end-of-the-season fun: dahlias and garlic

The end of the fall has made for several fun lessons in the greenhouse around seasonal gardening activities. First, six enthusiastic gardeners learned a bit about dahlias- one of the most beautiful flowers we have in our garden. We had a whole big patch of them lining one of our fences  this summer that were planted by our beloved visitor and volunteer, Charles, in June. The Grow Green kids got to learn all about their growing cycle: how they grow from a bulb into a flower, and are then dug up, stored for the winter and started all over again the next year. Then they helped prep the dahlia bulbs for  their winter hibernation.

Markus, Marcus, and Makenna seperating the dahlia bulbs.

the dahlias back in their heyday. (we miss their cheer already)

The day after the Dahlia Day, we had a visit from Miss Johanna, a farming friend who we first met when she came in the spring to help us learn about making natural dyes from plants. This time, she brought us garlic seed from her farm and helped us plant it in our garden. We planted two raised beds worth- in comparison to the 10,000 plants they had on her farm! We are really looking forward to seeing how it grows, and hopefully cooking with it in the summer (garlic bread seems to be a favorite potential recipe so far).

Grow Green’s Christmas Wish List

Hello everyone! In the spirit of the holidays, us Grow Green-ers have been working on putting together a wish list of items we could use at the greenhouse and the garden, to help us better achieve our goals, work efficiently in our space, and serve our community. If you are so inspired (or perhaps have a treasure trove of gardening tools in your shed just waiting for a new home) here are some of the things that we really need. We would value any of these things either new or used but in good condition.

Grow Green Wish List

  • hand tools (trowels, hand rakes)
  • hard rakes
  • shovels
  • hoes
  • a good tool kit
  • hammers
  • nails
  • screws
  • wirecutters
  • potting soil
  • garden hoses / nozzles
  • sprinklers
  • drip tape
  • a laminator
  • Home Depot gift cards
  • a volunteer to help us make a really nice wooden sign for the garden

If you have something you would like to donate, please contact Lisa at barker.lisa@gmail.com.  Thank you!

Meet the Grow Green crew, part 1

We are fortunate at Grow Green to get to work with a wide variety of youth through the SWAN after-school program. This year, we have a good number of returning kids as well as a lot of new ones. We are hoping that over in the greenhouse, some of our experienced gardeners will help some of the newer ones learn the ropes and get excited about all the neat stuff that we do.

Timmie is one of Grow Green’s most dedicated youths- he’s helped in the greenhouse and at the market; he had a very important role in the play last year (the thief!) and is already looking forward to the next round; and he was also part of our brainstorming committee last week for the Seedfolk Store. Here we have a brief question and answer session with him…..

What are some activities you have done with Grow Green recently? Working at the market , planning for the store, getting  the stuff ready to go to the market.

What are a few things you really liked about working at the market? Selling things to people,  going  to the art and crafts spot , and buying things from other vendors

What are a few things you are looking forward to doing with Grow Green, and why? I am happy to work in the store,  I am excited to see what the store will look like.

Westside Farmer Market reflections

As winter rolls on in, we here at Grow Green are still collecting our thoughts on our very busy summer and fall. Starting this week, we’ll be regularly posting reflections by both our youth and our staff on some of the things we’ve been up to over the last few months, as well as the upcoming things we are working on now.
First off: Our youth volunteer extraordinaire, Kasim Wallace, has a great summary of his summer working the Grow Green booth at the Westside Farmers Market……read on.
Hi. My name is Kasim and I’d like to share some of my experiences from working at the Westside Farmers Market. The Westside Farmers Market is a local market that some of the SWAN (South West Area Neighborhood) youths get to help with over the summer through the Grow Green program. I help out at the Grow Green stand at the market where we sell plants and produce that we grow at our greenhouse on Dr. Samuel McCree Way.
Not only have I (and the other Grow Green youths) gotten to learn more about the plants and some of the produce we sell, but we’ve also learned about some of the other items the other venders sell. 
Being a part of the market has also been a very social experience. Having conversations with customers and talking with the other Grow Green helpers is always fun. This is my second year helping with this market and it feels like my interaction with people has improved.
We’ve had so many good times at the Westside Farmers Market, even when we’re vending in the rain it’s still my favorite thing to do every week. One of my favorite weeks was when Bobby, one of the co-directors from the Seedfolks play SWAN did in the Spring, came and played music for the market.
There will definitely be more to come. Stay tuned!

Welcome to the garden.

Hello! On this blog, you’ll find updates from Grow Green, which is part of the Southwest Area Neighborhood Association (SWAN)’s after-school program. We work in the garden and the greenhouse on all sorts of projects twice a week, and the gardeners themselves will be checking in here to keep you posted on what they have going on.

Our other Big Thing at the moment is the Seedfolks project: We’ve been working very hard over the last three and a half months to turn the book, Seedfolks, into a play. It will be performed on Thursday, May 31st, at 6:30 pm in the auditorium of Wilson Foundation Academy, at 200 Genesee Street.  We hope to see you there!