Thursday, August 23, 2007

Water is back on at the garden

Hi folks,

As of Thursday morning the 2 water spigets (1 old one and 1 new one) have running water. The new spiget is located in the back of the garden by the compost bins. When Michael returns this weekend, i'm sure we will have a new hose installed.

The project went smoothly.. and the new backflow apparatus behind the bench isn't as bulky as we feared. So that's a good thing.

Hope you'all are enjoying this beautiful august weather!!

Cheers, Gabriel

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Water has been disconnected at the garden

I'm heading out of town shortly, but I wanted to post a quick update about the plumbing project. I was just informed today that the water in the garden has to be disconnected while the new backflow unit is being installed.

I'm very sorry about this inconvenience, but I'm hoping the project will be completed in one week as promised. In the meantime, Gabriel is going to make arrangements with Stephanie next door to fill up three trash cans with water so that you can fill up the water can to irrigate your plots.

I wasn't able to speak to the plumbing crew this afternoon, but it appears that they were able to make a good connection with the water main in the front of the garden. I hope that means that they won't need to dig beyond the already rather large hole in the ground in the front of the garden.

Please be careful around the project site while all this work is being done. And please excuse the mess. It's probably a good idea to refrain from bringing children into the garden until this project is completed.

I'll be back on Friday evening. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact Zo at 845-1489.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Plumbing project gets underway on August 21

I just got word that the City Plumbing Department is planning on starting its work to add a second hose bib to the back of the garden on Tuesday (8/21). The contractor is planning on either setting the water line on top of the soil along the east side of the garden, or setting it below ground along the center pathway of the garden.

The City also will install a backflow preventer unit behind the bench in the front of the garden. This device is required to bring our irrigation system up to code and will prevent water from siphoning back into the City's water main and contaminating the water supply.

Assuming there are no surprises during the work, the project should be finished in one week. There is some concern that the water line coming in from the street is very old and rusted, which may mean that a section of the existing water line leading to the water main will need to be replaced. This would obviously take longer to complete. I'll be sure to keep you informed as the work progresses and I learn more.

I'm heading out of town on Tuesday night until the evening of August 24. If you have any questions or concerns while I'm gone, you can contact Zo at 845-1489.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunny Summer Work Day!

Last Saturday’s work day at the garden was a big success thanks to a good turnout and sunny skies, which made for a really beautiful day. As planned, we weeded the footpaths behind garden plots and all of the common area gardens. We also stained the wooden bench at the front of the garden, began repairs of some of the damaged garden plots, and cleared out the vegetation growing on the outside of the back fence. A good portion of the weeds that were cleared from the garden were the dreaded “sticky weed” that is so invasive. We bagged it all up for pick-up by the city rather than mixing it in our compost bins to avoid contamination of our compost.

After a couple of hours of work, we took a break for refreshments and a brief meeting. Here’s the run-down on what we discussed:

New hose connection for back of garden: It looks like the city will be installing a new hose bib for the back of the garden to make it easier for watering. This project will begin sometime around August 27. The city is planning on laying galvanized pipe above ground connected to the front faucet that will go behind the plots on the east side of the garden. The pipe will extend to the back of the garden to a new second hose bib and hose located right behind the compost bins.

At the same time, the city will be installing a backflow preventer unit, which will be located in the front of the garden behind the bench. This device prevents water from siphoning back into the city's water main and contaminating the water supply. The backflow preventer is required to bring the garden’s irrigation system up to city code.

To prepare for this work, we need to make sure that the space behind the plots on the east side of the garden is cleared to make room for the surface mounted pipe leading to the hose bib in the back of the garden. If you have a plot on the east side of the garden, please be sure to clear out the space behind your plot as soon as possible.

Garden security: Unfortunately, we found out that the lower apartment facing Lily Street on the east side of the garden was burglarized recently. The burglary took place a day after the garden gate was discovered open, and rope and a rope ladder were found inside the garden near the middle fence. Please be sure to always lock the front gate and tool shed when you are the last to leave the garden. After closing the lock, be sure to spin the combination and pull the lock to make sure that it is secure.

Rat in the garden: We had a report recently of a rat in the garden and there were a few more sightings during last Saturday’s work day. We discussed the fact that it is not uncommon to see rats in the city, although it is a bit unusual to see them during the daytime. A couple of gardeners suggested using traps to catch the rat(s), but others expressed safety concerns about doing so. We decided to take steps to make sure that we are not doing anything that might attract rats. We’ll make sure the garden is kept weeded, secure the trash cans, and look into whether food scraps in the compost should be avoided. Let’s keep an eye on things and see whether additional steps may be needed.

Garden Barbecue: We scheduled our annual garden barbecue for Saturday, September 15, from noon to 4pm. We’ll use garden funds to buy drinks and burgers and hot dogs (including veggie versions) for the grill. Gardeners are asked to bring a side dish to share. Zo will organize a group of musicians to perform on the back patio. If you’re a musician and would like to perform (or know someone who might be interested), please contact Zo at 864-1209. Lynn is looking into organizing activities for kids. We need more volunteers to help pull this event together. Please contact Michael at 902-9537 if you’d like to lend a hand.