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

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