Friday, December 5, 2014

Old Garden Rules

We are in the process of updating our garden's rules. For reference, here is a list of the rules as of June, 2014 (please note that the Howard Area Community Center is no longer affiliated with the HACG). Please give your feedback to the Leadership Team by commenting here, sending email to, or calling the garden at 470-228-1725. Thank you for your input!

Howard Area Community Garden
Rules and Guidelines

The following rules and guidelines are meant to keep our community garden a safe, clean, friendly, and healthy environment for all of its members. (Adopted July 2012)

This is an Organic Garden. Only organic fertilizers may be used - only compost, manure, and products that are labeled organic. Non-Organic and other chemical fertilizers are PROHIBITED.

Painted wood and painted posts are not allowed in the garden. Old paint contains lead, which is highly toxic to pregnant women and children. Modern paint is also toxic. Do not contaminate the soil.

Wood chips, dyed mulch, etc. are prohibited. Compostable mulch is permitted.

• May 1-15 of each year (2013) if you intend to return to your plot please notify any community garden leader by phone, email or check the box on the list kept at the Howard Area Community Center. Failure to do so will result in plots assigned to someone on the waiting list.
• June 15, of each year all plots must be fully planted.
• November 15, of each year all plots must be fully cleaned up and left in an orderly fashion.

No pets in the garden or by any entrance. (for the safety of all members and pedestrians)

Every family is allowed only one garden plot.Definition of family is any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, and in-laws.

Children must be supervised in the garden. Children are not allowed to run around unsupervised in the garden.

Stealing will not be tolerated. No one is to enter the plot of another gardener or take anything without their permission. Except for garden community-owned tools which should be return after each use in its proper place, in the back of the garden by the compost area.

There is a Zero Tolerance policy in regards to stealing. Any gardener who violates this rule will lose his or her plot. Please report theft or vandalism to the garden community leadership team immediately, Call 911 when appropriate.

Please be courteous and respectful of your fellow gardeners. Any gardener who violates this rule can also lose his or her plot. 911 will be called if appropriate.

All gardeners are responsible for keeping the paths around their plots free of weeds and garbage. Gardeners with plots on the alley and sidewalk are responsible for keeping those perimeters weeded as well.

Water and the hose are provided for watering gardens only. Do not wash cars or  bicycles, play in the water stream, or in any others way waste water. When there are gardeners waiting for the hose, be respectful of those waiting and also wait your turn.

Do not water your neighbors garden when others are waiting to water their own garden.

Alcohol and Drugs are not prohibited in the garden.When entering the garden, leave the lock on the gate in the locked position.Do not put the lock in your pocket.

Do not leave lock in the open position. Tools in the compost area are for use by all gardeners. Return them to the compost area when you are done.If a tool is damaged or broken, alert a community garden team leader.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Last 2014 Workday

This is a reminder that Saturday, November 22, from noon to 2 p.m. is our last scheduled 2014 growing season workday. It's time to put our beautiful garden to bed for the winter!

Six gardeners braved the rain to help at our October workday and we made a lot of progress. Just imagine how great our garden would look if we had everyone show up next Saturday! Even if you can only stay for half an hour, every little bit helps.

Please make sure you bring good, sturdy gloves (and maybe an extra warm pair to wear underneath). 

If you can't make it on Saturday but want to drop by the garden sometime this week to help out, please focus on clearing all plants from the outer perimeter and pathways.

Also... stay tuned for information on our annual Winter Potluck! The tentative date is December 13th; time and place to be announced.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Introducing your humble garden coordinator

The garden is looking great! I saw eight gardeners in there today, taking advantage of this unseasonably warm weather to get some gardening in. Everyone is doing such a great job of clearing their plots in preparation for the winter! Thank you for your efforts, and an extra special thanks to those who are spending a little more time with the common areas, clearing weeds and picking up trash. When we all pitch in a little bit, the place looks SOOO much better!

I was pulling some weeds in my plot, and saw that my kale was still going strong and decided to give it a drink of water. Whoops! I found out that NeighborSpace (the organization that owns the property our garden lies on) had come to remove the water system already, despite the warm weather. It turns out that they do this for all the community gardens in mid-October, to prevent a freeze damaging the pumps. I'm really sorry I didn't know about this ahead of time, so I could give everyone a heads-up before the cut off. But for future reference, apparently this happens every year around October 15, and we can look forward to the water coming back on around the middle of May.

It occurs to me that I have not properly introduced myself. My name is Katje Sabin, and I'm the gardener in the space with the big tree, in the middle of the edge that borders Juneway Terrace. I was invited to join the garden by the previous garden coordinator in June of this year, the week we moved to our apartment on Juneway. I've had some experience with non-profit organizing and event coordination, so I offered to help out if I could. The previous coordinator left his position soon after I planted, and NeighborSpace asked me to help rebuild the Leadership Team. For now, I'm acting as the Howard Area Community Garden's new coordinator, and working with our other Leadership Team members to get things sorted out and moving forward again.

Gina Carpenter, who has been acting as our treasurer and membership coordinator (thank you SO much, Gina!) and I met with the Howard Area Community Center's executive director last week, and are optimistic about the potential to rebuild communications with them. We are so lucky to have this group willing to work with us, and we are hoping to have a HACC plot back in the garden again next spring. I'm also working with HACC to get in contact with Sister Cecilia, to get some history, ideas, and tips from her.

I've been gardening off and on over the last 25 years, but rarely in one spot for more than two or three years due to our rental/employment situations. I am fascinated with the process of coaxing our food from the earth, and all the wonderful and creative ways to interpret horticulture among different gardeners. I'm also a writer and editor, and have written a few garden-related pieces for a local website… one about growing my own Glass Gem corn (I still have seeds, if anyone else wants to give it a try next year!), and a piece about the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Despite my experience, I know I'm a brand-new gardener here at HACG. But I've already had such a great response from many of our established gardeners, and I'm truly excited about the direction the garden is headed. We have a fantastic team behind us at NeighborSpace, there are several committed HACG members who are pitching in to help, Alderman Joe Moore's office has offered several ways to support us, and we have businesses offering to give us tree removal/trimming, wood chips and mulch, a brand new beehive, and so much more. 

Thank you for joining me here on the blog, and please let me know if you have any ideas for our garden. You can always reach me via the garden's phone (which rings through directly to my cell phone) or email address (listed to the right). Keep your eye on this space for more information and details about our last garden workday, and our annual winter potluck. 

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not only the body, but the soul." -- Alfred Austin

Monday, October 20, 2014

A wet but wonderful workday

A wet and rainy morning greeted gardeners last Saturday, but after an hour the skies mostly cleared and we had five gardeners on hand, plus three volunteers from the waiting list and Guadalupe Garcia from NeighborSpace. Lupe brought plenty of loaner gloves and tools, and we all set to work on the overgrown areas of our garden.

Look how nice the compost area looks now!

 Here's another view.

Jill, Eva, and Fagin fill another garbage can.

This is only HALF of what we hauled out!

The rains brought out tons of mushrooms.

Many thanks to Emily, Katje, Lupe, Eva, Jill, Bill, Ryan, and Fagin for all their hard work. And we also got a visit from BJ, who told us he'd been mowing the devil's strip all summer (thank you, BJ!). There's still a lot left to work on, though, so feel free to drop in and clear a few more weeds from the paths!

HACG history

Ben Helphand, the director of NeighborSpace (the nonprofit that owns the land we garden on) found a few old photos of the Howard Area Community Garden, and forwarded them to us for our blog. If anyone knows anything about these images, please comment and share with us!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Many hands make light work!

The mint and morning glories are beautiful, but they've gotten a little out of hand. It's time to clean up our garden's communal spaces, all the pathways, fences, and seating areas.

Saturday, October 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we will gather and pitch in to clean up our garden and get it ready for winter. If you can't make it on the 18th, don't worry! You'll have another chance to help out on Saturday, November 22.

Bring some gloves and hand tools (especially pruning shears) if you have them. If not, there will be some loaners on hand.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Garden Story Telling from 2nd Story

Lupe Garcia of Neighborspace sends us this:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Howard Area Community Garden

Annual Meeting

Saturday June 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm

In The Garden

Agenda to Include:

Aetna Insurance Grant
Leadership Team New Member
Collection of Annual $10.00 fee

Please email your agenda suggestions and concerns to the Garden Email Address:

Monday, April 28, 2014


Gardener CQ is looking to share a load of composted manure with other gardeners.

Please email the garden leadership at and we'll relay the message to him if you are interested.

These are the details he sent:

"Free Stable Horse Compost/Mulch
Fully composted 8-12 months, Nutrient rich humus, turned & watered-will not burn your plants or rob nitrogen from soil.

High quality horse manure compost fully composted & complete with red worms

The compost is free, the delivery charge pays for the truck plates / insurance & fuel.

We will deliver 8 cubic yards for $100-150 depending on location.. $75 if local. (value comparable to $300)

Volume: ( 8 c.yds. = 7' x 16' x 2' ) - ( 2 cubic yards is about 1 ton )

Compost for amending soil / rototilling, great for mulching and/or topdressing,
Similar in texture to triple processed playground mulch,
Totally Organic dark brown, crumbly, composted & turned, 8-12 months aged,
Fully composted with no odor other than a slight smell similar to wet dirt/leaves /mulch which vanishes once exposed to sun/air

Call Casey for deliveries show contact info

Free compost/mulch for your garden.

one cubic yard will cover:
40 square feet about 8 inches thick
80 square feet about 4 inches thick
160 square feet about 2 inches thick

Picture of actual material used as mulch, Similar to triple shredded mulch.
Isuzu Dump Truck for deliveries & load of compost. "

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Garden Receives Donation of Garden Supplies

Major Grant Opportunity

The garden has received an offer of gardening equipment from a generous donor who is moving her household and is giving us her gardening tools, etc.

We need a volunteer or two and a vehicle on MAY 6 to pick up the equipment at her storage facility.

Please email the garden at and let us know if you can help.

Grant Opportunity

Lupe Garcia at Neighorspace has forwarded information about a major grant program from Aetna. Grants of $25,000.00 and $50,000.00 are possible as well as smaller amounts.

We need gardeners and friends to help put this application together. The deadline is June 10, 2014.

Read more about it here:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Welcome to the New Howard Area Community Garden Blog

Garden Season Has Begun!!

Please let us know if you will not be returning

If you are a current gardener and are returning, please feel free to get started.

We have received an offer of gardening equipment and more information will be posted as we have it.

We need gardeners to get involved in the maintenance, repair, and fundraising for the Garden, among other things.

Please, please, get involved.

There will be a meeting called soon to collect his year's due and any that didn't get collected last year.

Please also submit postings and photographs to the Blog at