Category Archives: Volunteer Day

Fall Garden Clean-up

2016_cleanup_ecga

The Fall Clean-Up at the Ewing Community Garden would not have been possible without the help of the more than twenty College of New Jersey student volunteers who joined gardeners to clean out compost piles and weed and beautify the community areas of the garden. Teams of students were lead by gardeners, Bob Ellis, Dorothy McMillan, Pat Mulligan, Meg and Stuart Rich, and Karen Serach. Thank you to all the gardeners who worked to clean their plots and get the garden ready for winter.

The 2015 Gardening Season Begins!

2015plotlayoutWelcome to the unofficial start of the 2015 gardening season! We’ll begin with a garden clean-up this Saturday, March 28th and gardening can begin in the non-organic plots as soon as the soil is tilled the week after, and in organic, non-tilled plots, gardening can begin any time!

Announcements and updates

  1. Ewing Community Gardening Association (ECGA)
    The ECGA is a township-recognized organization formed two years ago to serve as a liaison between gardeners and the township, plan and implement improvements to the garden site, develop guidelines for successful community gardening, and to create a community of gardeners. We meet monthly to make plans and socialize; you’ll receive occasional emails with announcements and reminders, and they’ll be posted on the garden site kiosk as well. Michael Nordquist is chair of the association and can be reached at ewingcommunitygardens@gmail.com. More information about the ECGA and gardening at the Ewing Community Gardens, including guidelines, can be found at this website: https://ewingcommunitygardens.wordpress.com/
  2. March 28, 10am-4pm: Garden Site Clean-Up
    This Saturday, March 28th, we’ll have a community garden clean up and workday, with assistance from TCNJ students. All gardeners are requested to come and help prepare the site for tilling, maintain the paths, and make some general improvements to the site as a whole.  The community garden only exists because of the work that gardeners do for it; please do your part to make this important resource available to you and others now and in the future.
    We will be cleaning up any trash, debris, or materials left from last year and working on extending the paths for the coming season.   If you still have materials in your (non-organic) plots from last year, please use this as an opportunity to remove them. The township will be tilling the site shortly after this date, and we need to have the ground clear of anything that could damage or get caught in the tiller. If you have a site on the organic/east side of the plot, since your site will not be tilled, you can leave your materials there, if you desire.Any reusable materials that are removed from the non-organic plots will be set either along the fence or in the common plots near the back center of the site. If unclaimed by April 15th, the materials will be made available to anyone who would like them.Please bring gloves, tools (pitchforks, shovels, rakes), your wheelbarrows, cardboard for path maintenance, wear warm clothes, and work with some of your fellow gardeners to put the gardens in a good order for the beginning of the season.
  3. Registration Update
    As of March 18, only 17 of 102 plots remain unclaimed. If you know of folks who are interested in getting plots, tell them to act soon! As of April 15, unclaimed plots will be made available to gardeners who would like more than two plots.
  4. New Gardeners Mentoring Program
    This year, we would like to match new gardeners with returning gardeners so the new gardeners have someone to go to with their basic and more complicated questions. Of course, everyone should always feel free to ask anyone around the garden; we’re generally helpful people.
    Returning gardeners
    If you’re willing to be someone’s mentor, please email this account to let me know. You don’t need to be an expert, just have a few years of gardening at the site and be willing to be available occasionally to new gardeners.
    New gardeners
    If you’re interested in having a mentor, please email this account and we’ll try to match you up with someone. Also, if you’re interested in being part of a new gardeners’ email group for sharing information and experience with one another, please email this account to let me know and I’ll set that up.
  5. Isles Garden Support Network
    For any interested gardeners, we will be purchasing a membership to Isles Garden Support Network. Isles, Inc., a Trenton-based community development organization, offers a series of workshops to new community gardeners to provide basic introductions to principles and practices of gardening. As members, any Ewing Community gardeners will be able to participate in their workshops. You can find more information about Isles Urban Agriculture program here and a schedule of the garden workshops here.
  6. Next meeting and Garden Orientation: April 15th, 6:30pm, at the garden
    Our next meeting will be held at the garden. We’ll do a brief overview and orientation of the garden for new gardeners, going over the general guidelines and answering any questions gardeners may have. The earlier 6:30pm start time will allow us about an hour before official sundown. If there’s bad weather, I’ll send out an email that afternoon and we’ll meet at the ESCC instead.
    New gardeners
    Please plan on coming if you can so you can meet fellow gardeners and learn about the general practices at the garden.
    Returning gardeners
    Please plan on coming so you can meet fellow gardeners and offer up your guidance and mentoring skills to new and other returning gardeners.

March 20th marked the official start of spring, even as it snowed on us.  Order your seeds, plant your seedlings, and start planning out your garden plot!

 

Garden Cleanup March 22nd A Big Success

IMG_5233Thanks to everyone who was able to come out to Saturday’s clean-up to prepare the garden site for the upcoming season. With the assistance of about 20 TCNJ students, we made great progress.  We now have extended the wood chip paths around most of the perimeter so you will be able to navigate to your plots more safely and comfortably.  We constructed a few compost bins for your green vegetative waste.  The Township has also promised us some garbage cans and regular garbage pickup so things should be much neater and hopefully we won’t see piles of weeds in pathways or out on the grass near the street.

We also removed all leftover materials from the plots so the township can till. If you left materials–stakes, trellises, fencing, etc.–on your plot, you may find them along the walkway along the fence near your plot. Please claim them by April 15th. After that point, they will be assumed to be available to anyone who wants them, or they will be thrown away.  This is a reminder that anything planted before the township tills will likely be tilled under, so please wait until after to start your gardening season. After tilling, they’ll plot out the sites so you’ll know the exact borders of your plot(s).

Till Schedule

Township staff hope to till next week (weather permitting) so stay turned for the update.  We know that you are quite anxious to get out there and get started.  Despite the weather of the past week we really do believe that spring will be coming soon.

Thanks Due

Our clean up was immeasurably assisted by the TCNJ students.  We owe them a huge debt of thanks.  In addition, we were very lucky to garner a few donations of supplies.  Extension Patio Shop donated the pallets that we used to construct the compost bins and Bauer Tree Service donated the chips.  We used all that were on site on Saturday and they have already donated more for anyone to use for path creation or on their plots.

Resources for Gardeners

At the request of a new gardener, and as a useful resource for returning gardeners, we’d like to compile a list of local gardening resources for our members. These could include seed providers, local garden and lawn stores, greenhouses, farm stores, etc., that would be useful for gardeners to know about. When you have a chance, please email your favorite local, regional, or mail order sources for garden supplies to the ewingcommunitygardens@gmail.com email address. If you can find them, please include the name, address, phone number, website, and any particular strengths the place has (“great seed selection;” ” wide variety of soil amendments;” etc.). We’ll make your suggestions available to all.

Photos

We have a few photos from the clean up to share.  Go to the Photos page to view.

We’ll see you out at the gardens soon.

“It Takes a Village”at the Ewing Community Gardens

DSC08258It was a great day last Saturday!  With the help and energy of yet another contingent of TCNJ student volunteers under the direction of Professor Michael Nordquist and the Community Gardens Committee we accomplished what we have been trying to do all season – decimating a huge mulch pile and putting its contents onto the paths of the Ewing Community Gardens on Whitehead Road Extension.  This was a fabulous accomplishment and will make a tremendous difference to the gardeners who use the site.   Gardeners have already commented on how much easier the site is to use this year since they didn’t have to do quite so much bushwhacking to get to their plots.  The efforts of the students Saturday have sustained and greatly improved upon our previous efforts.  In addition, we were delighted to have the compost bins set up for the gardeners use.  Now they won’t have to cart out the weedy debris but can be more environmentally friendly and compost it on site.  The weeding and the planting efforts that they contributed were just the icing on the cake!

Ewing Township, the Green Team and most especially the community gardeners have been the recipients of a number of student volunteer community service days this year are all deeply grateful for all of the hard work that the students put in.  We believe that in addition to implementing more environmentally friendly practices at the gardens, the cleanup days, so wonderfully supported by the students, are helping to create the community in our community gardens.

For more photos from the day, check the Photos page on the Green Team website.

Volunteer Day This Saturday, June 29th

wheelbarrowWe hope that you like the new fence around our gardens.  Now that we have this wonderful new ammenity, we need to concentrate on keeping our gardens looking their best and making the site a showcase. Accordingly, the Ewing Community Gardens is running a Volunteer Day this Saturday morning, June 29th from 8:30 a.m. on.  We need to work on keeping the paths cleared of any weeds and finish moving the pile of wood chips onto the paths to help suppress any additional weed growth.  Please bring your wheelbarrows and shovels, as well as newspaper and cardboard to put down below the wood chips to help suppress the weeds.  All gardeners are requested to donate a few hours of their time to help our community gardens look their best.