The leaves are turning and there’s a slight chill in the air. The kids are back in school and some of our garden plants are starting to sleep.
Garden cleanup is on our minds during this time of the year. Its bittersweet to put Roots to sleep. We want to still squeeze out that last bit of summer in the form of our wonderful veggies, but realize that giving the garden a good rest will ensure next years crop.
We will begin cleanup slowly and during our weekly work hours at the garden instead of a Saturday work-athon. Doing it slowly during the week allows those last minute veggies to ripen and let’s us take in those last days of dirty hands, kids laughing as they run between the rows of tomatoes and the overall satisfaction of team work for a wonderful cause.
If you helped this year in the garden, thank you. Roots is made possible because folks from all walks of life work together to help those who otherwise would not have access to fresh produce. If you planted a seed with us, you have planted a love of garden in the life of a child, respect for the earth, and most importantly planted the idea that no matter where we come from, no matter what our story is, no matter what language we speak, no matter where we stand socioeconomically, we can work together.
Thank you for growing with us!
Roots Community Garden
"More grows in a garden, than was sown there" _____ Old English Proverb
Does this ever happen to you? You see a flourishing plant and are certain that you didn’t plant it but don’t want to dig it up because you have an inkling that it may be something wonderful. This recently happened in the garden with a rogue pepper. While we do our best to ensure that our seeds are all properly labeled, once in a while we get a rogue seed that plants itself and flourishes quite nicely. Recently, a volunteer to the garden asked about a skinny long pepper that was flourishing. Because no one could identify it and no one could remember planting it, we ignored it and let it grow.
Lucky for us, her nephew is a professor of Horticulture and he was able to dig up information for us. Here is his response and a pic scanned below.
From what I can tell from the picture, it is probably a Cayenne pod type although it is a little “skinnier” than I would normally expect. If it is cayenne, then it is best when allowed to ripen to red on the plant. This should be happening pretty soon.
We are used to folks stopping by when we are working the garden. For the most part, they want information on what Roots Community Garden is, how to participate, how to create a community garden, etc. etc. So when Master Garden Kirstin L. happened to pass by and dropped off a plethora of gardening information, we were elated. We have a lot of respect for master gardeners around here. Many of us aspire to become one too. In the meantime however, we are busy writing grants, working the garden and organizing the community effort that makes Roots Community Garden possible. Kristin’s information is golden for us. Here is her advice based on what she saw in the garden.
1. Healthy from the start: Seed germination is very important. If they are not in a good environment at the beginning they will struggle throughout the summer. We had ventilation issues this year in the greenhouse. Kirstin thinks that is why are peppers are struggling a bit.
2. Cover crops help nourish the garden for next year: Fall is a very important time of year for gardens. Kirstin suggests pulling all plants in the beginning of October and dispersing a cover crop like alfalfa or fava beans. The fava beans would be better than alfalfa because of the amount of nitrogen it puts back in the soil. When the cover crop is frozen and done growing dump, manure on top. Leave this mixture of cover crops and manure all winter long. In the spring till it all under.
3. Compost bins need TLC too!: Make sure to stir the compost and add kitchen scraps. The compost bin can not just be the weeds that are pulled. It needs brown and green items too. Kirstin suggests adding a layer of hay every once in a while as the brown part.
A gardener learns more in the mistakes than in the successes. —Barbara Dodge Borland
When Amy of Path of Intention stopped by our home base, we were thrilled. Amy has been an active member of our community in the past and is always interested in philanthropic work. When she mentioned that she had become a yoga instructor, we were thrilled! Because space at the home base is limited, we decided to try yoga at the garden.
Gardening is not just a wonderful way of growing veggies and beautiful flowers, its also hard work and can leave you stiff, achy and sore. Our Roots members were pleasantly surprised when we asked them to trade in their gardening gloves for yoga mats for the day. And, to many it was just what the doctor ordered. According to the Mayo clinic website, yoga has shown to reduce stress, enhance mood, improve flexibility and strength and help reduce certain factors of chronic diseases. If you want to give it a try, check with your doctor before engaging in any form of exercise.
Yoga is the perfect way to unwind after a hard days work in the garden. Amy was able to instruct both children and adults during her family yoga session. We hope to have her back soon helping us reap the benefits of yoga.
Yoga and gardening are a natural pairing. Planting a seed, nurturing its growth, and experiencing its beautiful expression in full bloom is not unlike the yogic process of setting an intention, nurturing one’s practice, and, finally, experiencing the Self as an individual expression of the creative life force. “Gardening, like yoga, pulls us into that relationship of being connected to all things,” says Veronica D’Orazio, a yoga teacher in Seattle and the author of Gardener’s Yoga. “People garden for that timeless connection.” From http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/2752.
A note before you read on: Please respect the privacy of our members and their children, our donors, volunteers and collaborative community partners. You must request permission before re-blogging, copying or distributing any information and media posted on here. Thank you for your cooperation!
950= The number of vegetables picked in July alone!
Given the rough start our seeds had in the green house (little ventilation caused slow and short growth) and that this is only our second growing season, we didn’t expect much progress or change in the garden this year. We have been pleasantly surprised! In July alone we were able to pick nearly 950 vegetables! We couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for a number of factors.
A look at our numbers:
120=The number of visits logged into the garden by garden members to work the garden despite the rain and high temperatures! Thank you green thumbs!
15=The number of community collaborative partners who have helped with logistics, volunteering and financially at the garden (of which 6 are new to us this year).
2= The number of master gardeners who have volunteered their knowledge to help us grow a healthy pesticide free garden.
3=The number of days a week garden families are weeding and caring for the garden.
85=The number of likes on our facebook page that have helped cultivate an interest in Roots Garden.
Calculating all of these numbers together brings us to a strong conclusion: A dedicated community can grow a healthy garden and in the process do so much more. Roots helps underserved families gain access to healthy fresh produce, educates on the importance of teaching our young ones where food comes from, educates on the many uses to social media and technology, helps foster friendships across all ethnicities and helps keep an empty lot looking busy, beautiful and growing healthy foods.
Thank you to all of you who have contributed this year.
We look forward to a few more months of growing this season!
—Verizon Wireless visits the garden in July 2013.
Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives."
At Roots Community Garden our goal is twofold:
1) To give families in need an opportunity to grow healthy foods and in this process 2) create a stronger connected community.
In 2012, our birth year, we were able to commit to and fulfill our goal. Goals need sustainability and this was we met through the generous donations of our community partners, private donors, grants and through the very families that volunteer at the garden. This being our second year, we are looking at sustainability in the broader sense and have put it to question:
How do we continue to help POC families grow healthy foods, connect our community and touch the very future lives of those that will one day ignore or respect the land (the latter being our wish)?
Once again, our donors, grantees and volunteers have answered the call to help us successfully begin the 2013 growing season and once again begin to fulfill our twofold goal. But what of those that will one day ignore or respect the earth? It became evident that we needed to reach out to the little ones that run and play at Roots Community Garden while their parents and caregivers volunteer their time.
This weekend we were able to reach out to our local preschool program and have an educational excursion to the garden. Despite a very wet week, the sun shone brightly at Roots Community Garden and the air was full of the laughter and oohhs and aahhs of the little ones. Once again, ROLE members answered the call to educate preschoolers and their parents on the importance of growing your own food, on respecting the earth and the little creatures that inhabit it. It was awe inspiring to see ROLE women give back not just to the here and now community, but to our very future as they educated the little ones about nature.
Thanks to our grants we were able to purchase lady bugs and praying mantis’ that were introduced to the garden by the children. They planted plant pumpkin seeds, enjoyed stories about lady bugs and other insects, made insect arts and crafts and bird feeders out of toilet paper rolls to hang in their own homes. We finished our day with games and more laughter.
Close to 40 preschoolers visited the garden that day and we are certain that 40 seeds of admiration for earth have been planted and will begin to flourish.
To teach one child about respecting our treasure Earth, is to teach multiple generations about caring for fellow man, building community and helping fulfill the original plan of living at peace and respecting the land. RCG
We are right in the middle of it….. growing season!
And, what a wonderful growing season it will be!! We have formed new partnerships with Northwest Community Healthcare, Ware Landscaping and Thrive Vineyard Church. Together with our partner agencies from the previous year, we will be able to bring healthy produce to the tables of many underserved, low income families in our area.
Other exciting things at the garden:
Our opening day, as mentioned is on May 18th. We are thankful for Ware Landscaping in helping us till and mulch the area, and to Thrive Vineyard Church who is providing lunch and craft time for the children so that parents can help plant. Thank you to our many other generous partners who help with plants, financial support, tools, seeds, the green house and so much more! Without you, this garden would not be possible.
We received a special visit from Virginia Lake Kindergartners and their wonderful teacher. The kindergartners donated plants that they grew from seeds. Their mandate to us as they left cheerful and giggling : “take good care of our little plants”. We will little green thumbs, we promise we will. Thank you for sharing your plants with our community.
We will soon be on the map at Little Free Library. We have been working diligently to finish our Little Free Library for our opening day: May 18th. If you have not heard of the Little Free Library, stop in and check out their website. Not only are the little libraries cute, they open the doors to adventures for both young and old. Because after all, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” - Cicero
Keep those thumbs green and those hands dirty!
Above, zucchini plants growing at the green house for Roots Community Garden.
Dear ROOTS Gardeners,
It looks like Spring may finally visit us this weekend and this means more activity in the garden and green house!
We had a visit from 2 master gardeners at the greenhouse recently. They said that everything looks fine but that we needed some ventilation or air moving throughout the greenhouse. This will help fight mold growth. Scott found 2 fans and he quickly plugged them in. He said he will turn the fans on and off everyday plus he will prop the door open. Please leave the door open when you come and go. Thank you Scott for always helping us out.
Note that we moved the plant date back a week, so the new outdoor plant date is May 18th. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us as it starts to warm up. Please pass the word about the change of the outdoor plant date and check facebook often, all updates will always be on facebook.
Some things that need to be done:
1) Please let Elisa at the front desk at the POC know if you are watering at the greenhouse. We need watering every Monday and Friday.
2) You can start to split the little tomato plants that have too many growing in one cup. Go ahead and open another bag of soil for the splitting of the tomato plants. We want one strong plants in each.
3) Finally, remember to park across the street at the greenhouse in the park district parking lot.
As always, I am available via facebook and email. Please let me know if you need anything from me or notice anything at the greenhouse that needs immediate attention.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing everyone soon,
Below, proper ventilation will help our plants grow nicely!
Its only about 40 degrees outside and rain, gray clouds and cold winds have been a constant this early April. Yet despite the not so spring like weather, sunny smiles abound at the Palatine Opportunity Center as members of Roots Community Garden come together to plan this years garden. Thanks to a Sow it Forward Grant and their digital garden planner, members were able to easily plan this years garden so that the right vegetables are paired up and plenty of space for growing is allowed.
We are excited about being able to finally put a compost bin in the garden!!! Our bin is being built from shipping pallets by local high school seniors completing community service hours at our garden. A local big box store was nice enough to donate the shipping pallets for this projects. You can find out more about using shipping pallets to make a compost bin by visiting our pinterest page here (and don’t forget to follow us on pinterest for more great ideas).
Plans are also in place for a Little Free Library at the garden this year and perhaps in the coming years a seating area for families to sit, read and share books.
At the greenhouse, our seeds are doing quite nicely despite the cold weather (thank you Consolidated School District 15). Hopefully the weather will let up soon- frost will be long gone- and our seedlings will be able to make it to Roots. In the meantime, we continue to dream of sunny gardening days while we make more plans and care for our seedlings. Because after all, “to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” and we believe that a community garden brightens many tomorrows.
May the sun be shinning where you are at!
Hooray for Seed Day 2013!
One of our very favorite quotes around here is by Margaret Mead and says
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.
The greatest strength and the driving force of Roots is the group of committed individuals, from all walks of life, who come together to “plant” (pardon the pun) a better tomorrow. Without them, Roots would still be a dream in the mind of a retired fire chief. And, because of these committed individuals, we were able to pull of our annual Seed Day at Roots’ home in the POC.
A note from garden lead, Lori L.:
Dear Wonderful People,
Thank you so much for helping out with the seed planting, without you it would have been crazy! We planted 600 cups of seeds. They have all been transported to the greenhouse and watered. Now we just need spring to come so these little seeds can grow.
See you all soon,
This years seed day was a bit more organized than last year thanks to Lori and her volunteers. Volunteers were set at different stations and organized and labeled seed trays and pots. Folks walked in from 9 am to noon to plant a seed for the garden and volunteers took their time to teach little and big about the importance of proper planting. This year, we kept the newly planted seeds instead of sending them home with volunteers to care for them. They were immediately transported to the green house that our local Consolidated School District 15 is letting us use.
We like to recycle and keep it cheap at Roots. Instead of those little green seed planters, we bought cheap recyclable and reusable plastic cups at our local store. Lori L., our garden lead, drilled holes into the bottoms of stacks of these cups and voila, a little seed planter. Because we wanted to transport our newly planted seeds, Lori N.- a dedicated ROLE member- asked for the bigger stores in our area to donate the large carton trays used to transport fruits and veggies. They work perfectly in transporting our newly planted seeds to the greenhouse. Plus, the act as a corral for keeping same seeds together at the green house and are sturdy enough to take the watering.
Our seeds, as mentioned previously came from a Herman’s Garden seed grant. We were pleasantly surprised to see our volunteers bring in additional seeds of their own as well. Last year over 95% of our garden was grown from seed and we hope to do the same this year.
A big thank you goes to all of our volunteers who dropped in, got their fingers dirty, took time to teach a child how to plant a seed and in doing so planted a brighter tomorrow for our comunity.
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