Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sowing the Future

Last Saturday was planting day. We received all of our plants from Operation Brightside and had to actually make two trips to pick them all up.

The largest factor that made Saturday the most enjoyable work day so far was all the planning we did ahead of time.
Everything went very smoothly and once the plants were placed it was only a matter of planting them which went relatively fast.

We also added some plants to our large round planter at Utah & Gravois.

We also had a pleasant surprise from one of the members of our group. He had picked up some large cedar logs and built us a beginning fence/barricade at the back of the garden. It lends the whole lot a certain rustic feel, as though you could hitch your horse and relax awhile in the a peaceful garden.
We have successfully completed Phase 1 of our plan, and only have to mulch everything this week. Stay tuned for future updates regarding the vegetable garden and the Grant we are working on with Gateway Greening.

We also want to extend a very large Thank You to Incarnate Word Foundation and Sister Jean Durel for believing in us and all of the support given to make the perennial garden possible.
Also, Operation Brightside has been essential in the whole process from the beginning of our round planter, and now with our new community garden. We are grateful for all the support.

Monday, October 8, 2007

An Uplifting Experience

Working on gardening projects such as these are uplifting experiences. Faces that may have been strange or unfamiliar have become warm and amicable. Sweat and labor are remarkable tools for creating bonds of friendship that may not have been realized using more conventional techniques. The real fabric of a community is formed at this level. It makes me proud to see my neighbors working together toward a common, tangible goal.

Help from All Sides

The Wednesday following the weekend of building we had more dirt delivered to fill the beds.

We were blessed with many neighbors that night. A job that would have taken the group a few hours was completed in less than 2 hours!
Things are almost ready for planting and there will be an update after this coming weekend with all the plants in the ground.
Just to compare where we started and where we are now, take a look at this.

Visions take shape

This was the big day, which turned into a full weekend. We had the supplies delivered the Friday before and were ready to begin early Saturday morning.

It's always interesting to lay out a design from paper and see it transform into an acutal shpae. We are lucky to have a skilled crew, particularly our master plan sketch artist and resident brick layer.

It was a long weekend, and I think we've all agreed that after building the beds, everything feels easy.

The Dirt

We spent a few work days cleaning the lot.

We ended up with a huge pile of trees, weeds and assorted debris at the back of the lot.

There was also a large, sad looking cedar that needed to be removed, and thankfully was finally taken out by the city. Our plan was to go in phases. Phase one is our current project which consists of raised beds for the perennial garden in the first 25 feet of the lot.

The dimensions of the lot are 25x100' so we're being conservative in the beginning. Phase two of the plan is to add raised beds for vegetable gardens next spring. Our entire perennial garden is being supplied by Operation Brightside.
Incarnate Word Foundation has generously funded our raised beds for this phase.
Once we cleared the lot we began working the soil into something that we could not only build raised beds on, but also leveling it out.
We've had dirt delivered free of charge from the city, most of which is compost. It's actually quite nice dirt, and with no charge, it's exceptional.

New Grounds

Early in 2007 our group began discussing starting a new garden. The success we'd enjoyed with our round planter encouraged us to look into an LRA Lot on Minnesota. After reviewing the obstacles that this lot presented we decided it was definitely a workable location.

We obtained a 5 year lease for $5 and started planning. This lot was very overgrown and we think there was probably a house on it at one time. It had years of trash and weeds built up, making it a little daunting in the beginning.
We had already worked with Operation Brightside for our other garden and started attending classes for a larger grant.
At National Night Out we had an ice cream social at the site in an effort to gain support and interest from the neighboring residents. We even had the Mayor attend and show his support.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The beginning

Two years ago our block unit began the effort of cleaning up a large round planter that was built by the city. It had been neglected for some time and was overgrown with weeds and randomly planted tulip bulbs.
The first year we cleaned out the weeds and pulled up most of the bulbs.
We planted a bit haphazardly the first year and decided to apply for a grant with Operation Brightside.
Operation Brightside awarded us a "Neighbors Naturescaping" grant which supplied us with primarily native perrenials for the planter. We had compost and mulch delivered from the city last fall and planted everything in October.

It was amazing to watch such small plants transform over the past year into a full perennial garden.

We will continue to maintain this planter, located at Utah & Gravois and plan to add more plants this fall.
This garden was our first attempt at laying out plans and successfully executing them. Truly, having this garden gave us inspiration to try a larger project.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


This blog was started to document the progress of our neighborhood garden. We are the West Corner Community Block Unit and currently have two garden projects that we are nurturing. As with the gardens, this blog will grow as we add more content.

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