Accuweather's forecast for May
Video of the opening moments of this year's plant sale.
All Gardeners Meeting
Saturday, May 20th - 10:00 am
- Election of new officers.
- Rate Increase discussion and member ratification vote.
- 1 new Site Rule and 1 Site Rule Amendment for member ratification vote.
Nominees for new officers:
- Nick Sweeney - bio
- Marilyn Landberg - bio
- Carol Limaye - bio (seeking a 2nd term)
If you are unable to attend the meeting you will be receive an email for absentee voting. If your email address has changed please fill out this form.
I am running for president because I want to promote a positive outlook for our community garden. Our garden is truly a unique place and I believe it can benefit from new perspectives. My vision for the garden is a place where gardeners consider other gardeners to be friends, and the garden itself as a place for friends and family to gather. I will create an increase in communication between the administration and gardeners, an increase in social events that promote a stronger sense of community, and more collaboration with other non-profits in the area. I would like to create an environment that promotes the sharing of ideas by respecting the opinions of everyone and by seeking solutions and opportunities instead of problems and setbacks. After all, we are a community first, we just happen to be connected by a passion for gardening. This community needs a strong leader who will work hard to create an environment that is open to change and progress.
I have spent the last three years serving as an assistant manager at Central Market. At this position, I am responsible for overseeing over sixty employees. In this position, I commonly resolve conflicts with customers and employees, interview new candidates, train new employees, maintain relationships with vendors, and most recently, ensure compliance with new legislation regarding nutritional labeling. I have a seat on the recycling team and the safety team and pride myself with my ability to bring multiple departments together to achieve goals. I have received the Bob Brandt Customer Service Award and the Spirit of HEB awards while in this position. Previously, I have helped expand the City of Loveland's recycling program, receiving two employee recognition awards along the way. I have managed a local bookstore in Loveland called CityNews, and have also led restoration projects with Wildland Restoration Volunteers. Additionally, I have helped established a GATE program at Skyview Elementary School, and will be leaving my position at Central Market to begin teaching middle school science in AISD starting in August.
My gardening experience began by digging potatoes in the hot summer sun of Louisiana when I was no more than 6. I spent every summer of my childhood with my grandparents and that is where I learned about the satisfaction and pride of growing your own food. While in Colorado, my wife and I enjoyed gardening in the much too short growing season each year. We were fortunate enough to have a large house and dedicated as much space as we could to our garden, while also providing a large grazing space for our adorable flock of chickens. When we moved to Austin so that Shannon could pursue a PhD in molecular biology we knew that we would be living in an apartment and were pleased to find that Sunshine Community Gardens was within walking distance to our new home. That was over three years ago, and since then we have enjoyed gardening at Sunshine and meeting all the wonderful people who make this garden a community and a welcome respite from the urban lifestyle.
I started gardening as a teenager in the unbelievably dense clay soil of my Corpus Christi backyard. As an adult in Austin, I was a balcony gardener for years until I joined Sunshine Community Gardens in 2004. I am a botanist by training and degrees and earned a PhD in Botany at UT. I have been at Sunshine for 13 years. I became plot coordinator in 2009. I served as a director on the Board from 2010-2014. I wish to continue serving the garden as president. During my time at Sunshine, I have met many wonderful people. I love our community and plan on continuing to serve it, regardless of the outcome of this election.
I have 20 years of experience teaching at UT during which I have managed several teaching assistants (TAs) per year. My managerial style is to make the process a collaboration in which everyone's opinions and views are valued. I aim for consensus among myself and my TAs, but realize that the ultimate responsibility for any decision made is mine.
I'm running for the office of president because I want to use my leadership skills and experience in our garden's management where they would provide the most benefit to Sunshine. I want to fulfill our function as a nonprofit while also ensuring that we remain an affordable place for people to garden and grow their own food. I want to increase participation in our garden community, especially among our newer members. I also want to make sure that the garden remains a happy space for all of us to escape our everyday stresses. Finally, I want to make sure that everyone's views are given fair consideration.
I am shared plot gardener with Marie Taylor in Zone 6. I have been a member of SCG since 2012 when I retired. I moved from the Chicago area to Austin in 1974. Both my mom and grandmother were life-long gardeners whose Chicago suburban backyards were planted with vegetables and flowers for 60+ years each. Therefore, my entire childhood was spent helping out in the garden and eating the best of healthy foods. My mother passed away last fall; her last healthy day was spent at the Garden watching me weed and harvest, and expressing amazement at my enormous eggplant. I now have the time to devote to helping out in any way that I can as vice-president, and my mom would be glad that I am using my time in such a productive way. I will be taking a 2-day class next week at the Sustainable Food Center called "Community Garden Leadership Training". Additionally, I am looking forward to working with all the experienced, intelligent Garden members and the previous/current board members and officers to learn everything I can to become an asset and a part of SCG's ongoing and future successes.
I became involved in the financial management of Sunshine Community Gardens in 2008, when I was assistant to a former Treasurer, Jesse South. Our sponsoring organization was ending its administrative support to nonprofits, and SCG had to do two things: 1) Set up its own bank accounts and accounting system and 2) obtain tax exempt status. Jesse set up the bank accounts and I set up the accounting system in QuickBooks. We then filed the necessary papers with the Texas Secretary of State and the IRS to get recognition as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Because of the outstanding efforts of many gardeners, past and present, SCG is financially strong as a stand-alone tax-exempt corporation. My priority as treasurer is to maintain this status. Our financial strength allows us to give generously to TSBVI and to help other community gardens tap into local and national resources.
I am a CPA and retired State employee currently working at Veterans Affairs. In order to provide transparency, I have prepared regular financial reports for the Board and have had them posted on the web. The bylaws require the Treasurer to prepare an annual budget for approval by the Board, and I have done that each year with the budget-to-actual results also posted on the web. Any input from the gardeners is welcome. I really love the fact that Sunshine Community Gardens exists, as all of you do. The important thing is to keep it going.
Board Adopts Guidelines Implementing Active Gardening Pilot
At the September All Gardeners meeting, Sunshine members directed the board "to pilot test requiring members to actively garden their plot(s) and a process for enforcing this requirement." The board has finalized the guidelines for implementing the pilot and will begin the pilot. The guidelines set out the process for identifying plots not being actively gardened and for how the board will enforce the active gardening requirement. Considerations in identifying inactively gardened plots will include:
- Plot(s) not being consistently planted, maintained, or timely harvested; and
- Consistently producing no more produce from plot(s) than would be expected from a smaller plot or fewer plots.
Once a plot is identified as not being actively gardened, the member will be required to sign an agreement detailing how the plot will be actively gardened. Failure to comply with the agreement will result in a sanction which could range from a warning to reduction in the size or number of plots assigned or termination of membership. Full guidelines.
Everybody has heard of the "Old Farmer's Almanac", but have you ever visited their website? Tons of good information.
Another good resource is TAMU horticulture.
If you have an interesting website to share, please send the link to email@example.com.
Tomato Tasting Results
Compare the taste and texture of tomatoes over the past years
Gardeners' Picture Page
If you have pictures you want to share on the Sunshine web site Sharon has created a new feature that will allow you to do this.
Navigate to the upload page to upload your pictures.
Go to the Gardener's picture page to see the pictures. Click to see a larger view of each picture.
Problems/Comments? Contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
The Garden That Gives Together By Zoe Erler, The Philanthropic Enterprise
Watch video of the March-in on March 5, 2016.
Courtesy Berkley Bettis
Updated Texas A & M AgriLife Vegetable Planting Schedule
Last year a new vegetable planting guide was published. Of note, tomatoes transplants can be planted the last week of February. Gardeners, watch the forecasts and plant at your own risk.
What Vegetables Grow Well Together
Many times I'm talking to fellow gardeners and am asked "Do you do companion gardening?" Well, yes and no. I subscribe to the theory that "If it tastes good cooked or served together, then it should be able to be grown together". My gardening neighbor tried to grow pole beans with onions on the outside of the beans and swore he'd never do that again because he did not get any beans. I do plant an overabundance of onions around my tomatoes and peppers, but only because there is empty space on the outside. By the time the onions are ready to be taken up (early-mid May), the tommies are just starting to go strong, so no energy is wasted growning the two together. Besides, alliums are supposed to be good bug repellants.
As I was searching for a particular webpage, I came across this article which explains in more detail the ins and outs of companion planting.
(If you come across an article you would like to share, please send the link and maybe an explanation or anecdote to email@example.com. Thanks.)
Pictures of Fall Transplanting
Video from the Plant Sale 2015 -- courtesy Berkley Bettis
Tomato Garden News
Many tomato varieties have been recommended for Central Texas gardeners. The tomato garden located by the entrance was established to evaluate various tomato varieties. Spring 2014 was the fourth year we have field tested tomato plants in the tomato garden. Each spring since 2011, eight tomato varieties have been grown or evaluated in the tomato garden. The tests are designed to determine the yield or production of each variety. Generally, tomatoes are allowed to remain on the vine until color is showing. Tomatoes from the test garden are donated to Micah 6 or Eastside Community Connection. Since 2011 over 4,500 tomatoes from the test garden have been donated.
During the first year of the test garden (2011), over 700 tomatoes were harvested from 24 plants of eight varieties. The Carmelita tomato plants yielded an average of 54 tomatoes per plant followed by La Rosa II with an average of 50 tomatoes per plant. Carmelita is a medium sized globe tomato. La Rosa II or LaRossa is a pear-shaped, paste tomato. A popular heirloom tested in 2011, Cherokee Purple, yielded an average of 14 tomatoes per plant.
In the spring of 2012, the 24 plants yielded over 1,300 tomatoes. The Viva Italia plants were extremely heavy producers averaging about 150 tomatoes per plant. Viva Italia is a pear-shaped, hybrid tomato. Arkansas Traveler yielded an average of 63 tomatoes per plant. Arkansas Traveler was developed in the 1970s and takes its name from an old heirloom that went extinct in the early 1900s. The plants yield a deep pink tomatoes weighing from 5-7 ounces.
The early high temperatures in the spring of 2013 negatively impacted the yield for the plants grown that year. Only a total of 376 tomatoes were harvested from the 24 plants. The three Bedouin plants yielded at total of 102 tomatoes, or 34 per plant, followed by Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye with 83 tomatoes, or 28 tomatoes per plant. Bedouin is a pear-shaped, dark red tomato originating in Eastern Europe. Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye is a port-colored beefsteak tomato developed at Wild Boar Farms in California.
For spring 2014, we planted five plants each of eight varieties. Plants were planted on March 22nd. Below are the varieties grown and the average number of tomatoes harvested per plants.
- Andes - average of 15 per plant
- BHN602 - average of 54 per plant
- Black Krim - average of 30 per plant
- Black from Tula - average of 32 per plant
- Cream Sausage - average of 78 per plant
- Early Girl - average of 107 per plant
- Flamme - average of 98 per plant
- Indigo Apple - average of 52 per plant
Overall, a total of 2,304 tomatoes were harvested. Black Krim and Black for Tula are heirlooms. Both yielded 30-32 tomatoes per plants. Black Krim and Black from Tula are both dark maroon beefsteak tomatoes from Russia. Flamme, or Jaune Flamme, is a French heirloom. Flamme is a small orange globe tomato. On average the Flamme plants yielded about 100 tomatoes each.
Early Girl is a medium size globe tomato, hybrid, reportedly producing earlier than other varieties. The Early Girl plants in the test garden didn't really produce "early" compared with other varieties. About 6% of the Early Girl tomatoes were harvested before June 1st compared with 22% of the Flamme tomatoes and 12% of the Black Krim tomatoes.
The Cream Sausage plants produced a large number of tomatoes during a short period of time. From June 7th through June 17th 225 tomatoes were harvested, or 57% of the total Cream Sausage tomatoes harvested. Cream Sausage is an elongated paste tomato that is cream in color. Cream Sausage tomato plants are short in height, about two feet tall.
Welcome to Sunshine Community Gardens' website
Please feel free to contribute recipes, hints, pictures, links, comments or anything else you feel that will help this website become a gardener's reference and home.
Send email to Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunshine's Compost/Recycling Operations
Do you want to recycle leaves, grass clippings, or vegetable kitchen waste? You are welcome to bring this material to Sunshine Gardens and deposit it in the appropriate clearly marked pile.
Please empty your collection containers (another opportunity, to recycle) for reuse.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept twigs, branches, or logs as we have no way to deal with them as nature cannot break them down quickly enough given our limited space.
Also, we can't accept florist waste. We try to subscribe to organic practices and avoid herbicides and fungicides and preservatives. We don't know what the flowers are treated with but if and only if, it contains none of the above then you are welcome to dump it in our compost pile.