Spring Thaw Community Gardening Kick-Off
Saturday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Activity & Recreation Center
Drop in anytime!
The Spring Thaw is the kick-off to the community gardening season. There will be representatives from all the gardens, so you can join a garden as a newcomer or confirm a plot assignment for previous gardeners. Plus, everyone can network and get gardening advice from other gardeners. We’ll have a limited quantity of free seeds available for gardeners at member gardens.
We’ll have some snacks and drinks to share also. Feel free to bring something to share yourself. Hope to see you there!
If you know someone who’d like to get a community garden plot this year, please share these event details!
I am! No, you won’t ever find me at the casino. I’m talking about gardening! I think most of us who garden have a touch of the gambler in us. How else can you explain the leap of faith we take every year when we put our seeds or baby transplants out in the wild world dreaming of luscious produce to come? Sometimes things go well and some not so well. That’s just part of life.
Well, today I want to encourage the wildest gamblers out there to take a chance on REALLY early spring lettuce. You know how all the seed packages say to plant your lettuce from mid-March to mid-May? I think they’re missing the boat!
I followed those recommendations for years and what always happened was that as my lettuce finally started to head up it became bitter! The bitterness used to start around mid-June but I’ve had it happen as early as mid-May when temperatures are unusually warm. As a crazed, baby lettuce aficionado this is most frustrating.
Then about 15 years ago I was reading some book (?) where an old woman from the Ozarks said to put your lettuce seed out as soon as the snow melted. This seemed like insanity, but, again, I’ve got a gambling streak. I tried it. Yes, I ran out with a cloth sheet to protect it a few times. But I was eating beautiful baby lettuce salads by the end of March! Needless to say, I’ve been doing this ever since.
When exactly do I take this risk? It varies with the weather and snow. Looking back in my garden diary (yes, you really should keep one) the first planting has been as early as January 5th but probably averages around January 25th. Have I lost my lettuce? Maybe once, but most varieties of lettuce can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Since lettuce seed is somewhat viable for up to 6 years I usually use old seed from a previous year, so if it is lost I won’t feel quite as bad. Sometimes, when the cravings are severe I’ve been known to start lettuce seeds inside in January and plunk the plants out in early February. Again, it’s a gamble but what an incredible payoff if you succeed! Take a chance!
As we start to think about a fresh year of gardening, we want to call attention to the many many generous people who responded to our annual call for donations last month! We raised a total of $4,269.69!! And we have all of you to thank for donating or just spreading the word about what we do and why it matters. THANK YOU!!!
Mark Your Calendars
We’ve just set the dates for our season-opening events!
Seed Repacking Party
Tuesday, February 19, 5:30 p.m., Centro Latino
Help us get bulk seeds ready for distribution at our Spring Thaw. We’ll offer a meal in exchange for the assistance of a limited number of volunteers. RSVP will be required. Details to come!
Spring Thaw: Community Gardening Kick-Off
Saturday, February 23, 11 a.m.—1 p.m., ARC
Representatives from all the gardens attend, so new gardeners can join a garden and returning gardeners can get organized. Plus, everyone can network and get gardening advice. A limited quantity of free seeds will be available for gardeners at member gardens. Snacks and drinks provided!
Watch this site or our Facebook page for more details.
“The garden is the crossroads of our community. I can’t think of a better way to encourage diversity than a garden — it’s diversity in action!” – Johann Geyer, Unite 4 Health Garden
This is a good reminder that community gardens grow community as well as food! With only a few days left in 2018, the garden coalition needs donations large and small to continue our support of the diverse community gardens of Columbia next year.
There’s still time to help the Community Garden Coalition grow food and fellowship in 2019! Just visit our CoMoGives page to donate.
You can also help us by sending this message on to family, friends and neighbors. CoMo Gives will accept donations for us and 121 other great local groups through December 31.
We appreciate your support for community gardening!
The community garden on Claudell Lane has been part of the CGC network since 2000, but it was used as a neighborhood garden for decades before that. I recently found out a lot about the history of this garden by unearthing some photos and a newspaper article from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
According to the article neighbors had been informally using the vacant lots to garden since the 1950s and the Garden Coalition had been renting the properties for the token rent of $500 a year from owner Goldie Sims. When Sims put the lots up for sale in 1999 and the CGC raised more than $22,00 to purchase them.
“Most of the people who live on that block and need the garden are extremely low-income,” said Karen Graul, coalition treasurer. “So we raised the money ourselves.” The coalition received a $13,000 grant from the HeinkelCharitable Trust, a $5,000 grant from the Boone Electric Community Trust and $8,000 from the Boone County Community Trust. The group also raised about $1,000 from downtown business owners, including Eldon Benus, former owner of Cafe Time, which is now Das Kaffeehaus Cafe and Deli; Richard King of The Blue Note; Susan McQuilkin of Ninth Street Deli; John Pham of Bangkok Gardens; and Annette Weaver of Columbia Books.
Mrs. Sims also helped the project by taking the lots off the market while CGC raised money. And she apparently traveled from her home in Oklahoma to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden which was officially named after her late husband Claude.
These photos taken in 2000 or the following season, show a lush garden and a very diverse group of gardeners. Which is very similar to what you’ll see next spring if you happen down Claudell Lane.
Though this is still the only garden the CGC actually owns, at last count we offered support to over 30 different garden projects throughout Columbia. And, this December, we’re focused on fundraising again as we get ready for another year of water, tools, seeds, compost, mulch and more. In keeping with our long tradition of local fundraising, we’re working with CoMo Gives to raise money through December 31. You can be a part of our mission by giving a donation or sharing our story with a friend. There are 12 more days to give! Thank you so much for your support!
You can read the full newspaper article here. (Special thanks to the Daniel Boone Regional Library for the NewsBank subscription that allowed me to find this article.)
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 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.
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.