March 4th, 2012 Northside Community Garden Meeting Notes

March 4th 2012 Northside Community Garden Meeting Notes

Members Absent:
Ardis, Esther, Flavia, Khin, Leslie, Sonya

12:15 (meeting started late)

Michael and Robin co-chaired the meeting. Both thanked everyone for coming, and thanked those who came to the work-day prior to the meeting.

Michael mentioned that Domingo and Emma will be moving into compliance with the Garden Guidelines and will be staying in the Garden.

Robin has sent Esther a few e-mails but has not heard from her regarding her current standing in the Garden (she has been asked to give up her plot). Esther is currently in Peru and will return in about two weeks.

New Procedure: Sign-in Sheet
– Robin explained that members need to use the new sign-in sheet to record their attendance at meetings. Signing in will help with more accurate record keeping.

Updated Garden Plot-Holder Contract
– Robin passed around the most current contract, which has been updated following a recent meeting with Brad from the City of Berkeley. Several gardeners raised questions about certain points on the contract that they felt did not correctly express what had been decided at the meeting with Brad, and/or what had been talked about at previous Garden meetings.
– A number of points in the contract were discussed, and gardeners agreed that some of the wording should be changed (in points 13, 15, 16) to more accurately reflect our understanding of what has been agreed upon concerning the issues raised in those particular contract points. Elizabeth mentioned that the 2012 dues amount has yet to be determined. Michael will make the changes in the specific contract points and have it ready for review at the next meeting.

Garden Roles-Responsibilities Chart
–  Each gardener received a list of the most current garden roles & responsibilities. Gardeners were asked to review the list and see if each agreed with the chart about his/her role and responsibilities.
–  Leslie is happy to continue with Community Outreach duties, but would like to share the responsibility with someone else.
– Michael encouraged gardeners to think about taking on new/different roles on occasion, so that each member can learn about all the components of garden “upkeep,” and create a more resilience system.

Worms in the Garden
–  Roz initially brought the worms/worm bin, but was not responsible to keep them fed. Nor, it appears, was anyone else. Phyllis took on the task, but now she is no longer part of the garden. Who is feeding them?
– There is a container for worm compost.  If we are going to keep it up, volunteers will need to check on it regularly.
– The question was raised about whether it is redundant to have worm compost, since we already have regular compost from our bins.  One of the benefits of the worm bin is the production of worm tea. It was mentioned by a few gardeners that they have used worm tea in their gardens and have not noticed any significant difference in growth of their produce as a result.
– Michael suggested, and gardeners agreed, that we should liberate the worms from the worm bin to our regular compost pile. The question was raised about what to do with the worm bin, and it came up that we might donate it to a school.

– Michael and Robin have created a new hosting chart, and gardeners were asked to sign up for at least one hosting spot per month before leaving the today’s meeting. The question was raised about whether “doubling” on a hosting time is OK, and it was agreed that it was alright. Elizabeth (as co-secretary) created a new chart to keep track of work hours. She also maintains our current contact information. Gardeners were asked to check that their contact information is current.
–  Gardeners can perform community service hours at the time of hosting, check in the shed for ongoing tasks.
–  If a host cannot make it to their chosen time, it is that person’s responsibility to find a sub, or make up hours at another hosting time.
–  Michael will create a Google calendar with hosting times. It will also feature the dates of the next three meetings/work days, and any other future events. This calendar will be available to all members with Gmail accounts.

Cob Shed Restoration Report
–  Elizabeth reported on the condition of the roof. It has several holes and should be replaced. The repair would involve taking off the soil, installing a new pond-liner, replacing the soil, and replanting. She suggested that we consider planting the roof with “BioTrays” which break down into the soil (coconut fiber trays that were used on the  roof of the California Academy of Sciences). The trays will make weeding and replanting easier.
– Question: Is the structure sound enough for the work it would take to replace the roof? The “BioTray” rep recommends that a structural engineer review the soundness of the building. Question: Will the city help pay for such a review, which might cost around $300?  No, the City has no money for this structure according to Brad Ricards. Elizabeth is going to verify the cost of the structural engineer, and when she finds out, will send an e-mail to the gardeners and we will decide via e-mail vote if we want to spend the money.
– Elizabeth has spoken to a hauler who will remove the  soil from the roof ($300), remove the buttresses, yucca trees, and cactus ($950), and haul it all away ($250).
– To install the BioTrays, we would need to pre-plant them with soil and succulents. Beneath the BioTrays we also need to install 1″ of soil and base layer of insulation above the pond liner. We could use carpet padding or carpet.
– Question: How involved does the city have to be in all of this? Since it will all take place on City owned property, do we have to get an o.k. from the city… permits, liability, etc.?
–  How much can we do ourselves?  Can the removal of the benches and the soil be a work party? Domingo offers that he has a jack-hammer and would be willing to remove the top of the benches.
–  When will it be done? How will we raise any needed funds? Elizabeth will compile various cost options and make a future presentation or email proposal.

Seed Planting Party
– Robin had envisioned it as a good way to help people to plant year round. The results of last year’s seed planting party were A. fun, B. there were more than enough crop starts for all.
–  How often do the seedling flats get watered? Almost every day.
–  Laura wanted to have another demonstration on making more mini green houses (cloches). Shawn offered to demonstrate, if she has time.
–  Robin and Michael will pick and announce (by email) a day for the next seed planting party, maybe sometime later in March.
William reports that the compost pile has been very hot, and no sign of rats. There is currently a full bin of new compost available.
–  Michael offered that according to Carl Rosato, soil expert and farmer, best results are not obtained by growing in pure compost, but by using compost sparingly; feeding one’s garden throughout the season by applying thin layers.
–  When Larry refilled his plot he got a good soil mix from Acapulco.
–  Should we buy more compost? Matt and Michael suggested that since the cob shed may be costly, we use the compost that we make this year, so please bring your kitchen scraps and use the green bins a little as possible.

Phyllis’s Plot  If anyone is interested in Phyllis’s plot, let Robin or Michael know. Also let them know if you are thinking about downsizing your plot, or are needing help with your large plot and are willing to share.


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