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Work Parties:

 
From September through May, work parties are usually held from 9 am - 11 am on the 1st Saturday of each month.

This year's summer work party schedule:

June 1st and 22nd 
July 13th and 27th 
August 10th and 24th

For more information contact Ginny Campbell, 378-6103, (ginny.c71@gmail.com).

Beekeeping Working Group: 

In Spring 2010, the Community Gardens welcomed two hives of honey bees. The bees benefit the garden in a very important way by pollinating vegetables and flowers year round at the garden. Plus, when the garden has a bumper crop of honey, the garden beekeepers will share the honey with fellow gardeners. Most importantly, the bees serve to educate gardeners about the role of pollination and the great craft of beekeeping.  If you are interested in learning more about the garden's bees, or want to help keep them, please contact Susan Harris (shrun26@gmail.com).

Fruity - Nutty Working Group:

If you are nutty about fruit-bearing trees and shrubs - or just a little fruity - and you would like to learn more about growing and caring for them, consider joining the Fruity-Nutty Working Group.  Lucy Skelley started a working group to learn about and care for the garden's blueberry and blackberry bushes, grapevines, and fig, pear, and calamondin orange trees. Lucy directed much of the plantings, and now proposes to coordinate this group to care for these beautiful, bountiful plants. The working group will gather and compile cultivation information and devise an annual schedule for pruning, fertilizing, and harvesting.  If you would like to join this working group, or learn more, contact Lucy at lhsk@ufl.edu. Participation can also satisfy your co-op work requirement.

 

Other Ways to Help the Co-op:

We need more gardeners to take on leadership roles in the co-op! Serving as a garden officer is fun, rewarding (not financially, although you get one plot rent-free), and not too time-consuming provided that there are a number of officers to share the work. Students: you can add to your resume! Please nominate yourself or another gardener. To help with your decision, here's a brief description of the duties of each officer:

  • President: organizes the work parties; communicates with the garden members; with the other officers makes decisions about garden projects, operations, and expenditures. Many years we have had two co-presidents and that has worked well.
  • Vice-president: assists the president(s), participates in decision-making, and coordinates projects.
  • Secretary: keeps a record of garden meetings; prints and posts notices of garden workdays and other garden matters; keeps a log of member work hours. We currently have 2 co-secretaries including one who speaks and writes Chinese, and that has been very helpful for communicating with all the gardeners.
  • Treasurer: receives the monthly bank statement; deposits plot rental fees; writes checks as needed for garden supplies and equipment (large purchases must be approved by the board of officers).
  • Plot Coordinator: enrolls new garden members; leases garden plots; keeps a tally of open plots. This is the most time-consuming position and could be shared.
  • Equipment Managers (two): maintain the power tools (mowers, tiller, trimmers) and repair them (or take them to a repair shop) as needed.
  • Tool Manager: repairs the non-motorized tools (wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, etc.) and sharpens blades.
  • Website Manager: Former co-op gardener Beverly Underwood created our beautiful website, and it needs to be maintained and updated regularly. 
     

Here are some other roles for helping the co-op (you can propose others): 

  • Plumber --  Develop or use your skills to replace faucets and fix leaks.
  • Parts Go-fer (delivery and/or drop-off) -- Pick up and drop off equipment when it needs repairing; go shopping for supplies.
  • Herb and Flower Bed Manager -- Direct labor in the herb and flower gardens, purchase herbs and flowers, decide what gets planted where, and harvest/dry herbs when appropriate (dried basil; fresh basil for pesto, etc.). 
  • Seed Purchaser -- Purchase seeds appropriate for the season, organize seed donations from gardeners, take special requests for seeds.
  • Compost Manager -- Direct labor on the compost piles, start a rotational system, make sure they are maintained.
  • Greenhouse Manager -- Direct the upkeep of the greenhouse and prepare it for winter use.

 

Water Use at the Garden:

The organic garden's water source is a deep well, and the water is unlikely to run out even if the drought continues. However, we should be good stewards and use our water wisely. If possible, water your plot before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. and apply only about an inch of water. Do not leave sprinklers on for extended periods -- 30 minutes should be sufficient.

The garden's water is provided for growing plants, not for washing cars. If you need to wash your car, please take it to one of several inexpensive, car-washing operations located nearby on Archer Road.

 

Surplus Food Donation:

At some work parties, boxes will be set up in front of the shed to donate any extra produce you may have. The food is distributed to the Catholic Worker House or Gainesville Harvest, and to soup kitchens and other organizations that help people in need. If you have vegetables that you'd like to donate at times other than work parties, you could contact an organization directly.

 

Mulch Your Plot or Plant Cover Crop

Once you harvest your spring garden, please plant a cover crop or mulch your plot with at least a foot of leaves to prevent the "summer jungle effect." If you don't, when it's time to plant your fall garden in September, you will face 8-foot-tall weeds. (No lie! You will need a machete!) Save yourself a lot of sweat! Mulch your garden or plant a cover crop. Ask an experienced gardener for planting suggestions.