Friday, October 28, 2011


What an incredible fall we are having. And it looks as though it will continue for a while. I spent some time in the garden yesterday and decided that my favorite season is whichever season we are currently having.  The shades of browns, yellows, and oranges that are in both the garden and up on the bluffs are too numerous to count. And harvesting continues. Kale, brussel sprouts, calendula, snap dragons are all at their peak. Even my dill keeps re-sprouting. Winter squash that was hidden all summer stands out from the dead vines, saying, "Pick me! Pick me!" There are even some tomatoes here and there.

For the most part, the garden is in really good shape. Some of you have closed up shop for the season. Many of you have cover-cropped. You won't be sorry. Next year you will have fewer weeds and better soil. 

Because this is a community garden in a very public place and not a backyard, how we care for the garden impacts others. Here are some reminders of things that need to be done:
  • All stakes, tomato cages, fences, or other supports need to be removed and stored for the winter. I wish we had a place in the garden to do this, but we don't. There are quite a few of the 2' pointed stakes (extras from the corner posts on all the plots). These can be slipped in the palette slots around the outside edge of the compost bins.
  • Weeds:  I struggle with this because there is no cut and dried answer. Different people have different tolerances for weeds. Also, if you are returning next year, there is more leeway because you have to deal with them either now or later. The main point to keep in mind is, again, the impact on the garden as a whole. This means-be sure to remove seedy weeds (foxtail comes to mind), thistle, and the random small tree that has gained a toe hold on the edge of your plot. If you are not returning, pay more attention to clearing out the weeds so you don't leave a mess for someone else. 
  • If you had vines growing up the fence, pull off the dead vines.  
  • Observe your "property lines", especially in the flower beds. We are beginning to have some lovely perennials. After they are finished blooming, prune them back severely. Many bushy plants (like mint) benefit from being cut back to the ground The new growth will be thicker and healthier. Strawberries want to wander all over the place. Gently pull the runners up and turn them back into the plot. Ground staples work well for this. 

  • When you know about your plans for next year let me know. Thanks to all of you who have already done so. 
  • An order form for notecards was attached to your email. Let me know if you can't open it. My new computer gets a low grade in the "plays well with others" category, but I think I've got it fixed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

OCTOBER 17, 2011

Work Day-The work day Sunday was successful. 
  • We moved all the unfinished compost to the south bin. The bottom half of the north bin was filled with beautiful compost, which was distributed to most of the plots. Now the north bin is available for this year's compost. Reminder: please continue to use restraint on what you put in the compost bin. Chop up the big and heavy stuff. There are loppers in the shed. Keep the small stuff on your own plot to compost over the winter. 
  • A green tape tied to one of your corner post  means that compost has been put on your plot. It should be good to go for next year. 
  • The south and east outside perimeters of the fence are now nicely weeded and covered with chips. 
  • A big thank you to those who came out and did the heavy lifting and digging. 

Closing the Garden, 2011-This glorious late fall is giving us a few extra weeks of gardening. However rumor has it that winter will eventually come to Minnesota. Continue to harvest as long as you can, but eventually we will need to make the garden "winter-ready". This means 
  •  Seedy weeds have been pulled and composted
  •  All structures (fences, tomato stakes, art, etc.) have been removed and stored. 
  • The plot is generally neat and tidy
  • Cover cropping is highly encouraged, but not required. Oats are in the shed. 
  •  If you want to leave dead vegetable skeletons, that is fine, especially if you are returning next year. I am not a bare-earth advocate. Know which plants or weeds will create a future problem and which don't really matter. 
  • In order to receive your clean-up refund or roll it over to next year, your plot must be "winter-ready" and you need to have completed and recorded 10 hours of volunteer work. Ask me if you have any questions about this, 

2012-People are already asking about next year.  All current gardeners may have their same plot next year if they want. Two points to keep in mind:
  • If you know for sure what your plans for the garden are in 2012, could you let me know. There is a rather long waiting list for plots next year and I need to start thinking about what is going to be available. At this point, I don't need a firm commitment, just an idea. 
  • Also, at this point we don't know what the fee schedule for 2012 will be, so we need to hold off on registrations. We plan to discuss our financial needs at the annual meeting. Then we will be able to register people for next year. 

Seed Saving - The Organic Seed Alliance has a detailed seed-saving guide available to download. It crammed with information and is almost a short course in botany

Garden Notecards-Don't forget to order notecards. An order form is included in your email.

Monday, October 10, 2011


OCTOBER 16, 1:00

Transfer unfinished compost from the north bin to the south bin
Distribute finished compost to all the plots
Empty north bin to use for this year's compostables

{as time, energy and labor are available}
Spiff up paths with newspaper and wood chips where needed
Weed outside perimeter of fence line
General end-of-the-season clean up

work gloves, spading forks or shovels, garden rakes, wheelbarrows
snacks and drinks

Bring your orders and checks for the garden notecards
$15 for a box of 6
Order forms are in the shed or in your email attachement
(1 hour of volunteer work is credited for each box ordered)

Remember to update your work hours on the list in the shed.