MRYA Resource Center
Youth and Community Garden Project
I Project Impetus
A garden project has been quietly forming in the consciousness of various Mtn. Ranch community members over the years. Many people have envisioned such a thing on the grounds of the Resource Center. Former board member Donna Vial even drew up a draft plan at one point in her involvement with MRYA. Then suddenly as of May 2014, the MYRA Community Garden Project formally got off the ground with the gift of a grant from the Calaveras Community Foundation. According to grant terms, we have 1 year to create a garden at the Center beginning in June.
II Project Scope and Purpose:
The original grant was written for the creation of a youth garden. After initial discussion with interested members it was decided that because of our food needs at the Center (Lunch with Us and the Food Distribution program), we would create something of a hybrid garden that would give children a space to learn free of constraints or pressures, and a production area for providing fresh veggies for as much of the Food programs as we can accommodate. We feel it’s necessary for youth to learn the basics of gardening free from pressure to produce, and to be able to reap and keep the rewards of their efforts.
We also wanted to take advantage of the wealth of gardening knowledge and skill present in our group to create a larger production operation that, in addition to teaching youth, would ideally provide some produce all year long for our 2 MRYA food programs Lunch With Us and the twice monthly Food Distribution program.
Children will have their own area to learn, create, make mistakes and develop their gardening skills with help and guidance from the adult team. In addition they will be learning from and working along side experienced gardening adults who will teach them not only basics on a bigger scale in the production area, but also give them a vision of a workable small scale garden that can be a continuously producing food source.
It is our hope that with knowledge, season extension, committed folk, and our ideal little micro-climate here in Mtn. Ranch, we will be able to turn out fresh produce all year long to help supply our Food Distribution program as well as the free community Lunch with Us program.
III Project Team / Experience Resources
Current project team members are:
Leanne Bryan, President of the MRYA and Resource Center.
Lucile Fenner, one of the original founding members of both the Mtn. Ranch Youth Alliance and the Mtn. Ranch Garden Club, long time board member and master gardener.
Kristine Louise (a.k.a. Kristine Lavender Love), board and staff member, gardener and herbalist with 20 years gardening experience in the Sierra including the creation of a successful all-season market garden; has helped start and worked in many private/small gardens in Calaveras County.
Jim Pesout, retired teacher and avid local gardener.
Diane Cahill, mother of one of the interested gardening youth, and avid herbalist and gardener.
Dean Hunt, our new Youth Aide, interested in gardening.
Sue Holper, Friend of the Youth and Center.
Arlene Weissman, on staff at Center, interested in learning gardening.
Other interested people include Steve Pogoler, local contractor with landscaping experience who constructed the first 2 boxes; Jayne Childress, long time local gardener, nursery woman, and herb grower who has provided many transplants to the Center; the Mtn. Ranch Gardening Club who provided monetary support for the first boxes; and others.
IV Investigative Phase
The group has made one formal visit to a community garden (Kevin and Autumn Hessler’s school garden in Valley Springs), and several members have made an informal visit to the WP Community garden. Both of these gardens are stunning, productive models of success. Pictures can be seen as follows:
Good Planning Phase a must:
Early on it was recognized that we would be well served by good planning for the greater vision in the beginning, but implementing the garden in phases. We are looking to get started in a small and simple way initially, while we involve interested kids and community members in the planning for the overall vision involving the whole grounds.
This point was brought home quite graphically by Kevin Hessler as he showed us his sophisticated watering system. Obviously he gave a great deal of thought to the laying of water lines, the layout of beds, and the manner in which he was planning to irrigate so that he has maximum flexibility and control with this watering system. This was just one aspect of good planning made visible. We would like to emulate that as we proceed.
Garden Planting Plan for
Late Summer, Fall 2014
This tentative and ambitious plan will ultimately be based on how fast the boxes and area can be ready. An ideal time table is as follows. It will require things to be started as transplants, which is good as it buys time for boxes to get created.
Beds 1. & 2.: Youth Garden Beds, to be planted with Jayne’s transplants and whatever else they want to do.
Bed 3: Potatoes, to be planted ASAP before mid August. Seed potatoes must be gotten, should be sprouted.
Bed 4: To be either planted with starts or directed seeded ASAP with Summer Squashes (start them now!)
Bed 5: To be direct seeded with peas between mid and end of August. There will be room to seed a row of something else in front of them. Good choice would be an oddball mix of kohlrabi, turnips, different radishes.
Bed 6: Direct seed with Carrots, Beets, Scallions by mid Sept. for fall use and overwintering
Bed 7: To be direct seeded ASAP with lettuces and salad mix. This bed gets some shade.
Bed 8: Broccoli to be started in trays ASAP for winter garden, planted early Sept.
Bed 9: Cabbage to be started in trays ASAP for winter garden, planted early Sept.
Bed 10: Cauliflower to be started in trays ASAP for winter garden, planted early Sept.
Bed 11: Onions to be started in flats after the last full moon in August, planted in Nov.
Bed 12: Garlic to be planted in Nov. from bulbs gotten at Senders
Here is a 3-d schematic generated by Steve Pogoler. Please note that the surrounding grounds are not quite to scale. That drawing is coming.
Note also that the arches that are part of the design are not reflected.
Kristine’s Fall and Winter Planting and Seeding Guide for Calaveras County
We have had SOME FUN as the project has developed, pics and videos below:
5 part Video of direct seeding the first Youth Beds:
Useful Garden Tools for Container Gardening:
Wheel Barrow and Garden Cart, very useful for hauling to and fro, esp. when making compost. Cart must fit in pathway width. Note: Kristine has a wheelbarrow to donate, needs a new wheel.
Good for container bed space, long handled rakes and hoes not needed.
3 Pronged Cultivator or “Claw”, Hand held Hoe, and Hand Trowel
Loppers for Trees (yes we will need one), Hand pruners, Garden scissors
Kristine’s FAVORITE TOOLS:
Felco Pruner (have one for 18 years) and small digging fork (Bulldog brand)
Other Necessary Tools:
Rakes and Shovels for compost making, ground work
(shovels not shown)
Other very useful items:
Sturdy wire hoops (Kristine has)
Big ball o’Twine
Floating Row Cover
Trays, pots, containers (Kristine has)