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August 2014
In This Issue
2014 Board Elections
2014 Tomato Tasting
Summer Potlucks
Upcoming and New Project Grow Classes
Become a Master Composter This Fall!
Produce Donations
Site Pictures on Facebook

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Board Elections
It's time for Board nominations! Are you available to contribute to Project Grow Community Gardens by volunteering for a three-year term? The Board meets once a month to help shape the future of our community gardens. Below are instructions for the simple process for nomination and election.

First, put your name forward to be a board member. This is a "nomination." Someone else can nominate you, but it is also okay to nominate yourself. Board nominations must be in by September 15, 2014. Nominations should be sent to info@projectgrowgardens.org.

Second, nominees must write a short statement (at most one page) and send it to info@projectgrowgardens.org by September 20, 2014. The statement should tell a bit about yourself, why you want to be on the board and what you hope to accomplish. All the statements will be published in the newsletter and made available on the Project Grow website.

Third, the nominee can be present for the vote by attending the annual meeting which will be Thursday October 9th at 7pm at the Nature House, Leslie Science Center. This step is technically optional but most people running for the board want to attend.  

That's all there is to it!

This year terms are up for Dave Corsa, Joet Reoma, Marcella Trautmann and Pam Schartzmann.  Pam was confirmed by the membership just last year to fill out Nicole Premo's term, so she is running for re-election even though she has only been on the board for one year.  There is also an unfilled board position for Craig Urwin who has moved to Idaho, so there are plenty of opportunities to join the Project Grow board. If you would like to learn more, contact Board President, Lucas DiGia at lucas@projectgrowgardens.org.
2014 Tomato Tasting

This will be Project Grow's 14th annual Tomato Tasting!  For the seventh year we are holding it as part of the Homegrown Festival on September 6th from 6-9pm, at the Kerrytown Market. Please come to the event and taste the many heirloom tomatoes we will be offering.

You will be amazed by the wide range of flavors, textures, colors, sizes and shapes. We guarantee that you will find that special tomato you will want to grow next year! Most of the tomatoes offered at the tasting are also offered at our plant sale, but we usually also have a few new varieties we are trying out for next year.

Donate to the Tasting
If you've got some favorites growing in your garden that you are willing to share, please bring them to the tasting. We ask only that you know the variety name so tasters can know what they are trying and be able to obtain seeds if they love it. If possible, bring them to our table at the Farmer's Market by 5:30pm, so that we can prepare them for the tasting before we open at 6pm.

Volunteer for the Tasting
Volunteers for the event are needed to set up and maintain the Tasting. A first shift, from 5-7:00pm, is needed to set up the stall, prepare the tomatoes, and oversee the tables; a second shift, from 7:00-9:00pm, will maintain the tastings and dismantle the stall. If you are interested in tasting a whole bunch of heirlooms, talking with tomato aficionados and finding out how to grow or save seeds from them, click here to register.

Thank you for helping to make 2014 another great tomato season for Project Grow gardeners!

Project Grow Summer Potlucks

Project Grow held it's second 2014 garden site potluck at Lakewood on July 19th.  After a slight threat of rain the weather was beautiful and about 15 people were there.  The Lakewood garden and the crowd were small enough that gardeners were able to give everyone a tour around the entire site.  

If you couldn't make this potluck, we have scheduled two more for August and September. All Project Grow gardeners and friends are invited to attend.  Each of Project Grow's 20 garden sites is unique and has its own particular advantages and challenges.  These potlucks are a great chance to meet other gardeners, see other sites and enjoy some great food.  The August and September potlucks are:

Greenview Nature Area, Greenview & Scio Church
Saturday, August 16th at 4 p.m; rain date Sunday, August 17th 4 p.m. 

Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Sunday, September 14th at 2 p.m.  No rain date.
County Farm potluck in June

If you plan to come, please RSVP here. This matters because if we get rained out, we will only update the people who have RSVP'd.  Hope to see you there!


Upcoming and New Project Grow Classes


There are almost 3 months until Project Grow gardens close for the fall.  Plenty of time to continue your gardening education!


Saving Seeds

Saturday, August 16th from 10 a.m. to noon

Leslie House, Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor

Many dollars are spent by gardeners each year on seeds.  And yet, with some planning and a little work, much of the cost for seeds can be avoided.  This class will cover the advantages of gardening with heirloom varieties and seed-saving basics that can help you save money and ensure that you get the varieties that you grow and love.  Participants will then try their hands at saving seeds from a variety of vegetables, including fresh tomatoes, grown by instructor, Marcella Trautmann.  Class is free, but registration is required. 


Exploring Bees 8: Honey Extraction

Saturday, August 23rd from 10 a.m. to noon

Leslie House, Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor

At the apiary, we will see learn what honey to extract from the hive, how much to take and the various options for extracting it.  We will cover all types of extraction equipment and methods.  Rain date:  Sunday, August 24th.  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.  


There are three more classes in September and one in October  including ones on saving seeds and tips on how to close down your vegetable garden for the winter.  Please visit our website to read all about them. 


Become a Master Composter This Fall!
Project Grow will again be offing a series of classes through Ann Arbor Rec and Ed this fall for students to become Master Composters.  

Registration for the Master Composter program will be available at the end of the month on the Rec and Ed website.  


The program is seven classes that are 2.5 hours each:
  • Tuesday, September 30th: Class overview, composting basics, types of bins (Nancy Stone, Master Composter)
  • Tuesday, October 7th: Yard Waste Reduction  (Chris Simmons, Master Composter, City of Ypsilanti)
  • Tuesday, October 14th: Tour of municipal composting operations, home soil testing, hot composting, 4150 Platt Road, Ann Arbor.  Students will meet outside the Compost Center's access road and carpool through the site operated by WeCare Organics, followed by a classroom segment in the city's recycling plant, MRF Education Center. Distribute/discuss open book exam. (Chris Simmons, Nancy Stone, Joet Reoma, Master Composters)
  • Tuesday, October 21th: Vermiculture, worm bins, special composting, compost teas (Jesse Raudenbush of Starr Valley Farms)
  • Tuesday, October 28th: Soils (Erica Kempter of Nature and Nurture)
  • Tuesday, November 4th: Worm bin workshop and site tour (held at Project Grow's Compost Education Center at the Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor).  Note: interested students may purchase a worm bin take-home kit for $30 with 1000 red worms, a 12-gallon container and worm bedding. (Jesse Raudenbush and Joet Reoma)
  • Tuesday, November 11th: Guest presenters with community composting opportunities, Take-Home Exam corrected in-class; students will share ideas for volunteer projects, set date and topic/speaker for graduation pizza dinner (Lisa Perschke, Advanced Master Composter and Advanced Master Gardener with guest presenters)
All classes are 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m..  They will all be held at Pioneer High School excpet the tour of the municipal compost operation on October 14th, and the Worm Bin Workshop November 4th. 


You can only sign up for the entire series, but the cost of all seven classes is only $49.  Erica Kempter, who helped create and still teaches part of the Organic Gardener Certification program at WCC, will be teaching the soils class.  

The Master Composter program does not require any previous knowledge of composting or gardening, but Erica thinks it is a great follow-up to the Organic Gardener Certification or Master Gardener programs for people who want to continue their organic gardening education.  

After finishing 10 hours of hands-on volunteer work and the classes, you become a certified Washtenaw County Master Composter.  


How Do I Register?
You can register through the Rec and Ed website but not until late August.  Just go to the Rec and Ed website and search on "Master Composter"  After Labor Day, you can also register by phone or in person.  Call Rec and Ed at (734)994-2300 for more details.

Where to Take Your Extra Produce

One difficulty donating produce is the need to bring it to a food bank promptly so it can be distributed before it wilts or goes bad.  FoodGatherers is a great place to take extra produce, but unless you are live or garden on the north side of town, you may not manage to drop your produce off in time.

For the past two years Project Grow's Giving Garden at Cobblestone Farm has been taking produce to the Back Door Food Pantry at 2309 Packard (right at Packard and Jewett on the campus of St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church and Temple Beth Emeth).  The Back Door Food Pantry is happy to accept produce from other Project Grow gardens and home gardens, too.  You can also take produce to the Bryant Community Center.  

Here are details on both food banks:

Back Door Food Pantry

2309 Packard Ann Arbor

(734) 662-2449 (St. Clare Episcopal Church)           

Donate:  Thursdays between 3 - 4pm or call office for other times


Bryant Community Center

3 W Eden Ct Ann Arbor, MI 48108-2511   


Donate daily:  10 am - 5pm - or call office to make other arrangements.

Site Pictures and Other Fun Stuff on Facebook 

When he remembers to bring his pre-smart phone camera, Kirk takes pictures of our garden sites as he visits them and posts the pictures to Facebook.  Even if you don't use Facebook, you can still view the pictures and other posts about events and volunteer opportunities here.  Also, if you'd like pictures of your garden featured on our page, either tag us in the pic or e-mail the pics to info@projectgrowgardens.org. We are also in the process of setting up an Instagram so you can get even more "likes" on all your hard work!

Brassicas at Wines in July