As President, I want to welcome you to the 2019 gardening season. I know you are as eager as I am to get your hands dirty, and enjoy the miracle of new life.
Our garden runs with the aid of dedicated volunteers, who perform numerous activities to keep it running. I’m honored to do my part. We are grateful to all of our volunteers, past, and present, and urge all of you to contribute your gifts, talents and muscle to make our community garden even better. The key word is community. Coming all together to help maintain the garden on workdays is an enjoyable and worthwhile experience, and a wonderful way to get to know fellow gardeners. While we are the largest community garden in the city with over 220 members, only about 50 volunteered last year. We sorely need more of you to volunteer.
DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation has drafted a set of rules to apply uniformly to all city community gardens, which includes a requirement for each gardener to volunteer 10 hours each season for general garden tasks (excluding those who paid a no-work fee). In the past we used an honor system. However, to encourage greater volunteer participation this season. we are beginning a tracking system — thanks to two volunteers who will set it up. We will let you know how it will work soon.
Another new city rule will affect the small number of gardeners who have two or more plots per household. Due to the long waiting list at many gardens, starting with the 2020 season, only one plot will be allowed per household in city gardens. If you are affected by this rule, please ensure that your plots are ready by the end of this season, and let us know if you need assistance in dividing your plot.
We lost about 12 plots along the wall when the city constructed the garage at the police station. Most of the wall is no longer suitable for plots, but the city has shown us where we could locate replacement plots elsewhere in the garden. Along with making some new plots, we may also divide some of our larger plots. These steps will give more city residents the opportunity to enjoy our community garden.
To increase community participation, we urge you to join our listserv. It is a great way to communicate with fellow gardeners as posts to the listserv are automatically sent to all the other gardeners. To join, just click on this url: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/NewarkStreetCommunityGarden/info. Click the link “membership”. Then click “join” and a box appears for you to enter your name and plot number. Send it and you will receive an email when your membership is approved.
Also to increase community communication, we have installed two 2 foot by 3 foot bulletin boards on the inside of the doors of the tool shed. These will provide the rules, workday notices and lists of volunteer activities. Please take a minute to look at these boards when you are taking or returning tools.
It is important that each plot be kept safe, neat and clean. Spring is a good time to remove trash and old, unused items. Make sure to bag all trash and use the trash bins along our fence near the playground. There is a bulk item pickup each Monday after the workday; it is located on the Newark Street curb next to the path to the dog park. Remember that at least one-half of each plot must be used for plants. NO standing water is allowed in the garden as this breeds mosquitos.
Finally, the city is mandating that rude or offensive behavior will be grounds for losing one’s plot. Gardening is an enjoyable part of our lives, which we are fortunate to experience in the city environment. By keeping to the rules, we can focus on enjoying our gardens.