2010/08/10 Northside Garden Meeting Notes

Notes presented by Leslie

In attendance:  Elizabeth, Matt, Deborah, Nina, Khin, Leslie, Barbara, Larry, William, Robin, Summi, Emma and Flavia

We discussed:

1.  Hosting:  Not everyone is signing up to host and we discussed possible reasons why this is happening.  We agreed:
• that the sign-up sheets for the hosting season (April – October) should be made available early on so people can make their plans and commitments well in advance,
• the Garden Hosting Coordinator should send out reminders to people who have not signed up to host
• One of issues for the next meeting will be to decide the hosting schedule for next year.  Do we want to keep it as it currently is or change it for next year?

2.  ADA compliance and other path related issues:
• At his last inspection, Brad (the City representative) said that we (and all the community gardens), will have to comply with ADA requirements to make the garden accessible to both visitors and gardeners with disabilities.  The Paths Committee met with Larry Wright (a landscape architect who works with the City and community groups) to agree on a plan that he will present to the City on our behalf.  Federal requirements call for concrete paths, 4 feet in width.  Everyone agrees that concrete is not appropriate for the garden so we are hoping the City agrees to allow the use of decomposed granite.   The main paths, from the entrance to the shed, to the central meeting area, to the compost bins and the porta-potty will have to be in compliance.  Garden members will be responsible for maintaining the paths.  The City will pay all costs, including the professional grading of the paths and the installation of the dg.  We don’t expect that this is going to happen any time soon but we do need to present a plan to the City
• People felt that not enough attention was being given to maintenance of the garden paths and the required 18″ clearance around each plot.  Gardeners need to be sure the area around their plots is clear of weeds and other obstructions. It was decided that the issue of potted plants would be addressed at the next meeting and a policy established regarding them.  It was mentioned that people with plots that get less sun like to have plants in pots so they can move them to sunnier spots around their plots.  Part of the problem may also be that we don’t really have a communal planting area.  If we did, that might eliminate the need people feel to have potted plants.
• There seems to be a lot of crab grass around.  Please be careful not to put this into the compost bins.  It is very hard to eliminate.

3.  Compost bins and compost issues:
• All fresh material should be added to bin #1 (on the far left as you face them).  The compost is cooking in the middle bin and the 3rd bin is reserved for the ready-to-use compost.
• Please do not put thorns, sticks, paper or seeds, especially from weeds, in the bins.  It also helps the break down to cut the material into 6″ or smaller sections.
• As many of us have suspected for some time, the compost the City delivers is not totally organic.  Please read the interesting and comprehensive article linked here, http://ecologycenter.org/terrain/issues/spring-2010/compost-confidential/    At the next meeting we are going to decide whether we want to continue to use this compost or if it would be preferable to purchase compost from a vendor.
• Elizabeth has a friend at UC Berkeley who is conducting an experiment on the Gill Tract in Albany.  They are growing tomatoes and testing a special compost tea mixture to see if it works better than chemical fertilizers.  A visit to the Gill Tract has been scheduled on  Friday, August 20th at noon. If any one wants to attend, please email Elizabeth at elzipeele@yahoo.com.
4.  Cactus Garden:  First, a huge thanks to Domingo for all the work he did there.  Very much appreciated!!!!
• It was decided to replace the cactus garden with a community flower bed.  The plants around the shed currently in pots will be transplanted to that area.  We want to build a raised bed because the soil there probably isn’t good enough to support much.  We talked about hooking the sink up in that area as well.

5.  Work Parties
• Very few people showed up at the last work party but people are doing community work on their own.  In addition to Domingo, many thanks to William and Matt and anyone else who has done work recently.  It was mentioned that scheduling work parties before meetings seem to encourage attendance.  We’ll have a work party on Saturday, October 2nd from 1-3pm, followed by a member meeting at 3pm to get ready for the harvest festival on October 3rd.  Let’s plan on working on all our paths that day.

6.  Volunteers  
• Volunteers have offered to work at our garden on Saturday, September 25 (Slow Food Day of Service event).  We decided to use this opportunity to build the raised bed next to the shed.  We will also have a slow food celebration.  We can use the solar cooker and people should bring food to share.
Volunteers have also offered to work at the garden on October 10 (City of Berkeley Climate Action Day).  A potential project for this group would be to create a communal plating area near the compost bins.

7.  Miscellaneous:

• We have $1,328 in the treasury.

That’s it.  Looking forward to seeing everyone in the garden!



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