Monday, December 14, 2009

Help Page Street bloom!

Volunteers are needed to help transform the tree wells surrounding John Muir Elementary School, with beautiful, drought resistant, flowering plants. Please let me know if you are interested in lending a hand.

Over the past few years, we have talked about adopting the tree wells that surround the elementary school to help beautify the neighborhood and extend the garden beyond our gate. This winter we're going to make that happen.

Right now, the tree wells are often full of trash and routinely tagged with graffiti. We 're planning on planting them with plants that will thrive in this environment, discourage trash and graffiti, and add beauty and greenery to the block. Now is the perfect time to get started on this project because the rainy winter months will help ensure that the new plantings get off to a good start.

No date has been set yet for the planting, but I wanted to send out an email to begin recruiting volunteers. We hope to complete this project in the next month.

Let me know know if you are interestred in helping out. Thanks!

Monday, November 23, 2009

End of the year garden deadline approaching

The end of the year is approaching and this is a reminder that all gardeners who aren't planning on actively gardening during the winter months are required to prepare their plots for the season.

To be clear, there are many things you can grow during the winter in the Bay Area and I don't want to discourage anyone from doing that.

But if you aren't planning on doing so, you are required to either sheet mulch your plot or grow a cover crop. Gardeners who don't take care of this by the end of the year will have to give up their plot to someone on the waiting list. Sheet mulching your plot or growing a cover crop will keep weeds under control and also help to improve the quality of your soil.

You'll find step-by-step instructions for sheet mulching tacked on the bulletin board at the back of the garden and here:

All the supplies for sheet mulching are in the garden: manure is under
the blue tarp in the front, cardboard is in the toolshed, and there are
a couple of bales of straw by the apple tree.

Cover Crop Instructions

Cover crops (also called green manure) suppress weeds, build productive soil, and help control pests and diseases. Plus, cover crops are easy to plant and require only basic care to thrive. Here are the basic steps to follow:

1. Remove all invasive weeds from your plot (oxalis, knot weed, crab grass – see picture of each posted on the top of the compost bin). Discard these invasive weeds in the green city compost trash can.

2. Aerate the soil in your plot by poking it with a fork spade.

3. Spread a ½” (or less) layer of horse manure over the soil in your plot (from the manure pile in the front of the garden).

4. Using the metal rake, gently mix the manure into the soil.

5. Spread the cover crop seed throughout your plot. You'll find seed in a jar in the tool shed. Try using 1 cup per square yard.

6. Using the metal rake, mix the seed into the soil.

7. Cover your plot with a very thin blanket of straw. If too much straw is used it will suppress the cover crop. The straw is used to hide the seed from birds and rodents.

8. Keep your plot watered until the winter rains start.

9. One month before planting towards the end of winter, chop the cover crop with pruners and mix into the soil. Cover with straw and wait for one month. Be sure to keep the plot watered. Remove the straw from plot on planting day. The straw goes into the garden compost bin not the green city compost trash can.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Planning ahead for winter gardening

It's not too early to begin making plans for winter gardening. In fact, its best to start cool weather crops when the season is still warm and there are enough hours of sunlight to encourage germination and initial growth.

Some winter crops that do well in the garden are peas; root vegetables like carrots, turnips and beets; greens like lettuce and spinach; brocolli, kale, and collard greens; and garlic and onions. More information about winter crops can be found in Pam Pierce's "Golden Gate Gardening," which can be found on the bookshelf in the toolshed.

You can learn more about winter garden this Saturday at the Garden for the Environment's "Organic Gardening for the Winter" workshop from 10am to noon. The garden is located at 7th and Lawton and pre-registration for the workshop is required.

Next workday and workshop: November 7

If you are not planning on gardening during the winter months, you are required to prepare your plot for the season, which will help keep weeds under control and improve the quality of your soil. On November 7, we'll have our fall workday and hold a workshop to demonstrate how to prepare your plot for the winter months. And we'll follow the workshop with more music and food in the garden. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Music and great food in the garden!

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for our annual garden party last weekend. Sunny skies and warm temperatures along with yummy food and great music made for another fun event in the garden. I really appreciate how everyone pitched in to help make things run smoothly. Special thanks to Bridgit, Marina, Jay, and Jamie who serenaded us with a wonderful accoustic guitar performance. Check out some photos from the event taken by Chad and myself.

Our next event will be November 7. We'll be holding a workshop on preparing your garden plot for the winter followed by another musice performance in the garden. Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More summer plums ripe in the garden!

We harvested the golden plums from the back of the garden and you'll find a basket of fruit on the compost bin. There are a limited number of plums available, so just take one so others can enjoy them. First come first served!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Plums are ripe and ready for pickin'

Have you tasted one of the delicious plums from the back of the garden yet? The plums on the middle plum tree (bordering the southeast corner of the patio) are ripe and ready for picking!

All fruit at the Page Street Garden is available to members of the garden. Feel free to use the fruit picker on the long pole by the toolshed to pick a plum. Just position the basket of the fruit picker beneath one of the plums. Tap the branch and the plum should land in the basket. I'll also pick a few and leave them on top of the compost bin.

There aren't that many plums in the tree, so please just take one so everyone gets a chance to enjoy them. The fruit from the other two plum trees will ripen in a few weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New compost set-up and instructions

The Compost Team) did some work last weekend to catch up on all the plant material that has been accumulating in the compost area, and in general make sure the compost is progressing nicely. The main change we made is this: please use the left side of
the tumbler to add your kitchen scraps and non-invasive weeds. The right tumbler is now closed off to new additions and will be only opened to add water once in a while while it continues the decomposition process. A small tag has been placed on the right tumbler to remind you to use the left one.

Here is an overview of the compost area now, as you are facing it,
from left to right :

Left Wooden Box: Finished compost, ready to sift into your plot.

Right Wooden Box: Chopped up bulky plant material from what had accumulated, mainly the bamboo, mung bean stems and tall stems from the front of the garden, covered in hay.

Left compartment of Compost Tumbler: Newly started compost area, PUT YOUR SCRAPS HERE, as well as your non-invasive weeds. Remember to check the posted pics if you are unsure if your weed is invasive or not.

Right Compartment of Compost Tumbler: Resting compost, this compartment should not be added to.

Questions? Call Brent at 750-1570. Thanks!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Springtime bounty at the garden

The fava beans, kale, and chard have been doing great in the garden thse past few months. Gordon just harvested a big bowl of fava beans from his plot for a feast he was preparing and said the leaves from the top of the plants are also delicious for sauteeing.

How's your garden growing? Send me photos of the veggies you're harvesting, flowers you're growing, or your time spent in the garden. I'd love to post more photos on the blog and on the bulletin board in the front of the garden. Email photos to

Daily Show: Little Crop of Horrors

Check out this hilarious Daily Show send-up of the American Council of Science and Health (ACSH), which criticized Michelle Obama for planting an organic garden at the White House. Not surprisingly, the ACSH gets a lot of its funding from chemical companies that would love everybody to slather on the pesticides when they garden.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Little Crop of Horrors
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Volunteers needed for garden teams

At last weekend’s workday we discussed a number of teams that are forming to take the lead on different garden projects.

Compost Team: Brent, Adam, Gabriel, Shawn, and Chad signed up for the compost team. They’ll work on devising a plan for maintaining our compost systems, including the new Compost Tumbler, and to develop signage and materials to help make sure everyone knows how contribute and use it.

Common Area Gardens Team: Steve Smith, Gabriel, Stephen Davidson, Laura, John McMahon, Shawn, and Meghan signed up for the Common Area Gardens Team. They’ll work on taking responsibility for watering, maintaining, and making improvements to the common area gardens.

Events Team: Gordon, John McMahon, and Michael signed up for the Events Team. We need more volunteers to help plan special events in the garden, including workshops, open-mic music performances, and garden barbecues.

Workday Team: I need volunteers to help me plan and prepare for workdays, including set-up beforehand and clean up after we’re done.

Communications Team: I’d love to have some help creating a more engaging blog and bulletin board for the front and back of the garden. Writers and photographer volunteers needed.

Art Projects Team: Gabriel is interested in developing some art projects in the garden. Laura and Karen signed up to explore ideas.

Please consider volunteering for one of the above teams or let me know if you are interested in lending a hand in some other way.

The garden is looking great these days! Help us build on this success by volunteering some extra time to the garden.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Strange Attractor at the Garden

The artificial flowers of Strange Attractor are currently cohabiting with native flowers at the front of the garden. The installation was created by Mang who was on hand at the garden for an opening for his project following our spring workday.

Check out Mang's blog for more photos and information.

Do you have an idea for an art project for the garden? Contact Gabriel at to join the Art Projects Team.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring workday scheduled for April 25, 10am-1pm

Mark your calendars and make plans to attend our Spring workday on Saturday, April 25, from 10am to 1pm. We'll spend some time weeding the common area gardens, making improvements to the succulent garden up front, clearing out some of the junk that has accumulated near the tool shed, and working on other garden chores.

Brent will also lead another compost workshop, including demonstrating how to use the new Compost Tumbler, which he was able to get donated to the garden from the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council. It's critical that everyone attends this workshop to learn how to use the new compost bin and contribute to this important garden resource.

We'll take a break around noon for a meeting to discuss plans for the year and to talk about some new teams that are forming to take the lead on different projects in the garden. We really want to encourage everyone to contribute their talents and ideas to building community in the garden and helping to make it an even more special place for the neighborhood.

Finally, at around 1pm we'll be hosting an opening for Strange Attractor, the artwork installed by Mang in the California native plant garden by the front gate. Stay tuned for more details.

See you on the 25th!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting down and dirty with compost

We had a terrific workshop on composting on Saturday thanks to a fun and informative presentation by Amy Kessler of the Garden for the Environment. Some of you may remember Amy (also know as the "Worm Lady") from another workshop she led at the garden a few years back. Amy is a hardcore composting fanatic who broke it all down in a very engaging and often very funny presentation.

Special thanks to Brent for organizing the event, which covered the basics on backyard composting and how it helps reduce waste, builds soil, and encourages your plants to thrive. Amy demonstrated the three-bin composting system down the street at the Koshland Garden and then showed us how to use the worm compost bin at Page Street.

You may have noticed the new Compost Tumbler at the garden. It was generously donated by the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council after Brent applied for a grant. The Compost Tumbler will enable us to produce compost more efficiently because it makes it easier to turn the pile, which helps things break down more quickly. We'll be getting this new system up and running soon, so stay tuned for details on how to use it.

Finally, we'll be holding another compost workshop at our Spring workday, which is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 25. If you didn't make it to yesterday's workshop, please make sure to come to this one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Compost workshop on Saturday, March 21: 2-4 pm

All gardeners are encouraged to come to a special workshop on composting this Saturday, March 21, from 2-4pm. The workshop will begin at Koshland Park Community Learning Garden (Page Street near the corner of Buchanan)and then continue at the Page Street Garden.

This workshop is being presented by Garden for the Environment, Page Street Community Garden, and the Hayes Valley Park Group. It's a perfect opportunity to learn the basics about composting and to jump-start your spring garden with some homemade compost! Aside from giving veggies and flowers a healthy start, composting encourages beneficial organisms in the soil and can help break the life cycle of plant pests and disease.

Join us for this fun, hands-on class teaching methods for backyard and worm composting. Come learn what you can do to improve your garden without chemical fertilizers or pesticides and prevent organic waste from ending up in the landfill! Rot on!

To pre-register, please call (415) 731-5627, or email

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here comes the rain again - workday CANCELLED

It looks like we've got another rainy day ahead of us so
we're canceling today's workday. We'll try again next weekend.

Keep an eye out for another notice later today with the date and time for the re-scheduled workday and workshop.

Questions? Call me at 902-9537.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Deadline TODAY for membership dues

Today is the deadline for paying 2009 garden membership dues. Thanks to all who have sent in their dues. I haven't heard from quite a few of you so I'm hoping to receive payment in the mail real soon.

If you haven't mailed your membership dues and still want to keep your plot, please email me ( to let me know your plans. I'm starting to contact people on the waiting list to let them know about which garden plots are available so I'm trying to get a good handle on that.

Mail or drop off membership dues made out to "Page Street Garden" to Michael McCauley, 881 Hayes Street, SF, CA 94117. Check out the blog for more details:

Scroll down to January 20th post for more info.

Questions? Call me at 902-9537.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winter workday re-scheduled for February 22

Sunday's (2/15) workday and workshop is cancelled because of
expected rain. San Francisco is in store for a big rain storm tonight
and it's supposed to continue pouring off and on throughout the day on

Please make plans to come to the re-scheduled winter workday and workshop one week later on Sunday, February 22, from 10am to 1pm. We'll take care of winter chores and Gabriel will lead a special workshop on building soil, weed control, and getting ready for spring planting.

Hope to see you then.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2009 Membership Dues Needed by February 15

A belated "Happy New Year" to everyone!

With the start of 2009, it's time again to collect annual membership dues for the garden. Your dues help pay for needed supplies, ongoing maintenance, and unexpected expenses. 2009 membership dues are needed by February 15.

Over the past year, we used garden dues to cover the expenses of a number of projects, including the purchase of new tools, plants for the common area gardens, supplies for the new bamboo fence, and food and other items for our workshops, garden barbecue, and other special events.

More people than ever before are anxious to join our garden -- 35 people are currently on our garden waiting list. Please keep this in mind as you consider whether to renew your membership.

Given the demand for garden plots we want to make sure that all members make a serious commitment to actively garden throughout the year. Gardeners agree to use their plots year-round on a regular basis and are expected to participate in at least one of the four annual workdays. I'd like to amend the garden agreement to require all gardeners to come to two workdays each year -- we'll be talking more about that soon.

Annual dues for the garden are on a sliding scale as follows (choose whatever contribution level works for you):

$12 – gardener
$25 – butterfly
$50 – sunshine
$100 – golden trowel
or you can choose your own contribution amount

If you are interested in renewing your membership for the garden, please send a check made out to "Page Street Garden" to:

Michael McCauley
881 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-2614

I'm anxious to make garden plots available to the folks on our waiting list, so please let me know by February 15 whether you intend to renew your garden membership. If you plan on giving up your garden plot, I would appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible.

Give me a call if you have any questions (902-9537). Thank you!