Mohammad just planted his garden!

I’m hoping he will tell us more about this beautiful lily family plant that has edible parts.

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Community Hour Log

We are now using an app called Track It Forward to track community hours volunteered. Tracking community hours helps us when applying for grant funding and also helps to manage maintenance of the common areas of the garden with very minimal garden fees.

Where to find it? You can access the app at http://www.trackitforward.com and find a mobile version of the app available for download in the App Store and Google Play. If you don’t already have an account or aren’t sure whether you do, feel free to reach out to me.

How to use it? Once you have an account, you can log into the app, where you’ll see a very simple form to log hours that you have volunteered. To the right is a screenshot of what you should see. You should log any hours volunteered in the garden to maintain the common areas (i.e., everything except for your plot and the paths around your plot). From the menu (three bars at the upper-right hand of the screen), you can also go to a Timesheet page, where you will be able to see a record of all of your hours submitted and a Milestones page, where you will be able to see how many of your 24 hours total commitment for the year has been met so far.

What do I do next? Please take a moment to download and log into the app. Then, add any community hours volunteered so far this year (as best you can remember). Going forward, please make sure to submit any community hours volunteered. The mobile version of the app makes it very easy to do this even while in the garden!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to message me (jenniferlcoughlan@gmail.com) or ask me in the garden. I am the one with the three-legged dog who barks a lot (sorry for that:) )!

Grateful Gardeners!

Some of the new perennial flowers in the front beds were purchased with support from Building Stronger Neighborhoods, like this golden Alexanders, Zizia aurea, that is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies.

We are so grateful for support we receive from the neighborhood and broader community!

Building Stronger Neighborhoods has awarded a grant to Dunleath Community Garden for $500. Building Stronger Neighborhoods is a community grant making program that connects with neighborhoods through grants and activities that mobilize neighborhood assets to enhance the quality of life. The BSN coalition includes the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, Cemala Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro Public Library, Cone Health Foundation, and the Weaver Foundation.

Esther Maltby had started applying for grants to support the garden several years ago, and much of the grant funding supported mowing to keep the garden looking neat for the neighborhood. This year, the grantors were not able to provide funding for ongoing maintenance like mowing, so the grant funds will be used for tools, educational signs, and some plant materials like herbs and strawberries that the whole community uses.

When I let gardeners know that we were not going to have funding for mowing and mentioned we might need to raise fees, a couple people–Walt Bilous and a new neighbor Michael (whose last name I don’t know) who has postponed joining–offered to help with mowing and weed whacking, and Nadja Czech offered to pay for the mowing so that we do not have to raise fees. We understand that when the garden first got going, the mowing was done by volunteers but not regularly, so there was some concern in the neighborhood that it looked messy. Hence the decision to hire someone to mow regularly.

Jane Devane Brown has offered to mow at a lower rate than we had been paying (and has mowed pro bono in past) and Ben Berryhill who has mowed and weedwhacked a good bit pro bono for the garden has offered to help with weed whacking, along with Walt, and maybe me (Nancy) sometimes with an electric weedwhacker Vickie Ebright got with grant funds last year. Thanks BSN for that, too!

Please check out the signs acknowledging Building Stronger Neighborhoods. New ones in the works.

Thanks, Ben, for making it all look so neat with the meticulous edging! Thanks, Jane, for mowing!

We had a little money left from the grant last year because Vickie Ebright did so much of the mowing before hurting her foot. With only two days left in the grant period, Jon Enos agreed to help pick up edging that will help reduce weed management time and let us focus more on gardening. The wood ended up coming to within $1 of the grant funds left, so the combo of Jon being able to help on extremely short notice, the coincidence of the cost being so close to the grant funds left, and the relief of not causing major injury on the way home (see photo of Jon, wood, and his truck below) felt like one giant miracle! Thank you so much, Jon!! And thanks, Vickie for all your help mowing the last couple years! And Walt for mowing and weed whacking (and pruning the rest of the trees), too!!

Yes! We made it back to the garden without hitting a bump! Phew!!!

I also want to thank Mindy Zachary for all her support as treasurer of the Dunleath Neighorhood Board. She is simply wonderful to work with and we are soo grateful for all she does, along with the rest of the board, and all of you.

Thank you all for the time, tools, skills, ideas, kindness, and enthusiasm you share as garden members and neighbors.

We hope the garden brings you joy!

Poppies just started blooming—competing in brilliance with the ripening strawberries that we hope you all enjoy, too!!

Sharing with the community

We are so grateful that the community supports the garden. One way we give back is to share some of the flowers along the sidewalk, strawberries, and also figs. Our newest gardeners have been helping care for these parts of the garden. If you have photos, we’d love to share them. I couldn’t be there when Ali and Nancy G pruned the fig, but did get a shot of Shash working on the strawberry and blackberry patch and a long time gardener, Walt, pruning the plum. Even though we don’t get much edible fruit, the plum and peach blossoms are wonderful sources of nectar and pollen for bees in early spring.

Shash working on the path by the strawberries.

Ali and Nancy G did a beautiful job pruning the figs. If anyone else got a photo with them in it, please send and I’ll replace this one.

Walt pruning a plum. Pruning let’s the trees put more energy into each fruit (fewer and larger).

Plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day!

If you love peas, you probably know that St. Patrick’s Day is the cue for planting peas. In North Carolina, the weather is mild enough that you can also plant peas in fall, though most folks who love peas would be sure to plant both times to hedge their bets. I love edible peas and sweet peas, so was delighted when it rained soon after I planted. If you are not sure when to plant, visit NC Extension Agent Debbie Roos’ Growing Small Farms website to see the Planting and Harvesting Guide for Piedmont Vegetables and Herbs that she wrote with Doug Jones of Piedmont BioFarm. In Guilford County, you can also join the Master Gardens on April 27th for Spring into Gardening 2019 for a family fun event where you can learn about vegetable and herb gardening, pond care, and small space gardening with lots of activities for kids!! While there, you can see the wonderful demonstration gardens.

Not sure what all the other gardeners are planting, but many are busy preparing their beds or caring for other parts of the garden, like clearing out the herb garden and laying down new mulch covered cardboard near the strawberry beds. I didn’t get a photo of them, but Ali and Nancy G were aiming to trim the fig trees today. If anyone did get a photo, please send along and I’ll happily post.

Thanks everyone for all you do to make the garden grow so beautifully!!

Brinta cleaning up the herb garden to make room for new herbs.
Shubhra Paul (foreground), and Vishwas and Prathamesh (background) getting their garden plots ready for spring planting.
Nadja and Nova getting ready for spring planting, too.
Three compost areas close together with plant materials on left, decomposed plant materials in center and right. Built of pallets.
Jennifer did a lot of work on the compost area!! She’d like us to put yard waste on the left side, and put kitchen scraps in the center (adding soil or decomposed plant materials–from right side–on top of new kitchen scraps to discourage critters).
As I weeded the front beds, I ran across this seedpod from one of the Japanese iris that bloomed last year. Looks like someone is using it as a nest. What do you suppose that might be? Dead plant material, such as plant stems and leaves, often host many predators of crop pests, so it is always good to leave some “messy” spots around the garden, such as brush piles. In fall, instead of cutting back all the seedheads and stalks of dead flowers, leave them up. Many birds will eat the seeds, and the stalks “provide interest,” as horticulturists like to say. Such stalks can be especially pretty with dew or snow compared to a flat plantless area, and provide much better habitat for lots of critters. As we have learned recently, we are losing lots of insects and they are vital for our well-being, since they’re at the base of foodchains. Thanks for adding diversity to your yards and communities.