Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More plums are ripe at the garden!

I hope everyone has been enjoying the delicious fruit from the middle plum tree by the back patio this past month. There are just a few plums left in the high branches of this tree but now the fruit in the other two plum trees are ripe and ready for picking!

All fruit in the garden is available to members of the garden. Feel free to use the fruit picker on the long pole by the toolshed to pick some plums. Position the padded basket of the fruit picker beneath the plums that are ripe. Tap the branch and the plums should land in the basket. I'll also leave some plums on the top of the compost bin.

If you discover that the plums are still hard and not fully ripe, give them a little extra time to ripen. If you refrigerate them before they are ready, they won't ripen.

We want to make sure that everyone gets a chance to enjoy these plums, so please don't take more than your fair share. Thanks!

Bamboo fence under construction

If you've been by the garden lately, you've probably noticed that construction has begun on the bamboo fence up front. Last weekend, Gabriel and I built the frame for the fence. The next step is to construct the two panels that will fill in the fence within the frame. The fence is based on a traditional Japanese design and is going to look amazing when it has been completed. It's coming along nicely and we hope to complete this project soon.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Victory Gardens return to San Francisco

Did you know that there were once hundreds of vegetable garden plots in Golden Gate Park maintained by local residents? It was all part of the nationwide Victory Gardens program during World War II that encouraged the growing of vegetables on public and private land to help reduce the pressure on the food supply brought on during the war. At its height in the 1940s, these gardens produced over 40 percent of all the produce consumed in the country.

Now there's a big effort to bring back Victory Gardens in San Francisco. Victory Gardens 2008+ is a program of Garden for the Environment and the City of San Francisco's Department for the Environment. This two-year pilot project aims to support the transition of backyard, front yard, window boxes, rooftops and unused land into organic food production areas.

Victory Gardens 2008+ will install at least 15 pilot urban organic food gardens in San Francisco this year. While 1940s-era Victory Gardens were part of a massive government effort to address food shortages during wartime, Victory Gardens 2008+ aims to encourage self reliance and independence from the industrial food system, according to founder Amy Franceschini.

Perhaps the most prominent pilot garden of this effort will be the demonstration garden now underway in front of City Hall (a photo of the garden is shown above). This quarter-acre, edible, ornamental landscape is being organized by Slow Food Nation and will feature a wide variety of heritage organic vegetables suited to the Bay Area microclimate.

The planting for the Civic Center demonstration garden is scheduled for Saturday, July 12 beginning at 9am. To get involved in the planting and to find out other ways you can support this effort this summer, contact info@slowfoodnation.org with "Victory Garden" in the subject line.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Volunteers needed for Open Garden Days

Last weekend, we held our first Open Garden Day to enable more folks in the neighborhood to enjoy our beautiful, little garden. We're hosting Open Garden Days on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month from 10am to 2pm this summer to provide a regularly scheduled opportunity for people who aren't members of the garden to come by and check it out.

Volunteers are needed for 2 hour shifts during these days to welcome visitors to the garden. Last Saturday, Lynn kicked off our first Open Garden Day and was on hand to great a handful of people who stopped by, including one person who signed up on our waiting list. Thanks Lynn!! I took over during the second half and talked to a few more folks. It was all very low key and provided a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the garden for a couple of hours on a nice afternoon.

I'm heading out of town today for a 10-day vacation back east and need to recruit two folks who can be on hand for the July 12th Open Garden Day. If you are interested, please sign up on the volunteer list posted on the tool shed. Volunteers are also needed for upcoming Open Garden days in August.

This is an easy way to help support our efforts to make the garden more accessible to our neighbors and to build greater connections with the community. Please consider volunteering today. Thank you!