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The Seedling - September 2019- Vol 1, No 7

Welcome to "The Seedling;" the Community Gardens of Tucson's monthly email update for our growing community of gardeners. Read on and see what's cropping up.  Thank you all for your support! 

A message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Welcome to this month’s Seedling, your connection to what’s happening in the CGT community. We sincerely hope you find this new Seedling format engaging and we invite you to help us make the Seedling even better by submitting photos and articles to share your wonderful gardening experiences too.

Exciting news! The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has awarded CGT a grant for one year’s access to, an online service which connects talented professionals who are willing to donate their skills to help nonprofits around the world. This opportunity allows CGT to connect with experts who can help with board development, fundraising, technology, marketing, and much more. A huge thanks to CFSAZ and Catchafire for recognizing and investing in CGT’s potential- and people! Our board is looking forward to working with these great partners and taking our board’s development (and CGT) to new heights.

Speaking of which, we welcome our newest Board Member Edita Smrcinova! Edita is our new CGT Treasurer and comes with accredited credentials and a personal passion for non-profits. Along with her husband and 2 grown sons, Edita hails from Europe, specifically the Czech Republic. She knows her last name is difficult to pronounce so here’s how it’s said phonetically: ‘smur-chin-ova’. She is an avid gardener and recently added “Beekeeper” to her outdoor repertoire, cultivating the convergence of plants and pollinators with the fun byproduct of honey production. Edita says she’s looking forward to helping CGT reach the next level of greatness.

Like what you see? Would you like to join us? Please feel free to reach out if you have a particular skill you would like to share with CGT or if you just have some extra time to help. We welcome you!

~Elizabeth Warburton-Smith, Executive Director

Jessica's Corner: "Kids In Gardens" is here!
Our first two garden days at Homer Davis Elementary have been so fun! All the kids and teachers have expressed what a good time they are having, many kids told me it was their favorite class! Each class that comes out starts with a lesson on soil and what type of soil plants need to grow. The kid’s screams of surprise and joy as we dump the garden soil and compost on the table, are priceless! I made sure to pack the jars with a lot of Armadillidium vulgare (roly-poly bugs) and earthworms for them to learn about. They used magnifying glasses to investigate the organisms in the native soil and garden soil. I made sure to incorporate some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning by telling the kids how energy is transferred from the earthworms eating decaying matter and pooping it out to feed our plants. They loved it! When the kids come out for a second class, they took turns examining my seed collection and then start planting seeds in their own plots. So far, we have had a total of 150 kids come out. Next week we start our monthly classes at Mary Meredith. We have had many shools reach out to our organization to help with their school gardens. We are hoping to expand our school garden education to more schools. Big thanks to Jessica Howe, Homer Davis’ 2nd grade teacher who helped make these classes happen by bringing her excitement to all the teachers. Thanks to Kitty Tobin, Darrell Larrabee, Chad Borseth, Peggy Ollerhead, and John William Paul for volunteering in our garden classes Also, a special "thank you" to Tori West for providing the shade cloth for our lessons!. What do you call it when Earthworms take over the planet? Global Worming!! Thanks to our Garden Community and the Community Gardens Board of Directors, for making these classes possible.

To learn more or get involved with Kids In Gardens, contact Jessica.

Your tax deductible donation gives kids the chance to learn, grow, eat and have fun in gardens and helps teachers in budget-stressed schools create a science curriculum. Please help grow our Kids in Gardens education program by clicking this BIG, Blue Button. Thank you!

Donate to CGT's "Kids in Gardens"
Upcoming Events


  • 9/16: Operations Committee Meeting at
    • 9:00 am at
    • Raging Sage
    • (accepting new members!)
  • 9/22: Chaverim School Garden Class 5:30 pm
  • 9/23 Blue Moon School Garden Class 9:00 am
  • 9/20 Mary Meredith School Garden Class
  • 9/21:  Doolen Garden Community Meeting at 9am
  • 9/21:  Eller Net Impact Volunteer Day
    • 8:00-11:00am at
    • AZ School for the Deaf & Blind Community Garden.
  • 9/26:  Night Out with Nonprofits at
  • 9/27:  Homer Davis Garden Classes
  • 9/28:  Sunrise Community Garden Fall Cleanup & Meeting
    • 7:00-11:00am


  • 10/5:  Pima Master Gardener program Fall Plant Sale.
  • 10/6:  Care for Creation Festival at
    • 2:00-4:30pm
    • Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
  • 10/11:  Homer Davis Garden Classes
  • 10/12: Tucson Organic Gardeners' "Fall Fair"
    • 9:00am - 1:00pm
    • St Mark's Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. 2nd Street in the 2nd Street Parking Lot (1 block west of Alvernon on 2nd Street)
      • CGT will be there tabling; Come say "Hi!"
Native Seed/SEARCH, "Seed" Grant Update
At the end of October 2018 enthusiastic gardeners Tony and Luana Navarro at Ventana Vista Garden planted the donated carrot and beet seeds for the school kids. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders harvested the crop in the middle of May 2019. The event was a huge success. Parent volunteers helped to clean and store the veggies until next week, when Chef Janos gave a cooking demonstration using the harvest. One of the kids said it was the best day of the entire school year! Huge gratitude to Native Seed/SEARCH for providing the seeds and to Tony and Luana for putting them to such great use with the elementary students at Ventana Vista. 
Photo Of The Month
"What's up, Doc?" Site Coodinator Andrea Mathias gives us her best Bugs Bunny impression and shows off the beautiful bounty from the Ventana Vista Garden. Students helped harvest veggies and learned how worms help build healthy soil. Chef Janos taught everyone about cooking for fresh flavor and great health! One more way that CGT is cultivating community through gardening. 
Rita Ranch Report
Student Gardeners from the Vail School District led by Elizabeth Warburton-Smith have their very own garden bed at the Rita Ranch Community Garden. At the beginning of the semester, these students who range in age from 11 to 14, selected plants and seeds they wanted to grow based on what they were learning about organic cultivation and proper planting and growing seasons. Before planting though, they had to graduate to the level of "Soil Chefs." This involved mixing up the perfect planting medium for their raised bed using organic ingredients like decomposed compost, coconut coir, earthworm castings, and more. They learned that soil is a living thing and that microscopic life within soil is called mycorrhizae. They also learned that the living mycorrhizae in organic soil eat the bacteria from decomposing organic matter, making nitrogen and a whole host of other nutrients and minerals continually available to plant roots while at the same time regenerating and building the soil. So at each visit to the garden, they enthusiastically dig fresh kitchen scraps into their bed, feeding not only the microscopic life, but very cool earthworms as well!
What to Plant
Here's what we recommend planting this month!
(S = sow seeds, T = transplant, ST = sow seeds & transplant):

● Beets (S)

● Broccoli Raab (S)

● Brussels Sprouts (S)

● Cabbage (S)

● Cauliflower (S)
● Carrots (S)

● Collards (S)

● Kale (ST)

● Kohlrabi (S)

● Parsnip (S)

● Radish (S)

● Rutabaga (S)

● Swiss Chard (ST)

● Turnip (S)

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Greetings! I’ve been a CGT gardener for more than 7 years, and a site coordinator for almost as long, first at Benedictine and now at Mary Meredith. Six months ago I joined the Board because I am passionate about Community Gardens of Tucson and believe in its future. I now have the privilege of connecting with the wider CGT community and sharing news on how your support strengthens this wonderful organization.

CGT gardeners and friends have been generous supporters ever since 1989, when the first garden was created by George Brookbank on a vacant lot donated by the Hand family. In 1995, Community Gardens of Tucson was officially formed, and thanks to donors, volunteers, grantors and gardeners, it has now grown to 21 gardens with more than 300 gardeners. Your donations have accomplished that and more.

Your support keeps the gardens flourishing, and this year, we are focusing on two important needs:

Our newest program, the "Kids in Gardens" elementary school education project, began with two schools. Now that news about it has spread, more are asking for help. These are Title 1 schools, serving mainly low income students. Your tax deductible gifts will help us provide educators, curriculum materials and school garden needs.

Our Scholarship Fund subsidizes the plot fees of nearly half our gardeners. Your tax deductible donations give members of the refugee community and folks with lower incomes access to fresh food, herbs, flowers, and community, no matter how much they can pay.

Our gardens grow in so many ways. Thank you for your support, past, present and future!

Best wishes,

Faith Edman
Fundraising Chair

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Community Gardens of Tucson
5049 E Broadway Blvd
Suite 300
Tucson, AZ 85711

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Community Gardens of Tucson · 5049 E Broadway Blvd · Suite 300 · Tucson, AZ 85711 · USA

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