Sunshine Weekly Weeder Newsletter
14 May 2014
Sunshine Gardens is owned and operated by you! It runs off the energy and dedication of all its members. Every year in May, gardeners assemble to empower other gardeners to guide the organization by electing members to the Board of Directors. We need your help in identifying gardeners who are interested in board service.
The positions that will be elected on May 31st are:
- Secretary on the Board of Directors (2 year term)
- Three (3) at-large members on the Board of Directors (2 year terms)
- Three (3) members of the Nominating Committee (1 year term)
Sunshine is a self-governed program of the Community Garden Initiative of Central Texas (CGICT), a membership-managed 501c3 non-profit corporation. CGICT is chartered by the state and recognized as a publicly supported charity by the federal government. Sunshine's charitable purpose and mission statement is, "To beautify, conserve and provide public access to green space by providing opportunities for the public to engage in organic gardening."
Board members of CGICT not only coordinate the operations of the Sunshine site, but also represent our membership and goals in the public interest. Each board member enters a covenant with their election to engage in activity that supports our mission and bylaws. All gardeners considering a candidacy should review the Bylaws. They contain job descriptions of each position and eligibility of board service to ensure it is the right fit for your skills and schedules.
If you would like to serve, or know someone who would, please call or e-mail.
We would really appreciate hearing from you!
2014 Nominations Committee
- Scott Morris - email@example.com 512-371-7961
- Jody Trendler - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Adriana Botello Prioleau - email@example.com
It's getting hot fast (or at least it was) so do not to let Service Hours sneak up on you! You need to do them before JUNE 30, 2014.
It has been proposed that the number of required hours go up. This "Guide" will be edited to reflect the Site Rule changes that are voted in. In the meanwhile you can still use it to see what tasks apply. It also covers tasks that count for your TSVBI hour.
Changes to the Site Rules are part of the election on 5/31/14. Site Rule changes that pass will be retroactive to the beginning of the year.
Two changes of note are:
- The required number of service hours is proposed to go up (retroactive to Jan 2014.) EG. Full Plot goes up from 6 to 8 hours.
- It is also proposed that gardeners can now count ALL mowing, edging, beautification, improved-navigation, etc of "the common areas" as Service Hour time. This would apply to all of the pathways in the garden.
Keeping pathways safe for our members and the public, including the differently enabled, is part of our SCG non-profit charter.
Fire Ant Treatment - How It Went
Our first fire ant treatment using the "Bait and Switch" grid system was a mixed bag of results. As with any large-scale field operation, it began a bit "clunky" as we tried to get everyone on the same page of the program, with several experts involved, and working out details on how to deploy our troops.
One major finding is that this large-scale project, over 320 bait stations on a grid system across the whole garden IS DOABLE! With expert help from Wizzie Brown, Mark Sanders, Kunda Wicce, and my own field biology background, our highly competent volunteers Kay McMurray, Ila Falvey, Michael Hall, Jeff Monks, Jennifer, Andy McCauley, Ken Mitchell, Lisa Daugustine, Marilyn Landberg, Suzanne Bradford, Susan Kramer, Gail Rapuano, and Jean Flahive, we were able to set up all these bait stations in less than an hour. Y'ALL ROCK, VOLUNTEERS! Wizzie divided us up into three teams of four, which was exactly how many people it took to do the job in each team's section. The weather was great, and soon we were having fun with the project.
We also found that we do have a good number and population of non-Red Imported Fire Ants, and Mark noted "I did see several bait stations with Monomorium minimum, one with Crematogaster sp, one with Pheidole sp (very small species, really should have collected a few), many with a native species of Nylanderia sp, probably Nylanderia terricola (I know Wizzie collected some), and several with Brachymyrmex sp. Also I saw several blue cheese ants, most likely Forelius mccooki, however, they were not on any of the hot dog baits." This tells us that this RIFA-only treatment program will protect our "good-guy" ants from being poisoned.
Now here was the let-down. After attracting lots of fire ants to the bait stations with hot dog chunks, we switched to the Spinosad poison, and the fire ants would not eat the stuff! Most of the volunteers did note that it smelled like rancid oil.
I spoke with the manufacturer's quality control expert, and he said that the bait should have a slight musty smell, but if it smelled like rancid oil, it was almost certain that the oil in the bait had gone rancid, and that if so, the ants wouldn't have anything to do with the bait. My theory is that even though the bait was pretty new, it gets very hot in the trailer office, where it was being stored, and that the hot days we have had this spring were enough to spoil the Spinosad.
We are now in discussion with the manufacturer, and I will be recommending that we try again using good bait, and after testing to see how best to make the switch.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered, and thanks to all the gardeners for their cooperation.
Get Ready for Hot Weather Gardening
There are several things a gardener can do to relieve some of the stress on plants during the summer.
Sunshine soil that has not been amended is basically black clay. Clay drains slowly, absorbs water slowly and if it dries becomes so hard that plant roots have a difficult time penetrating the soil. Compost dug in during the spring will help. If it's too late for that compost can be added to areas near established plants, (be careful not to invade established root zones). As the plants grow the roots will move into the composted area. Aeration is improved, internal drainage is enhanced and roots are able to more thoroughly fill the soil and mine its nutrients. Additionally soil will retain the moisture more easily.
The other factor to consider during summer is watering. A bed that is covered with mulch will retain the moisture much longer and help the soil stay a few degrees cooler. Water on bare soil evaporates rapidly, but water that filters through mulch will last much longer. There are many different types of mulches available but the leaves from Sunshine's leaf pile will do the trick. The advantage of the leaves (besides being free) is that they will gradually break down and add humus to your soil.
There is no way the garden will escape the hot weather in a Texas summer but by taking precautions we may alleviate some of the worst the summer has to offer.
For Your Information
The revisions to the Site Rules were approved by the Board in February. We will vote on the final approval of these changes at our Annual Meeting on May 31st.
Meanwhile, there are two Q&A meetings where members can talk to members of the Site Rules Revision Committee about the proposed revisions. The first one is Saturday, May 17th, at 10:30 AM. The second meeting is Monday, May 19th, at 6 PM. Check out the new Site Rules and explanation of these rules on our home page, http://www.sunshinecommunitygarden.org.
Events of Interest to Gardeners
Alternate Methods of Gardening
Thursday, June 5, 2014 10am - noon
Travis County AgriLife Extension Office
Feeling adventurous? Explore alternate methods of gardening during the final class in our Dealing with Drought Conditions series. If you have time, space, or physical limitations yet still have a desire to nurture your green thumb, Master Gardener Pat Mokry will teach you how to raise carefree veggies, herbs and flowers using self-sufficient grow boxes. Then, for some more 'new' ideas, Master Gardener Marian Stassney will describe the ancient practices of both keyhole gardening and hugelkultur, to expand your repertoire of gardening techniques.
Part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Water Conservation Series. Register or by phone 979-845-2604. $10 fee, $15 at site. Class is limited to 40 people.
Rebates for Compost, Mulch and Aerating:
Great news! The City of Austin is offering rebates for things we should all be doing in our yards - mulching plants & trees, and aerating & topdressing our lawns. If you do all three things (according to their rules, of course) you can get as much as $180 back! Buy what you need, and be sure to keep your receipts. For rules and more details, visit the City of Austin's website.
A site with a multitude of links of interest to gardeners in Central Texas: http://gardeninglaunchpad.com/Aus.html"
Vegetables to plant in May
All month: Amaranth, Jerusalem Artichoke, Jicama, Malabar Spinach, Okra, Southern Pea, Peanut, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Tomatillo, Water Spinach, Watermelon
Officer and Zone Coordinator Contacts - Sunshine Garden
- President - Ila Falvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice-President - Janet Adams email@example.com
- Secretary (acting) - Janet Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Treasurer - Jack Reynolds email@example.com
- Director - Michael Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director - Kay McMurry email@example.com
- Zone 1, Jody Trendler firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 2, Katy Davis email@example.com
- Zone 3, Ludmila Voskov firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 4, Ila Falvey email@example.com
- Zone 5, Mary Gifford firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 6, Charlotte Jernigan email@example.com
- Zone 7, Jing Li firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 8, Irina Kaducova email@example.com
- Zone 9, Cheryl Hazeltine firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zone 10, Christopher Schroder email@example.com
- Weekly Weeder Newsletter - Margaret Powis firstname.lastname@example.org
- Plant Sale - Michael Hall email@example.com
- TSBVI Liason & Volunteer Coordinator - Janet Adams jartdaht@gmailcom
- Plot Rental - Kay McMurry firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carpentry & Repairs - Robert Jarry email@example.com
- Water Leak Repairs - Stewart Nichols firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tools & Wheelbarrows - Bob Easter email@example.com
- Website Coordinator - Sharon Rempert firstname.lastname@example.org
Record Service Hours Online - the Virtual Green Binder