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Growing People Newsletter - Fall 2006

Growing People Newsletter - Fall 2006

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Volume 12
Fall 2006
Growing People News—
rowing People News 
Gardeners in Community Development
Project Report:
Gardening Education
The heart of Gardeners in Community Development’s program is gardening education. Our gardens are classrooms for adults and children.While indoor workshops are held when needed,most of our training occurs “hands-on” out in realgardens where learning comes through gardeningactivities, observing nature, and having moreexperienced gardeners share what they know. Thisin-garden training brings skills that go well beyondclassroom learning. Being able to efficiently shapea garden bed, spread mulch, transplant seedlings, or harvest mustard greens, involves motor skills andhand-eye coordination, and learning to use tools andyour body that comes only from physically doingthese things yourself.Experienced gardeners may read books, but alsoread nature. It is about reading the weather,moisture and smell of earth and compost, feel of theair, the weeds that readily sprout after a rain, andother things more elusive that whisper loudly andinsistently that now is the time to plant radishes,greens, and lettuce. It is about developing an“inner-garden-self” that thrives on learning whilegardening and from shared knowledge passed on byothers.This issue of 
Growing People News
highlights some of those learning experiences, especially thediversity of learning activities available during recent visits by groups of children.Here are some other recent training/working garden education events:
Project Report:Gardening Education
Garden Notes
Down on the (Garden)Farm: Our Livestock 
GICD SupportersFall 2005 — Fall 20064Thanks to Our VolunteerTeams!5Home-Schooling in theCommunity Garden
Tiah's Garden Recipe
Inside this issue:Upcoming Events:
Plant Sale
Saturday April 14& Sunday April 15East DallasCommunityGarden
1416 N. FitzhughDallas
Online at
A Scout Troop learned important responsibility and horticultural lessons while weekly watering fruitand nut trees this summer.
Many individuals and groups learned how to harvest, prepare vegetables for consumers, and about problems of food insecurity as they helped with weekly harvests donated to food pantries.
Garden volunteers trained as tour docents, and passed on their own experiences as they guided groupsof children from schools and summer kids’ programs.
Many attended our organized workshops on water bath canning and seed saving, where real canningand real seed saving occurred.
Volunteers on workdays learned valuable lessons about weeding, mulching, compost making, planting,cover-crops and harvesting.
Our community gardens were on the National Garden Conservancy Tour and the Dallas Water Dept.Xeriscape Tour, giving us an opportunity to teach others about community gardening.
If you or your group would like to join GICD’s “growing people” garden training opportunities byvolunteering in a garden or attending an organized workday or workshop, please call or check our website for more information. See you in the garden!Becky Smith, Education Asst: 214-564-5801— jim.becky@sbcglobal.net—www.gardendallas.org
Don Lambert,
Executive Director 
Rebecca Smith,
Education Assistant 
 Ethel Sirls CampbellGerald CarltonNavy CheanLee Cobler Jennifer ConradBob CurryMyrna Gorchoff Cathi HaugJoanna HamptonJim HobbsMichael JohnsonCharles KempEllen KhurshudianLevy LaguardiaTiah LambertKate MacaulayBunyay NhonhA.L. NickersonBrandon PollardSusan PollardLance RasbridgeDarlene SmithJim & Jackie SwaffordPaul ThaiAnn WhitusMartha DoleshalDon Lambert
H. Edward Sholty,
Rebecca Smith,
Vice President 
Carolyn Bush,
 Rick Guerrero,
Gardeners inCommunity Development
901 Greenbriar LaneRichardson, TX 75080972-231-3565214-675-8473 cellgrower@flash.net
For information about newsletter contents, or permission to reprint, contact our acting editor,Don Lambert, at 972-231-3565.
New Refugee Community Gardeners
Don Lambert
In keeping with the spirit in which community gardens in Old EastDallas were established a couple of decades ago to assist refugees fromthe Southeast Asian wars, GICD is currently making an effort here to findnew refugee families that can benefit from having garden plots whenever vacancies occur. Pertaining to the East Dallas and Live Oak communitygardens only, we are calling this the New Refugee Community GardenInitiative. Since January eight families have joined, including a Bantufamily from Somalia, a man from Yemen, and six families from Burma.We are delighted to have community gardens as a resource that helpsnewcomers find peace, a sense of place, and a safe place to engage inmeaningful activity as they adjust to a new home. Most of these folkscome from strong farming traditions. They are happy to have a plot togrow food crops that they miss from their homelands. Many garden withtheir children and it is nice to see these new faces and to hear their laughter and expressions of joy in our midst.
Mission Madness in the Garden
Miatta Wilson, Educator 
The youth and children of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Dallasregularly volunteer for service projects throughout Dallas. In the last year  both groups have visited the Our Savior Community Garden on Jim Miller which is just several miles from our church. What a joy!Each summer our elementary children have a program called MissionMadness Mondays where they volunteer for different organizations. Theylearn about the organization and share their time and talents. A group of twelve spent the morning at the garden picking tomatoes, beans, peppers,and much more. We then delivered the veggies to the Southeast DallasEmergency Food Center, weighed them in, and left them for pick up bythose in need. The children enjoyed picking and helping but also learningabout the worm farm, bee hives, and Heifer International for which theyhave raised money at past Vacation Church Schools. What a joy to see achild smile as they touch and feed baby worms, or pick fresh beans for thefirst time or ask “what is that?” when looking at a squash. Their curiosityabout God’s creation and how things grow is refreshing.Last winter our youth group was pleased to come and spend amorning moving mulch and placing it around all the newly planted fruittrees. This was, yes, an opportunity for service hours and a part of our annual 24 hours of service event, but it was also a time share gifts andtime while learning about the community garden program.In this day and age so many young people, especially city kids, donot know where their food comes from and how it grows. Thecommunity garden is a special place to be outside, explore in nature, and be reminded of God’s world. We at Eastminster are thankful the garden isa part of our greater community and look forward to working together inthe future.
Gift Enriches Garden Soil
Rebecca Smith
John and Peggy Ralston’s gentle, intelligent pets, Hondo, FancyShoes, Osceola and Sand Dancer, are members of the South Americancamelid family with llamas, camels, guanacos and vicunas. The adults areonly about 36” tall and weigh about 150 lb. Alpacas are prized for their luxurious fiber which comes in 22 natural colors.Our gardeners are thankful to the Ralstons for sharing their pets’other natural resource, dung! Alpaca droppings are almost odorless, lowin nitrogen and a rich fertilizer, perfect for growing vegetables, flowersand fruit. In GICD gardens alpacas are prized for their dung! If interested in helping clean the paddocks and meeting the Ralstonsand their Alpacas, please let us know.
Down On The (Garden) Farm:Our Livestock
 by Carolyn BushMost of you know that Heifer International is an organizationdedicated to ending world hunger andsaving the earth by providing poor families around the globe withlivestock, such as cows and water  buffalos. When GICD received a grantfrom Heifer as an Urban AgricultureProject, we agreed to use some of themoney to purchase “livestock.” Of course, as community gardeners the best livestock in any garden are beesand earthworms.Our BeesWe bought materials to make severalhives for the bees, and volunteersquickly painted and assembled some of them so as to be ready. The first twocolonies were purchased in 2005 froma local beekeeper and very carefullytransported in back of a station wagon.One hive was set up at Our Saviour Community Garden and one hive atDon Lambert’s home.During that first year there were some problems to overcome. One hive wasnot very good at defense, and intruder  bees from another colony took advantage of their weakness. Theseintruders robbed and carried off all thehoney and stored pollen, and the colonysuffered from starvation. We added areplacement colony this spring by mailorder from Weaver Apiaries of  Navasota, Texas.While our two hives each have their own unique personalities, both have proven to be very welcome gardenguests. The honey bee’s mostimportant work is pollination, and thishas brought about a definite increase inthe size and numbers of squash,tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, andcucumbers harvested. The bees atDon’s house are a bit more docile andfriendly and seem to almost welcomeDon and Tiah working with them.While some gardeners have beenconcerned that there is a risk of stingswhile working in a garden with somany bees around, the bees are justintent on their work of gathering nectar and pollen, and pollinating flowers. Infact, Don and Tiah have put a basin fullof water right outside their back door from which the bees drink. Sometimesthey say, in the heat of the summer, theentire rim of the saucer will have beeslined up around it.Honey bees are social insects that willdefend themselves if intrudersapproach close to their hive, and willdefinitely sting if touched. Sometimes people are stung when theyaccidentally trap a bee inside a flower,or instance. If you love flowers, andfruits and vegetables, you must have anacceptance for bees as well. Flowersand honey bees, including some other kinds of wild bees, are necessary partners. People who want to avoid bees need to stay away from any areawhere flowering plants are growing.To make sure that our human gardenvisitors know about the bees we postwarning signs near the hive area.Even with last year’s problems, between the two hives, over 22 poundsof delicious honey were produced.This year we are still caught in a multi-year drought. We need early fall rainsto stimulate flowers with sufficientnectar so that bees can store food for the winter and hopefully make enoughhoney to share. While we expect theselittle worker bees to be well worth their keep, that may take some time.And WormsThe other livestock raised by GICDfarmers are worms. And like championcows, these are not just ordinary gardenworms but redworms or compostingworms (
 Eisenia foetida
), the type of worm that is bred especially for makingcompost out of organic material.Our Saviour Garden has a large worm bin, we call it our “worm farm,” towhich Rebecca Smith addsapproximately 15 pounds of vegetablescraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc. per week. In return, the bin becomesfilled with the worms’ nutrient richcastings (worm poop), a wonderfulfertilizer and soil conditioner.GICD gardeners grow superior healthyseedlings using a soil mix with wormcastings. The resulting herbs,tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, aresold at GICD’s annual plant sale, andtransplanted into the plots of our fivecommunity gardens. The castings arealso used as a “tonic” for any sick or under productive plants in the garden.Maybe it’s the “yucky factor” or that itis fun to get one’s hands in the dirt, butinvestigating the worm bin has provedto be one of the most popular activitiesfor children when they tour the garden.The kids, and even adults,enthusiastically dig up worms, look for their eggs (cocoons) and actually seehow the worms can “eat the garbage.”This year Rebecca Smith, our Educational Assistant, is invitingteachers and school groups to come tothe garden to learn about wormcomposting. She will be teaching themhow to set up worm bins in their classrooms. Others may want to learnabout keeping worms in their homes or offices. If you know of any schools or groups who might want to visit our worms, and learn about vermiculturecomposting, please contact Don or Rebecca. You can help GICD “pass onthe gift” of Heifer’s livestock.
Recent Donations
We have been quite blessed in recentmonths to have received somewonderful and much needed gifts.These have included donations of seeds from
Linda Nickerson
and from
Heifer International
John Ralston
 donated his dad’s used, but in excellentcondition, Troybilt garden tiller. Agroup of volunteers, the
group,in addition to helping with gardenchores, donated wheelbarrows, forksand rakes. The
Smith family
gave ametal greenhouse frame. And, wereceived a free land boundary surveyfrom
R-Delta Engineering
In the past four yearsGICD communitygardeners havedonated over 17,000pounds of freshvegetables to localfood pantries.

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