Thursday, May 9, 2019

Community Garden Update - May 2019

I was able to get 5 of the planting beds done using the stain that was donated by a neighbor. But I  eventually ran out and had to purchase more. So, at the tail end of April, after a month of salvaging and re-using, I made my first purchases for the garden - a 5-gallon bucket of solid stain, some staples (I had been using my own stash and had finally run out) and some painting supplies.

It's a good thing I brought it all home with me because later that same day, someone (or a group of someones) vandalized our little community garden.

It looks like some kids decided to have some fun on their way home from school...climbing on structures, scattering hardware everywhere, flattening the dirt pile, throwing rocks and jumping from planting bed to planting bed (I found footprints everywhere).

Screws and lock hardware I had been saving to reuse were scattered in the dirt everywhere.

My pile of dirt was flattened and wood scattered around it.
That wouldn't be so bad except they were also destructive. They broke the lids to the storage boxes and wood boards that were to be used for one of the community herb gardens...

At least they left most of the broken boards in a neat pile.

They damaged one of the community planting beds that the local scout troop had started on...

The vandals pulled out a corner post, loosened the others and ripped off the bottom boards.

And they ripped off a piece of another planting bed...

That whole board needs to be replaced now.

They even damaged the door to the phone company's box (located in the back of the garden area) and hopped the temporary fence in the parking lot (the one the roofing company set up) and took things out of there (I found roofing materials in the garden area).

All this destruction means valuable time spent cleaning it up. It also makes my small garden budget even smaller. I didn't anticipate having to replace so much wood. In fact, I've decided to forgo the 2nd community planting bed altogether until the garden can pay for it on its own. Too much stuff was damaged.

Moving forward, I guess I need to plan to make things in the garden a little more resistant to mischievous visitors. I am also looking into the cost of installing some type of security. I am hopeful that once the garden starts to look less neglected they will show more respect.

So needless to say, May started a bit rough.

But on a brighter note, I was able to start creating the area along the front fence where the donated irises will be planted. (don't you just love the view in the parking lot right now?)

The plan is to have irises (and maybe other flowers later) running along the fence on both sides of the sidewalk.

For this space, I purchased 5 pieces of COL-MET brand metal landscape border from Lowes. Each 8 foot strip included 4 stakes. It's pretty sturdy with the stakes that were provided, but I think I'll get a few more to add extra rigidity. 

I set the metal border pieces in a straight line on one side of the garden fence.

Then used rock that was in a pile next to the parking lot to fill in the space between the asphalt and the metal border. This created a nice buffer between the iris bed and the parking lot.

That rock pile was big. I have no idea where it all came from but it looks like it was just dumped.

I barely made a dent in it.

On the other side of the fence, I used sections of 4x4 lumber (the posts that were originally supposed to be used for that 2nd community planting bed), bits of scrap wood from the broken boards and a bunch of the larger rocks I had collected from moving all that soil. With these, I made another border on the garden side.

I'm hoping it will look a bit more "together" once that space is filled in with soil and the irises are planted and growing.

The garden has also received a potting soil donation from a neighbor!

Mr. LH and I took advantage of another free mulch day and managed to bring back 2 full car loads of mulch! I decided to store it in one of the large empty planting beds until we're ready for it.

That a LOT of mulch!

There are three more "free mulch days" in our city between now and the end of August and I plan to be at every one.

I wound up purchasing a Gorilla Yard Cart (400 lb capacity) so I can just load it up and walk down to the garden this summer. It had great reviews and I was able to get a good deal on it.

I had originally planned to get the Sandusky Lee cartIt also had great reviews and was cheaper, but I needed the cart soon and it was out of stock.

This week has been all rain and snow. So except for a few hours earlier in the week, I haven't been able to spend much time working in the garden. Hopefully after Mother's Day, I'll be able to finish staining the planting beds and plant the irises.

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