Help Us Grow Gardens & Community With CoMo Gives

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For the second year in a row, the Community Garden Coalition is participating in the CoMo Gives campaign to raise funds for our organization! The goal this year is to raise $7,500 during the month of December – and we need your help!

Even a modest donation can go a long way! Because we’re an all-volunteer organization, all the money we raise goes right back into improving and supporting our local gardens in neighborhoods and schools. Raising money from individuals in our community who support our ideas helps diversify our funding sources and allows us to be less reliant on grant funding.

We hope you will show your support for community gardening with a donation to our CoMo Gives CGC page between December 1 and 31. Also, please consider growing our gardening community by passing this message on to friends and family who may be interested!

CoMoGives.com

You can also stay up to date on CGC happenings and this campaign by following us on Facebook.

Thank you for your support and consideration, and happy holidays from your CGC Board of Directors!

Sarah Kendrick, President
Jenny McDonald, Vice President
Bill McKelvey, Treasurer
Lauren Godsy, Secretary
Kathy Doisy
Ann Marie Gortmaker

Congratulations to Garden Leaders Don Day & Adam Saunders

Congratulations to Don Day, winner of a Missourian Progress Award for his dedication to social justice! Don has also been a dedicated garden leader at Broadway Christian Church garden for many years. Keep up all your good work, Don!

AND, congratulations to Adam Saunders, winner of a Progress Award for progress in philanthropy! Adam has been the garden leader at St. Joseph St. garden and other community gardening projects for many years in addition to his work with the Center for Urban Agriculture.

Our community is lucky to have you both!

Don Day Missourian Progress Award articleDon says one of the best ways to improve social equality…

…is to get to know each other. Statewide and nationally we’ve had a lot of encounters with people of different races. Really, if you get acquainted about people and learn about them, you find out they have a lot of the same problems and challenges that you do, and you find out they’re really great people.

Missourian Progress Award winner Adam Saunders articleAdam says…

Everybody eats, so there’s opportunities for tons and tons of progress in the world of food here in Boone County and across the country, really.

 

Read more about Don’t efforts to promote social justice, Adam’s work creating the agriculture park and about all the other folks making progress in our community in the Progress Edition of the Missourian.

Garden Spotlight: Circus Lyons

The Circus Lyon Community Garden got its start in 2006, when owner Mark Stevenson opened it up for the coalition to start a garden with support from neighbors. That first year, kids from a City of Columbia youth camp helped plant some donated tomatoes and marigolds. The kids got to get their hands in the dirt and learn about how to place young plants in the ground and water them.

Check out these photos from that first year!

The garden has continued to thrive since then, with gardeners even going on a float trip together in 2017. Like all of our neighborhood gardens, plots are open to anyone in the community who applies. Gardeners plant and harvest from their individual plots, and are expected to contribute to the general upkeep of the garden, like mowing and mulching.

Here’s a crew of Circus Lyon gardeners this spring after a work day to mulch a common area.

Circus Lyon gardeners pose after a spring work daySupport this community garden and others like it by donating to the Community Garden Coalition this December during CoMo Gives. Donate now through December 31! https://comogives.com/community-garden-coalition

Support Community Gardening on Giving Tuesday

volunteers making raised garden beds at Russell Elementary schoolOn a cold morning early this year, friends of the Russell Boulevard Elementary garden built some new raised beds for their student gardeners with funding help from the Garden Coalition. We’re so thankful to volunteers like these for lending their muscle to help gardens grow and kids learn!

Help us fund more garden projects like this one in 2019 with a quick donation through CoMo Gives!

Supporting Community Gardens Since 1983

Felt banner saying "Community Garden Coalition Since 1983"Did you know? The Community Garden Coalition has been around since 1983, supporting gardens, health, nutrition and community.

This year, we counted 31 member gardens to which we offer support. Right now, we’re getting ready to be a part of CoMo Gives, a donation project that has just as much community spirit as we do. We hope you’ll shake down the couch cushions for a few extra dollars to see if you can help us fund another year of water, mowers, mulch and hoses!

It all starts on #GivingTuesday!

(Wondering about the lovely felt banner pictured here? To the best of our knowledge it was made by generous and talented former CGC board member Barb Michaels.)

Season’s End 2018

snow on leaves of a brassicaWell, that was an early snow! The 2018 gardening season has come to a close with some record low temperatures in Mid-Missouri this month. Before you shift away from thinking about gardening for the winter, please do the following.

 

  • If you’re at a community or group garden, let your garden leader know whether you’re planning to return next year. This will help leaders know what plots will be available for newcomers next year.
  • Clean up your plot. If you need tips on how to put your garden to bed for the winter, consult your garden leader.
  • Consider making a year-end donation to the CGC to help with maintaining your community garden next year. We’re a very small, all-volunteer non-profit, and even modest contributions help us fund water, mulch, tools and more to support community gardening in Columbia.
    Donate here today, or wait for December when the CGC will be participating in the CoMo Gives local giving campaign.
  • Consider donating some of your time. Individual gardens need good leaders and team members and the board of the CGC could use some new members, too. Contact your garden leader or our board members to get involved.

Boone County Buzz: Our Insect Hotel Has Tenants! YAY!

Kathy Doisy

Kathy Doisy

In case anyone is wondering if our insect hotel is working, I have proof! If you look at the bamboo on the lower right, you can see that several of the holes have been covered with green pieces of leaves (Fig.1). This is the work of leaf-cutter bees (Fig.2). In July, a friend found me a mini-insect hotel that was going for cheap at Aldi’s — you know something is getting trendy when Aldi’s starts selling it. Anyway, while it didn’t have quite the flair of the one my beloved made for me, I thought why not? Well as you can see several of the holes have been sealed with mud by mason bees (Figs. 3 and 4).

Bamboo tubes filled with cut pieces of leaf.

Figure 1. Brood chambers of leaf-cutter bees.

Mason bees and leaf-cutter bees are represented by several species in the family Megachilidae. Most of the bees in this family are solitary bees meaning that each female performs all her own tasks, unlike the division of labor in a honey bee colony. She collects pollen on fine hairs on the underneath of her abdomen (this pollen spreads easily to the next flower making them excellent pollinators), then finds an appropriate tube to lay an egg in, while provisioning it with pollen for when her hungry larva hatches.

Picture of small bee on flower

Figure 2. Common species of leaf-cutter bee (USDA ARS free image).

She then seals that part of the tube with either a piece of leaf or mud, depending on the species, and goes looking for more pollen to repeat the process until all the space in that tube is filled. Whew, sounds exhausting! Which is why these small, gentle bees don’t waste their time defending their brood like honey bees. The only way you’ll get stung by one of these is if you grab it.

Image of bamboo tubes sealed with mud that looks like masonry.

Figure 3. Brood chambers of Mason bees.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting — at least to me. I went out to look at our homemade insect hotel and found that a new, different species has recently been using some of the tubes and stuffing the openings with grass (Fig. 5). I did a little research and found out there are several species of “grass-carrying” wasps in the family Sphecidae that also use these tubes for their brood. These wasps aren’t as good at pollinating as our solitary bees, but I’m a big fan of diversity and isn’t that grass cute? I’m hoping to catch one in the act.

Picture of small dark bee on flower.

Figure 4. Species of Mason bee (USDA ARS free image).

Picture of bamboo tubes with long pieces of grass sticking out the ends.

Figure 5. Brood chambers for “grass-carrying” wasps.

I think the take home point of this whole endeavor is highlighted by the fact that we live just a couple of blocks from the massive Brookside student apartment complex. Can sweet little pollinators thrive so close to all that concrete and trash? Apparently, yes. You can live downtown and still help nature. In fact, recent research indicates higher abundance and diversity of native bees in urban areas where there are higher densities of flowers and less pesticide use than fields in rural areas (D.M. Hall, et al. 2017. The City as a Refuge for Insect Pollinators. Conservation Biology 31:24-29.)

So, no more excuses! Start doing your part! Why not put a few native plants along the border of your veggie garden? If you don’t want a perennial, then plant a few annual sunflowers or zinnias. Both are good nectar sources for many insects and make lovely bouquets. For more information on helping these pollinators while producing nourishing food for yourself and friends, take a look at this website:

The Honeybee Conservancy