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The Seedling - July 2019- Vol 1, No 5

Welcome to The Seedling, the Community Gardens of Tucson's monthly email update for our growing community of gardeners. In this and future mailings, we will be keeping all of you updated on things that are going on with the organization. Thank you all for your support of Community Gardens of Tucson. 

Board Chair's Corner
Hello Monsooners!!!
I’m genuinely sorry to miss the drama of Tucson’s summer thunderstorms, but it’s true. I have temporarily escaped to Colorado, where it is a mere 92 today!!! And no drama, no monster storms recently to speak of….although we did have hail about a week ago!!

However being in Boulder gives me a chance to look at how a Community Gardens program works in another city. I haven’t had a chance to fully check out Growing Gardens or meet with their staff, but having looked at a few gardens and asked around, they have an impressive operation. It is something we may want to emulate and politely steal ideas from as our organization matures.

First, as Kai Ryssdal says on Marketplace every day, “Let’s do the numbers,” here are  the stats for Growing Gardens:
  • Served 26,000 people in 2017, 59% low income, through classes, plots, free seeds or plants, etc
  • Operated 500 plots with 1174 gardeners in 12 gardens (88 at reduced fees)
  • Donated 15,814 lbs of food to low income families
  • And (most intriguingly) partnered with156 (!!!) schools, businesses and community groups in putting on events, classes, etc
  • Supported a staff of 17 (!!) including a Grants Manager and a Farm Chef!
Their list of classes is impressive and maintaining a staff of that size is really awesome. And it points out how much CGT does with so little: we have more than 12 gardens, almost 500 gardeners and about 1.5 full time equivalent staff. We’re doing a lot with a little.

So, broken record spoiler alert!!! We need more gardeners, more income and more ideas to change our operation for the better. Not necessarily copying Boulder, but looking at what has worked there and what might work in Tucson. Should we be growing food on unused plots for low income families or folks in shelters? Should we be putting on classes for money? Should we be partnering with non-food, non-garden businesses for support??

Needless to say, neither I nor the Board has all the answers. But we invite your thoughts, any thoughts, along these lines or otherwise, as to the directions we should move in.

Enjoy the heat!!! It will bring more rain……soon!!!

Bruce P
CGT Recipes
Garden Gazpacho Recipe
6 Servings


2  Tomato, medium ripe
1  Bell pepper, yellow stem/seeds removed
1  Onion, red small
2  ribs Celery
1  Cucumber, seedless or seeds removed
½ cup Bell pepper; red roasted seeds/skin removed or jarred pimento
2  cups Tomato juice
¼ cup Vinegar, sherry
½ cup Olive oil, extra virgin
¼ cup Parsley with stems
1  clove Garlic
To taste: Kosher or sea salt/black pepper ground
To taste: Hot sauce (optional)
Garnish with Avocado, ripe diced


  1. Small dice one tomato, yellow bell pepper, one-half red onion, one celery rib and one-half of the cucumber. Reserve all in a large glass or other non-reactive bowl.
  2. Rough chop remaining tomato, and one-half cucumber, red onion and celery. Place in work bowl of food processor or blender. To this mixture add red bell pepper, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil,  parsley and garlic. Pulse to coarsely puree contents. 
  3. Pour pureed vegetables into bowl with diced vegetables and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate several hours.
  4. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, before serving. Serve in flat soup bowls. If desired, garnish with a small mound of diced avocado in the middle of the bowl. 

Chef Harry Crane

Jessica's Corner
Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT) has fostered a healthy partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). We currently have 17 IRC families who garden with us in 3 of our gardens. Most of the current IRC gardeners at CGT sites came to the United States from African countries. The IRC also sponsors its own community garden called The Literacy Connects. Many of the IRC gardeners are coming to us outside of the IRC program, and learning to integrate independently into our Communities. This is a very important step in the continual growth and diversity of our gardening communities and continuing their involvement in the garden after they have left the IRC program.
CGT is proud that we are able to support these new Tucsonans, through donations and support from our community, as they work to establish themselves and their families in their new life in these United States. There could hardly be a better introduction than to provide these families with the means to grow and eat healthy food.
The IRC hosts many events at our gardens with their clients, and they are always happy to have extra volunteer help. If you or someone you know is interested in helping out with these gardens more, please contact me.
PS: At present CGT does not have a volunteer site coordinator at the Nottinghill Community Garden, the Blue Moon Community Garden, or the GD2 Community Garden sites. Engaged commitment from site coordinators is vitally instrumental to cultivate healthy garden communities. Becoming a site coordinator at one of these spots is a great way support diversity and community growth here in Tucson. We'd love more help with this mission, and are always looking for help from our supportive community.

What to Plant
Here's what we recommend planting this month
(S = sow seeds, T = transplant, ST = sow seeds & transplant):
  • Black-eyed Peas (S)

  • Chinese Pole Beans (S)

  • Cucumber (Armenian) (ST)

  • Cucumber (S)

  • Eggplant (T)

  • Melons (ST)

  • Peppers (T)

  • Pumpkin (ST)

  • Spinach (NZ & Malabar) (ST)

  • Squash (Summer) (ST)

  • Squash (Winter) (ST)

  • Tomato (T)

Photo Of The Month
Washing off the harvest
We want your photos for next month's email! Send them to us here
Treasurer's Corner
The origin of The Seedling was in the Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT) Board monthly meeting of 02/23/2019. Here is an excerpt from the minutes of that meeting: The idea is a monthly memo, monthly gardener updates. Can we connect the monthly newsletter to instagram and facebook? Cosmo suggested setting up the donations for specific campaigns ex: cisterns, students, IRC, will make donors more inclined to spend money to help. Finance Committee will let us know when we should start. Jessica offered to help Rocky get the website stuff up and running. Faith suggested we call our memo “The Seedling”. So, The Seedling was birthed as a fund-raising tool for CGT to make its case to gardeners and friends on how CGT promotes gardening in the Tucson valley. This includes information about CGTs budget and staffing and essential volunteer support and useful gardening tips. Transparency is good and CGT aims to meet that standard via The Seedling.

The enduring financial reality of this little thing called CGT with its outsized footprint in the community is that the plot fees gathered from CGT gardeners, taking account of full pricing and scholarship subsidies, do NOT cover ordinary expenses. Revenues from plot fees are collected from most gardeners semi-annually in the Spring and Fall. Expenses – costs for staff compensation and water and the occasional ‘stuff’ that CGT buys - often capital assistance to various CGT garden sites – is spread more evenly over a budget year. Metaphor time: CGT harvests its plot fees and stores them in the larder – currently mostly in a bank account at BMO Harris Bank – to be consumed until the next semi-annual go ‘round.

At present total budgeted expenses for 2019 are set at $61,148.68. CGT is currently about ‘on budget’ but there will be some increase in costs as the year goes on from compensation increases to Jessica and Mikayla, CGTs indispensable staff as discussed previously in The Seeding. Further, CGT is in the process of dealing with unexpected costs associated with a severe water loss at one garden site.

And CGT entered 2019 with an approved budget deficit of $3,199.68 on projected revenues of $57.949.00. This was done by the Board over the alternative of raising plot fees on the theory that the deficit and maybe more could be made up by fundraising among CGTs gardeners and friends.

This is a message and appeal to CGT gardeners. The next semi-annual plot payment due in September 2019 is coming. Payments made in excess of the monthly billing rate ($5.00 is the practical minimum because of account handling fees) would go to CGTs general fund or, if so specified, to help CGT afford its scholarship gardeners. Indeed, donations would be more than welcome from scholarship gardeners. If your payment is made on-line (which the Board encourages all gardeners to do) there is space at the website to explain an additional payment and if your payment is by check please attach a note describing any additional payment. CGT will record the payments. BTW: CGT is an IRS-approved tax exempt organization in recognition of its service to the community. As such, donations can be deductible from federal and state income taxes. Read the rules/consult your tax advisor.

Last point for CGT gardeners while waiting for the semi-annual plot fee payment: you can easily find ‘Donation’ links at The Seedling. Thank you for the CGT Board and the gardening community it represents for any assistance that you can provide.

By JMH - 07/08/2019
Consider making a donation to Community Gardens of Tucson
Community Gardens of Tucson has a proud 35-year history of voluntarism and self-effort that has introduced thousands of Tucsonans to ‘The Joys of Gardening.’ With more means CGT can broaden and deepen its reach. Please consider helping. If you are a gardener please consider clicking agreement to cover the costs of processing your plot fee payment. And could you perhaps add $5 or $10 or more to your payment? Donations are gratefully appreciated from non-active gardeners of whom many have generously contributed to CGTs work over the years. Contributions above plot fees may be tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor for details.
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