Wednesday, August 25, 2010
UPDATE ON COMMUNITY GARDEN SITE #4
HELLO & welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! We are finally getting a little break from the tremendous heat wave we have had this summer. It is around 90-degrees and even down to 89-degrees for some daytime heat. It has dropped down to the 60's for night time temps even. On that, things here at the urban farm have already gone down hill as far as gardening is concerned. The massive heat has either burned up most every thing or kept it so dry I could never have watered enough to keep it going. Things are finishing up here. I am trying to keep the tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant going for as long as possible along with the hot peppers and banana peppers with watering every few days. We have needed rain for weeks and with the exception of a very few afternoon pop up showers we have not really had the summer we had last year.
But I am heading over to talk about the community garden. I have really concentrated so much time on that site this year, almost to the detriment of my own garden. That is because that garden is feeding a lot of folks. We have taken right at 175-lbs of produce to the RIFA Soup Kitchen here in Jackson, TN. this summer. That garden got a very late planting and start but has ended up helping feed a bunch of folks from it. I have gone through over-heating, hard bone crushing work and the only thought I have had was the end result. My plan all along with my limited gardener of ONE really from the community was to give the bulk to the soup kitchen. But the community "AT LARGE" has been helping themselves to a lot of the produce as well. I have heard from all the neighbors around the garden that some folks even come in during the dark with flashlights to get vegetables from the garden. Now some of you might think this would be considered as "theft" but I see it as a "neighborhood in need" helping themselves to much needed fresh produce. If I am around when someone does a "walk-in" to pick off the street I try to chat with them about the chance of them gardening with the project in an official capacity, signing up to garden a plot, invest their time and energy and be a part of the process as a whole. That way they are part of the solution and not continue the cycle as part of the problem.
A community garden is not to be designed to be a "hand out" or "give-away" project. The Chinese proverb goes: "GIVE A MAN A FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A DAY. TEACH A MAN TO FISH AND HE WILL EAT FOR A LIFETIME." For me and my gardening house, I say "KNOWLEDGE IS THE BEST CHARITY" and if in my UT Master Gardener way I can share my gardening knowledge with others and teach someone how to garden and feed themselves and this space can give the satisfaction that they themselves have not only put food on their table but added some sense of pride and accomplishment to their lives then my goal as a Master Gardener and as a man has been met. Not blowing my own "shofar" but is that not our goal as human-kind toward each other? Man helping man to help themselves.
OK, enough "hot air" and on to other topics here at the urban farm. The bulk of the pullets turned 20-weeks old on Monday this week and the remainder are between 17 & 18 weeks old. I recently gave two of the four of my Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets to my brother to go with the other birds I already gave him that I picked up at one of the local chicken swaps. That brought my flock down to 20-birds. They have developed very nicely and are looking like real chickens now. Combs, wattles and that dinstinct cackle have come into play now and the golf balls are in the nest boxes to give a hint and the layer feed and fresh waster and greens are given and their little lives are full of good eats and I am waiting...waiting...waiting on that first egg! Any day I keep saying and hopefully that is truly the case from all I have learned in this process. Truly any day!
I will leave you then with our ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"