Growing the garden of your dreams NCCGP 2013


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Growing the garden of your dreams NCCGP 2013

  1. 1. Growing the Community Garden of Your Dreams Suggestions for a Path to Sustainability Joni Torres, Pitt County Cooperative Extension Mary Jac Brennan, Forsyth County Cooperative Extension
  2. 2. Quick Plug: Growing Communities Curriculum Workbook developed by the American Community Gardening Association. Workshops teach practices and strategies community organizers use to develop garden leaders and use a participatory approach to community building. Most recent NC workshop was held in October 2012 in Clemmons . Available at:
  3. 3. Goals for Today • Growing the Community – Core Beliefs of Community Building • Organizing the Garden– Governance • Growing the Plants – Horticultural • Telling the Story – Communications Wow! That’s a lot of information. Assumption: The garden has already been started.
  4. 4. Growing the Community Growing roots in the gardeners and the community
  5. 5. Reasons for Garden Losses in the last 5 years 1992 1998 2012 Lack of interest n/a by gardeners 49% 37% Loss of land to private organizations 46% 15% 17% Loss of land to public agency 54% 20% 13% Loss of funding for program staff n/a n/a 15% Other n/a n/a 17% Source: Community Gardening Organization Survey 2011-2012. By Laura Lawson and Luke Drake. ACGA Community Greening Review 2013
  6. 6. Three Most Challenging Issues Issues % Respondents People- getting new people involved, keeping them involved, community building 58% Funding Land- access to new sites and securing it long term Materials used in the garden 61% 23% 22% Source: Community Gardening Organization Survey 2011-2012. By Laura Lawson and Luke Drake. ACGA Community Greening Review 2013
  7. 7. Community Building Core Beliefs • Many different ways to manage a community garden. • The garden should grow and adapt based on the strengths, needs and desires of the local community. • Diverse participation and leadership, at all phases of garden operation, enrich and strengthen a community garden. • Each community member has something to contribute. • Gardens are communities in themselves, as well as part of a larger community. Source: Growing Communities: How to Build Community Through Community Gardening by Jeanette Abi-Nader, David Buckley, Kendall Dunnigan and Kristen Markley
  8. 8. Garden Longevity “Community gardening is most successful and long lasting when the people affected by the garden have a role in leading the development of the garden” (Abi-Nader et al., p. 13).
  9. 9. What is the Mission of the Garden? Renewing your garden’s Develop a mission in the early stages and then build in regular opportunities for renewing it. mission will help it to stay in touch with the changing needs of the people involved and the local community
  10. 10. Developing a Mission for the Garden Who will use the garden and what will they use it for? What community needs could the community garden help to meet? What issues in your community could the community garden help to address? Example: To provide a local source of organically grown fruits and vegetables, educate young people and adults about the benefits of gardening, and cultivate a community of individuals committed to sustainable land use in an urban setting.
  11. 11. How Many People Does it Take to Grow a Community Garden? Depends on the size of the garden. Foster relationships among the larger community. Grow the community to support the garden Source: Community-Gardening-Success-Factors.pdf
  12. 12. Have Fun while Fundraising Celebrate at every opportunity Grow the Gardener and you will grow the Garden Sow the Seeds for Community Growth
  13. 13. Combat theft by offering to share Use your garden as a neighborhood outreach Conduct activities for youth Establish a positive presence in the community
  14. 14. Garden Governance Guiding the garden towards self-management
  15. 15. Example of Gardener Guidelines Adapted from the Community Garden Coalition ( Gardener Guidelines. • A plot cannot be gardened until payment of fees and a signed agreement and liability release is received and approved. • Gardeners must show planting progress by May 1, or contact the Garden Manager with a valid reason. • All gardeners are required to volunteer at least 5 hours per year to help maintain the garden. Please sign up for one of the garden jobs/crews . • Keep your plot and the adjoining pathways neat and well tended. Habitual lack of plot cleanup will result in a loss of the plot and cleanup deposit.
  16. 16. Guidelines • If your plot appears to be untended for a period of time, and you haven’t contacted the garden manager, you will be contacted and your plot may be assigned to another gardener. • Put cut up and put weeds and dead plants into the compost bins. Diseased plants or seedy or invasive weeds are to be removed from the premises to prevent contaminating the compost. • Do not apply anything to, or pick anything from another person's plot without their consent.
  17. 17. Recycling Bulletin Board Make it Easy to Follow the Guidelines Signage keeps everyone informed Vacationing Gardener
  18. 18. Everyone Should Have a Job • Determine what tasks need to be done to keep garden growing and going. • Give people the opportunity to sign up according to their interests and abilities. • Have co-leaders for each group (people move). Grounds Composting Garden Manager Events Communications Monitors
  19. 19. Larger Gardens Will Need More Committees • Create a calendar and assign gardeners to specific time (if they fail to sign up). • Post calendar for all to see • Educate, remind, revise, and adapt. • Change takes time. • Recognize success when it occurs Fundraising Volunteer Coordinator Maintenance Education Orientation Surplus produce
  20. 20. October Calendar of Activities • Have a garden clean-up day for everyone to clean their plots and help with • Prepare the garden for winter by planting cover crops common areas. • Make sure compost areas are not overflowing and all plant material has been • Store cleaned tools and supplies for chopped into small pieces. winter. Let garden manager • Have an end-of-season know if you are renewing for next year. potluck to celebrate successes. All plots should be put to bed by November 1. No cages or mobile supports should be left standing in the garden • Prepare a final report of activities and evaluate the season for next year’s improvements. Source: Growing Community Gardens A Denver Urban Gardens’ Best Practices Handbook for Creating and Sustaining Community Gardens, 2012
  21. 21. Provide frequent learning opportunities Gardeners gain new knowledge and develop leadership skills. Make it open to the public to provide outreach to the community and reward volunteers who help to support and maintain the garden Organic Pest Management Workshop
  22. 22. “People need to experience a sense of their own power.” Schedule regular workdays. Hold regular meetings. Develop leaders and knowledge base Leverage Capacity Awareness Compost team at work
  23. 23. Orientation Tours for New Members Provides a group welcome Chance to meet others Reminds new members of their responsibilities Locate tools and identify procedures Ex: Coffee and Cookies
  24. 24. Example: Post-orientation survey The Community Garden wants new members to feel welcome and to ensure that they are aware of their rights and obligations, the facilities available, the way the Garden is run and the opportunities for social interaction among members. Your feedback on your orientation session will help us to improve the way we do this. 1.When was your orientation session? 2. Are you confident that you understand the following: Yes No How to lock the gates and sheds? How the compost system works? Where to access tools? What sort of information is found on the bulletin board? How to find committee members in emergencies or for information? Not sure Consider: Follow-Up Orientation Survey Another chance to educate and build awareness Clear up any misconceptions Ex: Please don’t take all the compost! Where is the nearest toilet? How to find the Garden’s web page? Where print copies of the orientation handout are kept? Source: Community-Gardening-Success-Factors.pdf
  25. 25. Develop Your Own Garden Manual Share the garden’s history Provides common resources for all gardeners Build continuity in garden management and allow for succession Organize the organization
  26. 26. Free Organizational tools To schedule a meeting or event: Organizing an event To work on a project together
  27. 27. More tools Flyer templates: To conduct surveys or gather opinions: Any you would like to share?
  28. 28. Don’t do for others what they can do for themselves. Build community not dependency “Go slow to go fast” Source: Growing Communities: How to Build Community Through Community Gardening by Jeanette Abi-Nader, David Buckley, Kendall Dunnigan and Kristen Markley
  29. 29. Making Decisions by Consensus • A group arrives at a mutual agreement by trying to address all concerns. • Takes longer than other processes, but it fosters creativity, cooperation and commitment to final decisions. • Asks people to step out of their personal agendas and to make decisions that are in the best interest of the whole group. • A block is only used when a person has a strong moral disagreement or thinks that the decision will fundamentally damage the group. Source: Growing Communities: How to Build Community Through Community Gardening by Jeanette Abi-Nader, David Buckley, Kendall Dunnigan and Kristen Markley
  30. 30. Consensus Decision Making Process: • State the issue. What are we talking about? • Clarify the question. What needs to be decided? • Discussion. What are all the viewpoints? • Make a proposal. Try to incorporate all viewpoints. • Discussion. Members express support or concerns • Modify the proposal. Or create a new proposal • Test for consensus. Call for concerns, objections, blocks • Consensus reached. Show visual or oral agreement. • Decision implemented Who does what when?
  31. 31. Observe clearly marked recycling bin Gardeners are improperly using recycling container Look inside Garden manager wants to try “Pack it in, pack it out approach”
  32. 32. What makes for a successful community garden? • Shared Leadership • Shared work • Shared Vision, Guidelines and Plan • Regular contact • Shared fun • Shared Communication • Shared Decision making • Everyone can participate and everyone feels welcome • Presence in the Community • The Garden has Partners Source:
  33. 33. Sustainable Horticulture Tips and toolkit resources
  34. 34. How to find Cooperative Extension Information Easy search to access resources To find organic agriculture information
  35. 35. Some NC Resources
  36. 36. More NC Resources
  37. 37. What to grow in the community garden? A few simple questions will help to guide you in plant selection: Who is the garden being grown for? If it is for yourself, what do you like to eat? How much time will you devote to the garden? What time of the year will you be gardening? How big is your garden?
  38. 38. Selected Crop Choices for Community Gardens • For small raised beds: greens of all kinds, squash, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, root crops, herbs-intensive planting. Avoid corn and vining plants! Be a good neighbor. • For communal plots with plenty of space: corn, melons, sweet potatoes-may be traditional rows with furrows or permanent wide beds. • For communal plots with limited volunteers: Create an event! Plant one type crop such as sweet potatoes, cowpeas, corn, or collards.
  39. 39. Plant Flowers for Beneficial Insects & the Neighbors • Providing a home for natural enemies of insects (predators and parasitoids) and pollinators (bees) can help manage pests and increase crop yields. • Many beneficial insects rely on plants for nectar and pollen or shelter. • Everyone enjoys flowers Image Source:
  40. 40. PLAN before you PLANT! Read seed catalogs and check planting calendar Take a class Talk with other gardeners offered by Prepare your Extension or local purchase seeds Cooperative community garden soil and or transplants Now what?
  41. 41. Vegetable Garden Calendar • Early Spring: Feb, Early March • Plant cool season crops outside to harvest through early summer (June) • Spring: April, May • Plant warm season crops outside to produce through summer (usually finish by August) • Late Summer: Aug, Sept • Plant quick maturing warm season crops to harvest through first frost • Plant cool season crops • Quick maturing, half hardy – harvest in fall through Dec. • Long season, hardy – stand through winter See regional garden calendars for more information
  42. 42. North Carolina has a long growing season. With season extension, food can be grown year-round! Keep records of what you plant and where you plant for crop rotation planning. See regional garden calendars on resource list
  43. 43. Do not grow crop from Practice Crop Rotation same family in the same spot year after year • Divide growing area into separate spaces Must know Prevent build- are related to diseases, and which plants up of insects, plan rotation weeds Rotate areas crops are grown • Example, if have 4 raised beds, come up with a 4 year plan • Consider different seasons • Designate cool season and warm season crops for each bed
  44. 44. Year 1 Group 1 Tomatoes, Peppers, Egglplants summer Potatoes winter Corn – summer Crop Rotation Planning Year 2 Group 2 Group 4 Group 1 Squash, Cucumbers, Melons summer Corn – summer Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants summer Green manure winter Spinach, Lettuce Fall Beans – summer Brassicas – fall and winter Group 4 Group 3 Spinach, Lettuce Fall Beans – summer Brassicas – fall and winter Group 3 Potatoes winter Squash, Cucumbers, Melons – summer Green Manure Winter Group 2
  45. 45. Soil Fertility Considerations • Always start with free soil test! • Base fertilizer and other amendment rates on soil test results and recommendations for crop • Only add what you need! • Excessive fertilizer applications end up in rivers and streams • Note: $4 peak season fee from Dec-March
  46. 46. Excess Nutrients in Streams Cause Algal Blooms and Fish Kills Consider downstream consequences: Non-sustainable for the fish!!!
  47. 47. pH: What’s it all about? • Most vegetables grow best at a pH of 6.2 to 6.7 • pH extremes cause nutrients to be unavailable and may increase concentration of toxic elements • Low pH reduces activity of soil organisms • Adding lime raises soil pH
  48. 48. What fertilizer to use? • Fertilizers are sometimes needed to supply some of the nutrients garden plants need • Synthetic fertilizers usually have higher concentrations of nutrients & become readily available
  49. 49. What’s in the bag or pile of manure? • For both organic and synthetic fertilizers, analysis (nutrient content) must be stated on bag. • E.g. 32-10-10 • Numbers are percentages (32%) • Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, are always represented in that order • For Piles: Need waste analysis on manure for accurate fertilization • See orgfertval.pdf on the resource page for more information N– P - K
  50. 50. What fertilizer to use? • Organic fertilizers are better for soil health, (encourage microorganisms) are less likely to cause water pollution, have lower concentrations of nutrients and are slowly made available to plants USE CAUTION WHEN USING ANIMAL MANURES!
  51. 51. Organic Matter Improves all Soil Types! Add OM each year with Compost, Cover crops, or Mulch 1-2” layer on surface Incorporate into top 6” of soil Till if necessary Use broadfork for least soil disturbance Or use a shovel or garden fork. Minimize disruption of soil ecosystem The broadfork is used to break up densely packed soil, and to improve aeration and drainage without too much disturbance of the soil layers. Build not destroy
  52. 52. Value of Soil Organic Matter • 1% of soil organic matter in the top 6 inches of soil contains: • 1,000 lbs of Nitrogen = $500 • 100 lbs of Phosphorus =$70 • 100 lbs of Potassium = $40 • 100 lbs of sulfur = $50 • 5 tons of carbon = $20 • Total value = $680 Source:
  53. 53. Sustain Soil Health: Grow Cover Crops • Fall cover crops: Red Clover & Cereal Rye mix works well, clover is a legume & adds nitrogen, cereal rye has an allelopathic effect on germinating seeds • Summer cover crops: Cow pea Is a legume & adds nitrogen, buckwheat, and millet are fast growing and can become a pesky weed if not managed well. • Cover crops protect the soil from erosion, add organic matter when turned under, and can reduce weed populations.
  54. 54. Cultivate beneficial soil organisms: Feed the web Grow your own fertilizer and organic matter by growing cover crops. NO $ or resources spent on manufacture packaging, transport and disposal NO concerns about harmful residues Image Source:
  55. 55. Mulch your garden to retain soil moisture, reduce weeds, and to add organic matter • 2”-4” deep to block light and reduce weed seed germination • Know the source of the mulch to avoid herbicide damage (ex. grass clippings) • Newspaper + Straw (beds) • Cardboard + wood or straw (paths) • Use straw (NOT HAY) • Beds: turn in mulch at end of season • Paths: replenish mulch as needed
  56. 56. Conserve Water Wise Use Practices
  57. 57. Conserve Water • Most vegetables require ~ 1” water per week from rain or irrigation-check soil with finger 1-2” below soil surface • Water deeply not frequently (unless starting seeds) • Soaker hoses work well • Less water lost through evaporation • Place close to base of plants Water the roots and soil not the leaves Wet foliage = Disease problems Water early in the morning or in the evening Remember: Not the leaves Mulch soil to reduce water loss by evaporation
  58. 58. If you can’t drink the water, do not apply it to your fruits, herbs or vegetables • The best practice is to use a regulated, treated water source. Water authorities treat and test the water to ensure it meets EPA drinking water standards • If you are using another source, such as a well, have the water tested and make sure it is up to EPA standards before using it for watering plants or washing hands, equipment or food. Source:
  59. 59. Food Safety in the Garden • 1. Clean and sanitized hands. • 2. Safe soil amendments. • 3. Clean water. • 4. Clean and sanitized surfaces. • Read manual for complete details Image Source:
  60. 60. Harvesting and Food Safety • Wear one-use only gloves when harvesting or simply wash hands before harvesting. • Put the harvest into clean, sanitized containers. • If you are not sure when the harvesting containers were last washed, put the harvest into new plastic bags. • Wash and sanitize tools before harvesting. • Always wash harvest before eating. For more information see: Food Safety for School and Community Gardens
  61. 61. Communication Grow your community through communication Communicate, don’t irritate
  62. 62. Lots of Competition out there Time is money Why should they spend it with you? Image Source: Help them find you Register: www.communitygarden. org/ Local Exposure: University Service Site Chamber of Commerce City and County Sites Seek local partners
  63. 63. So many options, so little time Consider Tools Target audience Goals Message Skills needed Time involved Signs in the garden Bulletin board E-mail Snail mail Garden website facebook Twitter Pinterest Image Source:
  64. 64. Keeping track of the harvest Potable water Communicate by every means possible Verbal and Visual Composting Keep tools handy
  65. 65. Develop your Elevator Speech! Turn to a neighbor and tell them in 3 sentences about your community garden (OK maybe 4!) Practice! Practice! Practice!
  66. 66. Tell your Story! To the Community To Each Other
  67. 67. It’s Time to Stop Dreaming and Start Growing…… The Community Garden of Your Dreams “It takes team work to make the dream work”