Hunger doesn’t take a vacation, and apparently neither do high school youths!
An outstanding group of friends James, Trevor, Cree, and Nick took time out of their one week of summer vacation in Maine to help us with several tasks in the garden. They pulled weeds, leveled the ground around the fence, patched holes, and spread about 6 yards of wood chips that put the finishing touch on the Hillcrest Garden's new site. They approached each project with a cheerfulness and thoughtfulness that is exemplary and inspiring. Not even a summer rainstorm could dampen their spirits - we are so glad they wanted to spend time with us!
Our good friends in the Hillcrest neighborhood are holding their annual charity craft fair and bake sale - and proceeds help Project GRACE keep our neighbors warm, grow community gardens with fresh veggies for the pantry, and help our neighbors when they have a temporary setback or need a little help to make ends meet. Come out to the Hillcrest Community Center (108 HIllcrest Ave, just off Route One) on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, and you'll be sure to get in the holiday spirit!
And so starts the 2017 planting season! Gardeners from St.Nick's put in the first of our cold crops: green lettuce. About 100 romaine and green lettuce seedlings were planted, and a dozen or so parsley plants, too. Also lots of marigolds to keep smaller garden pests like mice and voles away and cosmos to attract pollinators.
Our friends at Keller Williams volunteered for the garden as part of their annual "RED Days". We are glad Keller Williams' Cash Wiseman called Project GRACE to ask how they could help their neighbors on May 11th, a day of giving back nationwide for the realty group. To help us get the garden ready for growing season, they moved a mountain of lovely organic compost from Jordan's Farm, and laid the pathways, too. THANK YOU!
To this... in about 2 hours! Wow!
Would you like to lend a hand in the garden? We're looking for help with planting, harvesting, and other garden tasks. No experience necessary, all skill levels welcome. Commitments range from one-time activities like helping to spread compost when the garden starts up in the Spring, putting the garden to bed in the fall, or special events like Touch-A-Truck, the ACE Garden Party, or Harvest Fest. Other options include helping to plant in early Spring and off and on throughout the season for successional harvests, or periodic "Weeding Wednesdays", or weekly during peak Summer and Fall harvest times.
CURRENT VOLUNTEER NEEDS
HARVEST VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TUESDAY MORNINGS (8:15 - 9:15 a.m. weekly)
HARVEST FEST VOLUNTEERS NEEDED SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016
WEEDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED WEDNESDAYS
We had a great time at the Scarborough Rotary's annual "Touch a Truck" at the Scarborough Downs. Lots of kids stopped by our booth to plant seeds (put earth in the cup, poke the seeds into the planting mix, pinch some compost on top, and pour a spoonful of water to moisten). Garden enthusiasts - of all ages! - planted beans and nasturtium to take home.
SPRING WORK DAY - MAY 25th
Thank you, Jane, Linda, Sabra, Becky, Pam, Elizabeth and Steffi -- volunteers planted tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, beets, beans, lettuces, bok choy and Asian greens, herbs and flowers, too!
SPRING WORK DAY - APRIL 23rd
Thank you, Mark, Chris, Cathy, Jane, Becky, and Chris! We raked all the compost and set the paths, even planted spinach and lettuce! Aren't those rows neat!? Also we love our new coconut mat paths. We also had a visit from Kate Irish Collins of the Current-- you can read the article here (PDF).
We had a great time with all our friends who stopped by ACE Hardware (at Oak Hill) this weekend -- thank you Anne and Dan for inviting us to be at your annual garden party! And it was great to share a table with the Scarborough Garden Club and the Cumberland County Master Gardeners. We gave a way a lot of seeds, soil test kits, and some planting advice, too!
It's time to ready the garden for the coming season of planting and harvesting!
Jane and Becky are all smiles as Dennis from Jordan's Farm drops a dump truck's worth of rich organic compost in front of the garden. Now we have to shift and spread it. Can you help?
Helping hands are needed at the Community Garden on Saturday, April 23rd to shovel and spread compost, set cold crop seedlings into the ground (lettuce, chard, etc.), and make plant markers (fun for kids!). Meet at the garden at St. Nick's at 9:30. Bring gloves, shovels and sturdy rakes. This will be the second growing season for the Community Garden which grows organic veggies and herbs for the food pantry.
We are looking for a few helping hands for two workdays at two community garden locations, one at St. Max and one at St. Nick's:
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 2nd
WHERE: St. Max, 150 Black Point Road (Directions)
BRING: shovel, gloves, water (if you can, a wheelbarrow is also helpful!)
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 23rd
WHERE: St. Nick's, 350 US Route One (Directions)
BRING: shovel, gloves, water
Both events are rain or shine. Both will be moving lots of compost/earth into the gardens to help ready them for the growing season ahead. Pictured here: the new garden at St. Max!
We are grateful to all who joined us, and the Cumberland County Master Gardeners, for our first-ever Community Garden Work Day on Saturday, May 2nd. Nearly 30 volunteers helped us to get so much done! We planted early seeds and seedlings, created paths and planting areas, pruned and cleared brush, removed stones from the soil, made plant markers and plant pots, organized the tool shed, nourished the children's garden, and tended the St. Nick's meditation and perennial gardens. AND we moved 8 yards of loam, too! We thank all the volunteers for their hard work and generous spirits, and hope they enjoyed the day as much as we did.
The Cumberland County Master Gardeners will be helping us plant the garden on Saturday, May 2nd (9:00 - Noon). We're looking forward to having their help and expertise...and you are welcome to join us! Join our email list to stay in touch (the garden's email list is maintained by Project GRACE).
Tasks for the day include: planting early seeds and seedlings, creating paths and planting areas, pruning and clearing of brush, removing stones from the soil, making plant markers and garden signs, organizing the tool shed and setting up communication station.
Please bring your own: hand cultivators, pruning shears, sunscreen, hat, work gloves, sturdy shoes or boots, rain gear in case of inclement weather.
We're happy to report that several youth and children's groups have stepped forward with offers to help us plant and tend and harvest the garden! Thank you, Sandpiper Children's Center, St. Max Youth Ministry, Scarborough honor society, Holy Mackerels Youth Group of St. Nick's, Scarborough girl scouts, to name just a few!
Spending time outdoors and in natural environments is good for kids: from simple joy to reducing stress to improving cognitive function and motor skills. It's also good for them to know where their food comes from, and how they can play important roles of helping in their community, too. (>>More)
Volunteer, Chris Taylor, spread the greensand on the garden and raked it in this morning. And got it done before the snow storm!
What's greensand? Greensand fertilizer is a mineral called glauconite which has been used since the eighteenth century as a soil amendment and slow-releasing fertilizer (0-0-3). Found on the ocean floor and mined for use as an organic fertilizer and soil conditioner, it helps improve soil texture and enriching the nutrient content without using harsh chemicals which can burn tender roots. Greensand comes from sandy rock or sediment containing a high percentage of the mineral glauconite (greenish-black to blue-green).
One of the best organic sources of potassium, greensand also contains potash, magnesium, iron, silica and can contain as many as 30 other trace minerals. It improves plant health in general and is also be used to loosen heavy, clay soils, which increases drainage and allows oxygen into the soil. It will also improve the moisture retention of sandy soils.
Community partners convened a steering committee meeting on November 4th to talk about the role and function of the leadership team. It was decided that the committee provides oversight and general guidance for the garden, and is responsible for securing support, funding, and talent. Additionally communications/marketing will be essential to help sustain the garden. Meetings will continue monthly on the 2nd Tuesday of the month until planting begins, and thereafter as needed. A garden coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the scheduling of gardeners, including planting, weeding, and harvesting volunteers. Next Meeting: 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 10, 2015 (2nd Tuesday of the month.) at St. Nick’s in Scarborough.
Steering Committee Members: Scott Ducott (chair), Jane Ducott (St. Nick's), Elizabeth Richter (Scarborough Garden Club), Steffi Cox (Project GRACE), Kathy Sparda (St. Max), Roger Doiron (KGI), Pam Hillman, Bill Nixon, ChrisTaylor.
Kitchen Gardeners International challenged members of St. Nick’s Episcopal Church and the steering committee of the garden to sing into carrots for a “higher cause”. Jane Ducott's spirited vocals lead the choir in a round of "Love Grows"! Check out the video on KGI's YouTube channel... and consider posting your own! You might just help us win a gift certificate!
You can also view our short video on VIMEO.