Thursday, December 04, 2008

Working Toward Community Gardens (Local Food/Holistic Education) in the Seguin Area

1. We will continue to develop the grounds at Sample Society, 607 Jefferson Ave., Seguin in collaboration with the owners/directors:

· We have the small garden which was planted last year, which will be better planned and replanted in the early spring. (This might become a perennial herb and perennial flower area.)
· I've plowed another area (hard and with lots of caliche) around the back fence using an organic grower's tractor and turning-plow, and will have some chicken manure/"compost" delivered this winter for building up the fertility of this soil--at the poultry producer's convenience. (Also, we hope to get some organic matter from the "local" fish hatcheries next week.)
· Tentative plans are to disk the manure in and broadcast a late winter/early spring garden of turnips & mustard greens--and some chard, spinach and lettuce.
· I'll ask the city to deliver some more chipped mulch--and we'll do lots of mulching and employ use of plastic for soil solarization weed control.
· Around the inside perimeter of the garden (area not plowed) and other areas of Sample Society land, we'll plant some perennial fruit and ornamental trees, bushes and vines--into a weed-guard mesh.
· We'll attempt to get folk involved in assigned/first come-first served raised-bed plots on the west side of the plowed area. (Folk might use their production in their home, or sell at the Downtown Farmers Market.)
· In the east area, I plan to plant calabacitas (easy to grow and produce from early spring 'til late in the fall, and in demand by Mexican-Americans), okra (easy to grow; harvest is the problem), tomatoes, and chiles, etc. (I might plant some poppies also. Grew them years ago down at the Farm in Stockdale, and they're not hard to grow and harvest. ... And I love poppy-seed kolaches and pie--and cake!)
· And perhaps we'll get a small shade house built for raising transplants.

2. I do realize that we need to work hard on getting Master Gardeners and/or other organizations and governmental entities--and more volunteers--involved. ... I've been enjoying myself kind of piddling around, but realize we need to collectively plan and work together to make this concept of community gardens to really work here in Seguin.

(If properly organized, and if appropriate energy and critical thinking were invested, this effort could take off:

· A family et al. actively involved in community service ministry has a plot of land they are targeting for a garden area in Seguin near where they collaborate to distribute food to the needy (in addition to the garden they are developing in Stockdale),
· Pedro Schambon, Marvel Maddox (Siempre Sustainable Network), Tim Barr (TLU) et al. are working with the Guadalupe County Ministerial Association on "Faith Community Plots on Pedro's My Father's Farm".
· The pastor at Mosaic Community Church has a long-term interest for possible garden plots near the church and Seguin Community Health Center.
· There are plenty of "vacant lots" around Seguin (on school grounds*, near Christian Cupboard, etc.) that could be used for local food production and holistic outdoor/hands-on education.)
. Various other organic and conventional growers of produce in the Seguin areas should be a part of the planning and development of this effort.

*[I spent some considerable amount of time with various aspects of the political campaigns in 2008.

In 2009, I hope to spend a considerable amount of time working with teachers/activists, at local school board meetings, with folk at Texas State University, and with TEA, etc. in Austin, etc.--trying to develop a critical mass of folk doing some critical thinking and taking action towards realizing networks of small neighborhood schools with a holistic ecologically-based curricula.]

3. We'd love to get CLEAN leaves (preferably unbagged, but if you must bag them we'll take them) delivered to the spot marked "Compost/Abono" at Sample Society, 607 Jefferson Ave.

If this becomes overwhelming for us at the Sample Society location, Pedro Schambon at My Father's Farm, 14400 FM 725 (a couple of miles west of Johnny's Barbeque) will take all the leaves we can provide him.

[Rodney Burton, Siempre Sustainable Network, has suggested Pedro and I get on KWED to request delivery of leaves to our compost piles rather than let these nutrient laden beauties go to the landfill. ... We'll get around to this.

Also, I generally go around and pick up what bagged leaves I can in my neighborhood. Nevertheless, my family will be traveling to Rio for a wedding and be gone ca. 10 days around Christmas. Perhaps some of you in Seguin might search the streets and capture these jewels before they head to the landfill during this period?]

4. Pedro and I will work with Tim Barr and other appropriate contacts at TLU to obtain use of their cafeteria scraps for composting.

5. We'll need to work to get water lines to various parts of the garden area at Sample Society, and get ready to lay out systems of more efficient drip lines.

Thanks for indulging me in this outpouring of ideas for "community" gardens in Seguin.

(And we would appreciate your precious leaves--if you don't want them!)

paul martin
Siempre Sustainable Network

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