To All of Our Gardeners, We have much to be thankful for. We have many gardeners who take it upon themselves to care for a part of our garden in addition to their own garden. I can't name all of them here, but occasionally I want to mention those who regularly oversee and maintain an area in our garden. Please join me in thanking them. Bambi and Kwandee Martinez help water the front xeriscape garden area outside the front gate.. Kayo Miyamoto regularly weeds along the East side fence line. The individual Color Gardens are planted and maintained by Jay Shirley - Pink garden, Roger Rose - Orange garden, Bridget Lane- Purple garden, Nancy Pfaff - Butterfly garden, Margaret Conner - Red garden, Stephen Conner - White garden, Katherine Jones - Blue garden, and Stacy Kitchin - Yellow garden. Axel Meyer helps sharpen tools, repair and replace broken wheelbarrows and tool handles. We need to thank our Coordinators: Katherine Jones -who maintains the year round care of our Orchard and gives instruction in proper pruning, trimming, weeding, fruit thinning and dormant spraying of our 23 fruit trees, Paul DaSilva oversees an area of the garden with all the many things needed to assist other gardeners with their plots and with the every day running of our beautiful garden. Paul also keeps watch over the Compost bins and his volunteer helpers. Jill Hutchison puts together a team of dedicated volunteers who, every week, from June thru October., bring our generous Food Bank donations to those in need at St Vincent DePaul Society and Marin Food Bank. Jill also coordinates our Rose Committee along with Ysabel Eyman, Chantal Saperstein, Mari Paden, Margaret Walsh, Sandra Adams, and Sharon Cadiou... They maintain the roses along the back Orchard fence. I am always hearing about someone who did something to help in our garden. These are just a few. Some gardeners just help, but don't mention it. All of you are appreciated and valued more than we can express. YOU ARE OUR COMMUNITY. THANK YOU! See you in the garden, Stephen
PICTURES FROM WORKDAY
PICTURES FROM OUR WORKDAY
NEWS... Plenty of Sunshine, Hard Work & Food for Clean-up Day
Take a Look at the March Work Day
A Sunny Workday
photo taken by Jill Hutchinson
Check the sign. Do we ever call before we dig?
Stephen and Jay enjoying the workday
Special Thanks to Food Bank Donors and those who delivered the vegetables. Thanks to everyone who has provided food from their gardens to help others. Plan to share a portion of your harvest again this year. If you'd like to participate, even for just one week this summer, contact Food Bank Coordinator Jill Hutchinson.
Can you dig it? Tips to improve your soil. Periodically, we offer some old fashioned garden-know-how. Here are some interesting facts for you to digest. Enjoy!-- Soil is composed of weathered rock and organic matter, water and air. But the hidden "magic" in a healthy soil is the organisms—small animals, worms, insects and microbes—that flourish when the other soil elements are in balance. Organic Matter. Organic matter is the partially decomposed remains of soil organisms and plant life including lichens and mosses, grasses and leaves, trees, and all other kinds of vegetative matter. Although it only makes up a small fraction of the soil (normally 5 to 10 percent), organic matter is absolutely essential. It binds together soil particles into porous crumbs or granules which allow air and water to move through the soil. Organic matter also retains moisture (humus holds up to 90 percent of its weight in water), and is able to absorb and store nutrients. Most importantly, organic matter is food for microorganisms and other forms of soil life. Improving Your Soil You can increase the amount of organic matter in your soil by adding compost, aged animal manures, green manures (cover crops), mulches or peat moss. Because most soil life and plant roots are located in the top 6 inches of soil, concentrate on this upper layer. Soil life: Soil organisms include the bacteria and fungi, protozoa and nematodes, mites, springtails, earthworms and other tiny creatures found in healthy soil. These organisms are essential for plant growth. They help convert organic matter and soil minerals into the vitamins, hormones, disease-suppressing compounds and nutrients that plants need to grow. Their excretions also help to bind soil particles into the small aggregates that make a soil loose and crumbly. As a gardener, your job is to create the ideal conditions for these soil organisms to do their work. Providing the Soil With 'Food' This means providing them with an abundant source of food (the carbohydrates in organic matter), oxygen (present in a well-aerated soil), and water (an adequate but not excessive amount). Even very poor soil can be dramatically improved, and your efforts will be well rewarded. With their roots in healthy soil, your plants will be more vigorous and more productive. What does 5-8-3 mean? The numbers refer to the percentage by net weight of total nitrogen (N; always the first number), available phosphorus (P; the second number), and soluble potash (K; the third number). In other words, a 5-8-3 fertilizer contains 5 percent nitrogen, 8 percent available phosphorus, and 3 percent soluble potash. Add compost and/or fertilizer. Soil nutrients need to be replenished each year, because vegetable plants are removed from the garden and not allowed to return to the soil. The best approach is to simply add compost and fertilizer each year. Compost can be applied at almost any thickness, from a light sprinkling to several inches thick. Regular fertilizers are normally applied at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Follow the recommended application rates that are found on the packages of commercial fertilizers, keeping in mind soil and crop needs.