We have enjoyed a beautiful spring this year. Heat has come on slowly so the spring flowers have lasted a long time. May has been wet which has been a problem for some people getting started but there have been plenty of nice days, too, for everyone itching to get begin.
All our gardens are now open. We got so much rain in early May that Kevin was unable to till West Park. Craig Urwin, board member and West Park site coordinator, finally did it with a walk behind tiller we received as a donation a few years ago.
Please Get Started
Now that the gardens are open, if you registered for a plot, it is important that you get started. All gardeners need to make a serious start by June 1st. A serious start means even if nothing has been planted the entire plot has been raked or hoed and kept free of weeds.
This may sound like a high expectation, but we request it from experience. Grass and weeds a few inches tall now can be a foot tall in mid-June. At that point the weeds require a shovel and more time to remove. We strongly advise you to take a hoe over the all the unplanted parts of your plot and knock these down now. Don't worry about the 10% of the weeds that survive or you miss, you can get those next time.
Gardeners who don't get the weeds under control now often spend the rest of the season feeling the garden is out of hand and dread visiting. That's not what gardening is about!
|Lovage growing at Airport|
Summer Potlucks At Garden Sites
In the 2013 survey, a number of people asked for more community events where they could meet other gardeners. To address this we are holding potlucks at several garden sites this summer and encourage everyone in the Project Grow community (that's you!) to come. Check out another site, meet Project Grow gardeners from all over the city and enjoy some great food. What could be better?
So far we have arranged a potluck for June, July and August. A final one in September is possible.
County Farm Park, 2230 Platt Rd, in the Pavilion
Saturday June 21st at noon, rain date of Sunday June 22nd at noon
Lakewood Elementary, 344 Gralake
Saturday July 19th at 4pm, rain date Sunday July 20th 4pm
Greenview Nature Area, Greenview & Scio Church
Saturday August 16th at 4pm, rain date Sunday August 17th 4pm
Please RSVP here. This is matters because if we get rained out, we will only update the people who have RSVP'd.
A Few Plots Still Available
Project Grow has a few plots available and no one is on the wait list for these spots. Because it is late they are available for half price right now. The following are available:
County Farm - a half plot opened because of a cancellation.
Ellsworth - 4 full plots
Mitchell - one full plot or two half plots
If you are interested in any of these apply here.
2014 Plant Sale
Our 2014 Plant Sale was a big success. We started about 3600 plants and almost half of them were sold as advance orders. Another 1000 plants were sold at our regular sale in front of People's Food Co-op on May 10th. The remainder were sold at the Dollar Sale on May 11th at our Platt garden site.
We started 6 flats of brassicas and all but a couple 4 packs of kale sold out at the regular sale so we expect to offer those again next year.
It took longer to sort and inventory the remaining plants at the Dollar Sale than we expected and a huge crowd was waiting to pick up bargain heirloom tomatoes and peppers by the time we were done. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and everyone was very patient and pleasant. Thank you!
The revenue for the 2014 sale was $8800. We know we promote this sale vigorously but it is our only big fundraiser and it makes a difference. All of Project Grow operates on a budget of under $55,000, so a $8000 fundraiser is of huge importance. If not for the plant sale, we would need to increase plot fees by an average of $20 per plot to continue having a balanced budget!
|Jeni Knight, Marcella Trautmann, Brandon Patterson and Gerit Chaffers at the plant sale.|
Upcoming and New Project Grow Classes
Integrated Pest Management
Saturday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Leslie House at Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor
Pests are an unhappy but realistic aspect of gardening. They cannot be eliminated, but they can be managed. The IPM approach to their management looks at the life cycles of pests and their impact on the environment and combines it with available pest control methods so as to manage the destruction they inflict in ways that are least costly and hazardous to people, their gardens and the environment. Inge Ferguson, Master Gardener, will walk you through this well-established method for identifying, monitoring, preventing, and controlling pests in your garden. The class is free but registration is required.
Exploring Bees! 5: Supering and Splitting Hives and Preventing Swarms
Saturday, June 7, from 10 am to noon.
Apiary, Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor
At the Apiary, we will discuss major nectar-bearing honey plants and honey flows and how to manage the hive to maximize honey production. We will discuss different supering strategies and hive arrangements, as well as possibly making "nucs" to manage queens and swarms. Rain date: Sunday, June 8.
Class is limited to those who have already paid for the full course, though drop-ins are permitted, with fees of $10.00 ($15.00 per couple), payable in cash at the door.
Saturday, June 14th from 10am to noon.
Jesse Raudenbush, of Starr Valley Farm and third generation vermiculturist, will teach a class on the science of vermiculture, how to start and maintain a worm composting bin, and the benefits of worm castings in your garden. Students will make their own starter worm bin, create and add bedding, and finally add 1,000 Red Wiggler composting worms. All materials provided at time of class. Completed starter systems and worms go home with you and a set of notes on how to care for your worms!
The fee for this class is $30. Please visit Eventbrite to register.
Saturday June 28th from 10am-noon
Rebecca Hutchins, expert daylily grower, hybridizer, and owner of Miss Becky's Lily Farm in Carleton, Michigan, will again teach a class on daylilies. Topics to be covered are the biology of daylilies, best cultivation practices, methods of hybridizing new cultivars, saving and growing out seeds. Examples of blooming daylilies from her farm will also be shown. If you have ever had questions about daylilies, this class is for you! The class is free but registration is required.
There are still more classes in July through October so please visit our website to read all about them.
Free Compost for Ann Arbor Residents
Up to one cubic yard of free compost is available to Ann Arbor City residents! To get your compost you need to have proof of residency such as a driver's license or recent water or electric bill with your address and first/last name on it. Also, don't forget to bring your own shovel and container!
Compost is available only on Saturday mornings between 8 a.m. - noon from April until the last Saturday in June. Drive to the Wheeler complex off of Platt Rd. (driveway on your right, immediately south of Swift Run Dog Park, and just south of Ellsworth Road). Drive in to the large blue Materials Recycling Center (past a lake), the drive up the scale to the window. Show the receptionist your proof of residency and then drive back out the way you came, but turning off on your right where a large compost pile has been set up (there will probably be cars and people already loading up compost). Using shovels and containers that you have brought along, you can then fill them with compost.
Free Compost from St. Patrick School in Brighton
Elaine Cooney, a teacher at St. Patrick School in Brighton, sent us the following
We have a great compost program at our school that results in about 2 yards of awesome compost by the end of the school year. We would like to see it go to enriching a community garden. It is here in Brighton and it is free for anyone who can pick it up and use it. If you think of anyone who can use it, please pass this on to them. It becomes a great lesson in being good stewards of our environment.
If you might be interested, email Elaine to learn more.
Free Compost in Ypsilanti