Direct Marketing in Action

Today Proff JJ & I harvested Basil, Pineapple Sage, Purple Basil, Chives, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Baby Mustard Green, and Lemon Balm to deliver to Vaccaro’s Italian restaurant and catering service. I dropped off the produce to a chef around back of the kitchen and took his picture with a crate full of Italian Large Leaf Basil! http://www.vactrat.com

 

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Water Barrel Construction

Today Proff JJ, Pat and I were fully commited to getting the rain barrel water collection system underway. Mid-June I suggested Pat and I go to a rain barrel demonstration presentation put on by the Summit County master gardener program with expert Jeff Taiclet. We went and sat in for the rain barrel presentation and a presentation on rain gardens, all intended to conserve water and reduce the effects of run-off. We collected a parts list and some other local water conservation publications to use in our own construction.

Today Proff JJ and I went to home depot to buy the parts while Pat prepped our 55 gallon food grade barrel donated to us by John Najeway at Thirsty Dog Brewery. Later on, Pat and I picked up an atrium drain grate at Lowes to substitute a grated lilly basket (which was on the parts list) as a filter. I have come to learn that compromising with hardware is not a crime. Whatever gets the job done!

The 3 pictures of the blue rain barrel are an example of how ours will likely end up. Except, our barrel is going to be a double barrel collection system. I snapped a few shots of the barrel while passing by on bike through a nearby neighborhood (creepy, I know, but i was inspired!).

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Standing Water

On Sunday during our open house, I had the opportunity to speak to a parishioner who had a considerable amount of knowledge regarding the topography of Summit County. The area that borders Copley into Akron where the garden is located is low lying and up to the 182o belonged mostly to swamp. Into the mid 1800s the land was reclaimed and public work projects to put in roads and other development through the swampy areas took place. Therefore, the land in which the garden is on is wet in general and does not take too much water to saturate the land, especially this one area adjacent to the driveway on account of the driveway’s run off. Early in the planting of the later half of the garden (tilled section) we received a boat load or rain that flooded this section on 2 or 3 occasions. These evens wiped out our weaker plantings, pumpkins & watermelon.

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Case of the Mondays

The open house went really well yesterday! Parishioners of all ages enjoyed lemonade and socialization in the garden. We had around 30 people roaming the garden after the 11 am mass. Pat and I were able to meet several members of the community. Everyone was very excited about what we have been doing and several are eager to get involved. As we approached the 1pm hour numbers dwindled, however, waves of senior parishioner couples would pass through. Everyone seemed to have a story or advice which we welcomed.

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Garden Tour & Open House

Here’s the newsletter I made for the open house today!

Newsletter p1

Newsletter p2

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Prep Work

This weekend I drove to Columbus to visit my friend who is moving to the East Coast before he left. While I was gone Pat and Proff JJ built three benches. The benches have no fastening hardware at all! Amazing!

Prior to leaving for columbus, I put together an advertisement for an open house, self guided tour on July 10. The open house will be a great opportunity to familiarize the community with the garden and collect information about volunteers!

http://content.seekandfind.com/bulletins/14/0689/20110710B.pdf

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We made the paper!

http://www.akron.com/pages.asp?aID=12959

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Growing Concerns

Since one of the themes of Sebastian’s Gardens is the use of organic practices, we have been using entirely no fertilizers or pesticides. A few issues have arisen on the leaves of the pole beans and squash (even though they’re growing very well!). Cucumber beetles have been on top of the leaves and in squash flowers, but I have not actually seen the eggs which are supposed to be on the underside of leaves on those plants. Mushrooms sprout on the hay bales after rainy days, quite unsightly…

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Back in Action!

Blogging took a hit while my camera was gone. But the camera is back now! Here are some shots of the garden from today…

Yesterday, Pat and I met up with James Levin from C4E to fill him in with our progress. We pulled together a short powerpoint presentation that sought to explain the objectives of our educational and experiential internship and the progress we have made thus far. The objectives really boiled down to three points:

  • To provide students and teachers at the elementary school with an outdoor classroom in which the principles of gardening/farming, environmental science, and entrepreneurship can be cultivated
  • To develop community connections to the garden
  • To develop opportunities to sustain the garden, i.e. to help develop a revenue stream based on produce from the garden

I really to believe that we have made strides in satisfying the first two objectives. Our third and final objective to develop ways to sustain the garden is our third and final hurdle. Moving into the last three weeks of the internship Pat and I are looking to work on the marketing aspect of creating Sebastian’s Garden (…by the way, while blogging was on hiatus the students at the school voted the official name of the garden to be “Sebastian’s Garden.” Creative, right?). We have been set up with a few local restauranteurs that are interested in our produce as a way to contribute to the local organic movement which we too support. Hopefully as we start getting produce to harvest, these opportunities will still exist and be worthwhile. In addition to the direct marketing of our produce to the restaurant outlets, we will be setting up a stand on Sundays after mass for the church parishioners. Another 20% of our produce will go to the Good Samaritan hunger center.

Sooo…A lot has changed in the garden over the last few weeks. We just recently put up sign posts to trellis the tomato plants with nylon string, as well as trellises for the pole beans and cucumbers. Father Valonczech recently dropped off some statues to safeguard the plants and our hard work. Today Pat worked hard at adding soil to the pumpkin patch while I pruned the tomatoes and of course daily watering and weeding is a must.

The weather has been great this past week. It really does feel like July! The plants have enjoyed the sun. I’ve counted around 15 fruits on the tomato plants in the last day and a half. Hopefully things will take off over the weekend after we get a bit of rain.

Speaking of the weekend….I’m going home for the first time since March. My brother turns 21 on the first and my family is looking to celebrate in full force. Can’t wait to see all my family and friends from home.

 

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