and vegetable plants, and we planted both over the weekend.

There's two new honeydew melon plants, to add to our expanding fruit selection: strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and watermelon are all planted and growing too. One neighbor to the north said they'd try to get us some grapevines, so I'm thinking about where we'll put them.

And when I explained to one of the kids that if we planted an apple tree this fall, it would take a few years before we'd have any apples she said: "Well, then you better hurry up ... ."

Six of the eggplant were put in, thanks to help from the same Madison Street kids. They're in a section where we added more tomatoes and a few peppers too. Last weekend, the children planted pumpkin seeds near one of the corn plots, and we're waiting to see how they're going to do.

As for the corn, neighbor Linda said she can't believe how tall it's getting. She helps to lead the small Grace Bible church on the block in McKinley and said her members are helping to keep an eye on the garden, too.

It's great to see how the garden builds community: Neighbors stop by, cops and firefighters and bus drivers wave, people on bikes say hello. Steve came by Saturday and said he's sorry he doesn't have time to garden with us, but he promised to bring us his grass clippings. Perfect!

Valjean helped me to weed beans and potatoes on Saturday, and we harvested mustard greens and collard greens. The first official tomato has been picked too. OK, not the first -- there were two others -- but it was the first that the children helped me to find and then took home with them.

I told one of the kids that Valjean sure has a green thumb, and the girl's eyes got big and she said: "Really? What HAPPENED?"

So we had to explain what that means ... It was one of the best things I've heard in a long time ...

Elsewhere in the garden are zucchini and acorn squash plants that have really taken off, and a plot of cucumber hills. I've seen fuzzy baby cucumbers starting to grow, and it looks like there will be zucchini before long too. The marigolds seem to be keeping the rabbits away. So far. We'll see.
Okra was an afterthought, but we put in a row and they're coming up nicely. They're in the same place you'll find spinach, carrots and radish rows. And I'm told now that some of the onions were really garlic plants. So I guess we'll just find out, because I forget which came from where ...

With the flower donations, we were able to clean up a little on the southwest corner at McKinley, plant a small border and create a container planting for the newly painted picnic table.

And with more rain forecast (!) it looks like Monday will water itself again.
Regular volunteer times are 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m. if you'd like to come by.

Have a great week,


Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 Luau At LaSalle Square

The head count was over 300 for this years Luau at LaSalle Square . This is the 2nd year for this Fundraiser / Social gathering . We had great Volunteers come out to help setup , and run the boothes . There was face painting, Book readings , games for the Kids . Lunch Cooked on the Grill . Tours of the Garden , Music , and free flowers for everyone to take home and plant . We had folks from the neighborhood , Garden leaders from other Unity Gardens , City & State leaders come out to enjoy the garden, and learn more about the gardens. It is way more than free food ! The gardens bring people from diverse backgrounds together . We have kids programs to bring kids in contact with healthy eating , and adult education on growing , and eating heathly food .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

South Lake Unity Garden

While visiting the South Lake Unity Garden I spoke with a young man from the neighborhood . He ask about the Unity Gardens , and offered to help out when he could . He told me he has a small garden at home . He harvested the first cucumber ! The southside garden is getting lots of visits , and dispite the rough soil, and weeds its growing well . Cabbage is ready to Harvest , and we are just days away from having Zucchini . I see the neighbors are harvesting , Kale , Lettuce , and Cabbage all ready . I am liking the South Lake Garden , and look forward to watching it Grow .

Monday, June 20, 2011

LaSalle Square East

Thanks to a great donation from Jean at Martins Greenhouse we are filling a large section at the East Garden with Tomatoes and Peppers , about 150 going in just beyond the Family Plots

This weekend & next

Busy weekend , we had a booth at EcoFest , and also had a volunteer day out at LaSalle Square . We are having more people show up to work every Saturday . Lots of weeding , and putting down Mulch . Even a Quick Break to pick Mulberries . We also had some folks donating some plants, and as always we had harvesters picking , lettuce , greens, radish , and peas . I was happy to see one of the students that was in one of the classes we did at LaSalle Academy came out to the Garden to show her mother , and harvest some Kale .

Lucky we missed the rain for both events .

Coming up this weekend is our Luau at LaSalle Square June 25th - 11am to 2pm . Tickets are $ 10.oo each . You can pick them up at Fiddlers Hearth , Junk Evolution , Marigolds , and C & B Optical One

Also Fiddlers Hearth is Hosting a Farm to the Table Event Saturday Evening .

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Touching Story

Hey Sarah and unity members,

I wanted to share a story with you about the Keller Park Garden. This past Sunday we had a neighborhood block party. During the party a man was picking some lettuce. Ryan (the church pastor) walked down introduced himself and invited him for dinner at the block party. The man asked if it was ok to pick and Ryan overwhelming said yes, please pick whatever is ready. He then asked Ryan if he could share a story. Last summer he lost his job. He has a wife and 2 kids and they rent a home just by the garden. For about 3 months they were broke and had no idea where they were going to get food. He and the kids were out walking one day and came upon the garden. From that day on they ate pretty much only from the garden. I never once saw him or ran by him but he came every day and picked so that his family could eat and they would have money to pay bills. I always wonder if people pick or if they use the garden but after this story i am sure they do, and that it brings good things.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Week of our Kids Program

First Day of our special activities for kids at LaSalle Square Unity Garden on Thursdays at 10am

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Luau at LaSalle Square

Saturday June 25th from 11am to 2pm is our 2nd Annual Luau at LaSalle Square
Tickets are $ 10.00

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stories From Last Week

Out at LaSalle Square Unity Garden the harvesters are slowly arriving to see what is ready to harvest . They have been harvesting Kale , Mustards , Radish , Lettuce , Peas , and Spinach . By the end of this week we should have our first summer Squash , and even a Tomato or two .

Our first ever bike tour on Saturday was a success . We had about 25 people ride the 28 mile tour of 11 gardens . Many said they enjoyed seeing the city from a bike . Others said the saw gardens they drive by every day , but did not know they were there .

After we had a group of school kids out 2 weeks ago we have had several parents out because the kids said they should come visit. Its great to hear the kids enjoyed the tour of the Garden .

Heather & Sara helped LaSalle Academy finish planting the garden , and the kids gave us a small gift and a great thank you card for or help with their garden.

Kevin over at the Muessel School garden is doing a great job getting that garden going . Everytime I am there neighbors stop to visit . Kevin speaks spainsh which helps with several latino neighbors . Several classes came out to plant last week .

Sara received a Hearts of Fire Award from the URC for her work in the Community .

Holy Cross opened thier Unity Garden with a big party !!

There are some many good things going on in the Gardens !!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tour de Unity

Great Ride Today , Thanks to all the Riders , and and all the volunteers that made the day a great one . Already planning next years ride .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tour de Unity

Thanks to Our Sponsors who made the first ever Tour de Unity Happen
you can still sign-up on Saturday at Potawatomi Park at 8am

Martin's Super Market

J.V. Macri Orthodontics
926 E. Jefferson Blvd

Michael & Company 2 Salon Spa
2041 East Ireland Rd.

Graphie Tees
Logan St

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Muessel School

So far the New Unity Garden At Muessel School is totally engaged in making the garden. Kevin the Garden leader who teaches at the school is getting the neighbors involved , the others teachers etc...

Even though the soil is a little rough the garden is looking good . Everytime I am there people stop by to visit . It may be a neighborhood many have left for dead , but it looks very much alive to me .

Monday, June 6, 2011

Community Support

If there was any doubt that the community supports Unity Gardens , and enjoys having the gardens in their neighborhood . Sunday put that question to bed . Sometime between 6pm Sat night , and 6am Sunday some vandals struck the Unity Gardens at LaSalle Square . Most of the damage was in the form of 100's of plants ripped from the ground . Its hard to believe some bad apples take the food out of the mouths of their neighbors.

What happened next was nothing short of pure community support. With just one post on facebook that the Gardens had been vandalized , and a firestorm had started. People calling , e-mailing , and coming to the garden to lend a hand. Jean from Martin's Greenhouse offered plants . By early morning all signs of the vandals were gone . People coming in offered to keep an eye on the garden. The Garden belongs to the community , and they are taking hold , and protecting it .

Just before noon the Girl Scouts showed up to have their bridging ceremony , and several folks showed up to harvest lettuce , spinach , and Mustard Greens . Its Business as usual .

Close to 500 Girl Scouts , and their families showed up to enjoy the garden , and plant lots , and lots of Marigolds .

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Busy Week

Busy Week , Northpointe Garden Kicked off , Ravina Park Unity Garden Opened , Lots of work going on at LaSalle Square Unity Garden . Plus we are just one week away from our first ever Tour de Unity ..There is still time to sign up . We do have race day registration at 8am . If we run out of t-shirts we will order one for you .