Friday night HdV hosted its monthly meeting at the Dorothy Quesada Community center. With Maria and Ru attending a Growing Power conference in New Mexico this left Marcy and Arthur to run the show. We were thrilled to see new faces at the meeting and of course just as happy to see returning faces too. This months meeting was all about being an effective leader and taking on leadership roles in the community. Garden members engaged in discussions about ‘who is an effective leader?’ ‘What qualities do effective leaders possess?’ and of course how effective leadership can transform the garden and ultimately our community. There was great food, lots of networking/ relationship building, and activities that presented gardeners with real garden problems and ways we could implement solutions. Thank you to everybody who made it out Friday evening and special thanks to Arthur for making us delicious pumpkin soup (with pumpkins from the garden!!) Also be sure to mark your calendar for next month’s meeting- FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15th. Hope to see you there!
Since opening up in August, Phase 2 continues to grow at a steady rate. All 12 of the family plots are active and scattered with green seedlings, crawling vines, and fruitful bushes throughout. The hardest part about opening up a new phase is ensuring that all gardeners will clean up and prepare their plots with fertile soil in a timely manner- Well done Phase 2!! It is exciting to walk around the Phase 2 plots and see what they have growing since the families didn’t start planting until well into the summer season. There are many late blooming tomatoes and peppers, even a watermelon!! We hope that such a great success story will be repeated in Phase 3.
Opening just a couple of weeks ago we see the gardeners of Phase 3 are working hard to clean and prepare their plots. Woo Hoo! There are still a few family plots available in this Phase incase you or somebody you know wants to join the growing action. Everybody at HdV is excited for the expansion of the garden- serving now over 30 families!!! and can’t wait to see what the Fall growing season will offer.
We have officially completed three heaps of compost! This is great news for HdV because having enough compost to fertilize all of our crops is always in the back of our minds. The issue with compost is that it takes time… about 6 months to reach its true gardening potential. So we always have to be one step ahead. Our goal at HdV is to eventually have 6 completed heaps that we can rotate throughout the year. When we have this project going strong we will be able to produce around 20- 30 yards of compost per month! (Great news for hungry plants). We are still receiving donations of fruit and vegetable waste from local merchants but what makes the compost project so special at HdV is that it truly is a community effort! Everybody helps out whenever they can. Little kids as well as adults love to get into the heaps and break apart produce, layer woodchips, turn over layers, etc.
Last month Huerta del Valle received a special surprise! Joanna Cohen, a PhD student from Switzerland came to interview members of HdV for a paper she is working on. Joanna is looking into how Latino communities are empowering themselves by using food as a tool. While here Joanna got to interview our garden managers, Maria Alonso and Arthur Levine, the Pitzer in Ontario program director, Susan Phillips, and various community members and their families. No word yet on when the article will come out but Joanna has already confirmed that she will send us a copy (and of course, we’ll put it on our blog for all to see). How exciting!!
Now that autumn is upon us there are many changes happening at the garden particularly with our crops and work days. After a bittersweet goodbye to our summer favorites (we’re talking about you, cucumbers, watermelons, and tomatoes) we’re now saying hello to cool weather superstars- lettuce, cabbages, pumpkins, and winter squashes.
As the days start to get shorter we would like to let all of you know that our work hours are changing. In order to take advantage of as much sunlight as we possibly can we have moved our work hours to 4-7pm Tuesday- Sunday. And in a final change update- please note that our monthly community meetings are now scheduled for the third FRIDAYof each month from 5-8pm. This month the meeting will be Friday, October 18th. Thank You to all of you who continue to support Huerta del Valle. Here’s to another successful growing season!!