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The Seedling - August 2020

As our record breaking hot and dry summer marches on, instead of mourning the dried up tomatoes, we gardeners start planning for fall!  It’s hard to believe, but fall is just around the corner and this is a great time to make plans, gather seeds, prep beds and start some long season winter crops (like brassicas: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) in pots protected in a sunny window or greenhouse.  
At CGT we’re planning for fall too: socially distanced work parties to get the gardens ready to plant, online options for Kids in the Garden and recruiting so that gardens can be full, active and productive this coming season.  

Do you have a friend or neighbor who seems interested in gardening? Invite them to join!  Forward them this newsletter or have them contact admin@communitygardensoftucson.org.  We would love to help them get started.  

In this issue:

  • Board Corner- Sarah Mann
  • Kids in the Garden Update- Jessica Paul
  • Thank you for the Seeds!
  • Garden Friends: Couch’s Spadefoot – Peggie Allen
  • Do you work for the City or the County? Help Support CGT Through The United Way Payroll Deduction Program!
  • What to Plant in August
  • Get your Gloves Ready!
  • Monsoon Madness Campaign
  • Online Garden Education Opportunities
A great harvest at Ventana Vista Garden!
 
CGT Board Corner
Sarah Mann

We will likely always look back on this past spring and summer and think ‘what if,’ but we have been fortunate to able to spend time in our gardens, listening to birds, watching butterflies, and tending our plants. Gardening has presented a welcome opportunity for many of us to feel grounded, sane and normal in an otherwise out of sync time. These past strange months have also presented an unexpected opportunity for the CGT Board. Staying at home, with time to focus on much-needed projects (as well as time to spend in our gardens), the Board has been able to accomplish far more than I could possibly have envisioned at the start of the year:

  • adopting new Vision, Mission and Value Statements to guide our decisions, priorities and activities going forward,

  • designing a new website which has the functionality that we’ve needed for a long time,

  • rejuvenating our presence on social media with Infographics and video postcards from our gardens,

  • focusing on actions needed to ensure that ‘everyone is welcome’ in our gardens,

  • starting frequent discussions with our Site Coordinators to further our understanding of their needs and the needs of their gardeners, and identify ways the Board can provide more support,

  • updating our new gardener application process and CGT membership packet to simplify and enhance our recruitment and on-boarding of new members,

  • developing a database that gives us the ability to efficiently track new member applications, plot assignments, plot renewals and payments, donations and more,

  • launching a plot enrollment campaign for getting all of our gardens filled to capacity, and

  • strengthening relationships with other organizations in the Tucson community.

This fall looks exciting – working with the Site Coordinators, we will be hosting ‘Meet Your Garden’ open houses in selected neighborhoods, supporting social distanced garden meetings, holding more volunteer work days, providing more training and information on gardening, and more….stay tuned, stay healthy, and be sure to spend time in your garden.

Kids in the Garden Update
Jessica Paul

As we adapt to the changes Covid has brought to our kids in gardens program, we are switching gears to create online classes and take home kits that we can provide to kids participating in home learning, as well as those who will be in the classroom. We are also working hard to find creative solutions to making our outdoor garden spaces a more accommodating and safe space for our garden educator, students, teachers, and volunteers. We look forward to getting back into the gardens with the kids, it is even more important than ever!

Kids Garden Kit prepared for kids participating in garden education at home.
Thank you for the Seeds!

Quality seeds are, of course, an essential ingredient to a great garden. So we are so excited to partner with local business and organizations to source seeds that we will distribute through our educational events, workdays and seed kits for schools.

  • A huge THANK YOU to Ace Hardware on Broadway and Camino Seco for donating their expired seeds to CGT. Though they can’t be sold, expired seeds can still be planted for many years (germination percentage gradually decreases).

  • Thank you to the Garden Program at Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona for providing bulk seed that we’re packaging for distribution, with the help of a Public Allies AmeriCorps group.

  • And of course, Native Seed/SEARCH, an amazing local resource, continues to support CGT and many community organizations by providing arid lands seed. In fall of 2019, Community Gardens of Tucson utilized the seeds we were awarded through the NSS Grant in our Kids in the Garden program at Homer Davis Elementary. With each grade, we have one class dedicated to learning about seeds, how they travel, what they need to grow, and then planting them. Kids from every grade planted carrots, radishes, spinach, beets, peas, turnips, and cilantro and enjoyed the harvest!

These seeds will be making their way to your gardens for fall planting!

Garden Friends: Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii)
Peggie Allen

Couch’s Spadefoots are often referred to as toads, but they are not true toads. The adults remain buried in desert soil for 8 - 10 months, and then emerge with the summer monsoons. Their goal is to mate quickly, before the monsoon puddles evaporate. Their mating calls sound like bleating sheep and are quite loud! Every year, on the first night of the monsoon rains, we have at least one show up, looking for love in our fountain. They are great garden friends as they quickly eat large numbers of beetles, grasshoppers, katydids, ants, spiders and termites. They can consume enough food in one meal to last an entire year.

Do you work for the City or County?
Help Support CGT Through The United Way Payroll Deduction Program!

Calling all Tucson City and Pima County employees. September 1st marks the kickoff for this year’s Employees Care About Pima (ECAP) program, during which City and County employees can make a gift to CGT by designating a portion of their paycheck to be automatically deducted and directed in support of our mission and programs. Sponsored by United Way, investing in CGT’s critical work to fight food insecurity couldn’t be easier or simpler. Click learn more about ECAP here County employees can contact Daniel Davis and City employees Shelly Urias or Lynette Kaplan for additional information or questions.

What to Plant in August?!

You can sow some veggies directly in the garden in August (see our full planting guide), but it can be challenging to give the tender sprouts sufficient moisture in the intense heat. Try starting some long season winter crops in pots in a sunny window or greenhouse to have ready for the fall. Happy gardening!

Get Your Gloves Ready!

We’re hosting volunteer workdays to plant pollinator gardens and revitalize gardens for fall planting. Please follow us on Facebook @communitygardensoftucson or email admin@communitygardensoftucson.org to stay informed of opportunities to dig in and meet other gardeners (with masks and distance, of course).

Photo copyright: Marielle Rua

Staff from Tucson Audubon Society helping to install a Pollinator Habitat Garden at Chaverim Community Garden

Monsoon Madness- there's still time!

Support our Monsoon Madness Campaign! We have $4,000 remaining to meet our goal by September 1st. Give what you can today to help us buy much needed supplies like hoses, fencing and compost, support our educational programming and garden scholarships. DONATE HERE! Thanks!

Upcoming Online Gardening Classes
Ventana Vista Garden is looking awesome and yours can too!

Check out these local organizations hosting online gardening workshops. Learn some new tips and tricks from your own home!


Pima County Master Gardeners

Spadefoot Nursery

Strategic Habitat Enhancements
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5049 E Broadway, Suite 300
Tucson, AZ 85711

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