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Gardens

Weeds thwarted despite pandemic

Weed rampage

Last week Josh risked his LIFE to go to the garden and do some weeding. Either he’s an extremely devoted volunteer, or he needed a break from reality. Either way, he demolished a load of weeds!

Also, there was additional excitement to be had. His message to me read “Exciting car crash on the bridge. Stolen Lexus totaled on the guardrail. Driver ran away but the cops got him.”

I am sure the driver was speeding to the garden, keen to help us get rid of some weeds. But really folks – be like Josh. Take it easy, pull some weeds, don’t break any laws. It’s not worth it!

Also one wonders how much it costs to replace that guardrail over and over, and when Caltrans or DPW will come up with a better idea? Answer: Lots and never?

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Gardens

How to maintain social distancing in the garden

Cistus (Rock Rose)

Well unless you live under a rock you know we have a bit of a situation going on. To keep everyone safe, we have to shelter in place, but we are allowed outside for exercise, pet care, and essential tasks, as long as we can maintain at least 6′ of distance between people.

Can we do any gardening? Yes! Bring your own tools and gloves and enjoy some quiet time weeding in the garden anytime. Just be sure to stay away from others, and remember our paths can be narrow – just go the other way and be polite.

Washing your hands after gardening is something we have ALWAYS recommended, and we always wash our gloves in the machine after using them as well.

Will we still have volunteer workdays? No – we really can’t have a group of people gathering – even outdoors and wearing gloves. Drop by the garden in your own time, pick some trash, pull some weeds, walk your dog, pick up poops. The garden will still be there after this has all passed. Matt and I will do our best to try and keep up with the weeds as we can too, and we’d love your help with that.

Can I have a cookie? Yes, yes you can. But wash your hands first.

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Gardens

The power of Recology!

Chis vs Green Giant!

Today it rained for the first time in over a month, in case you didn’t notice,  and it rained all through the volunteer workday. And not a little bit – it really rained! Despite that, my intrepid band of volunteers kept working away and I am deeply impressed by that. Really.

I had a plan to clean up by the front kiosk area, by the archway, and Matt and Josh set to work there. It soon became apparent though that the huge Agave stump left there after the Agave americana flowered was tied to the ground by a huge root and nothing could move it. Matt focused on cleaning up chunks of Opuntia cactus, removing baby Agaves, and cleaning up trash and weeds.

Josh, stop being so awesome!

Meanwhile, Josh started planting those baby Agaves over on the Triangle Garden up on 18th Street – an area that needs a revamp. He moved some Bromeliads and Aloe nobilis to more visible spots, and put in half a dozen Agave americana, and half a dozen Agave “Green Giant” that Chris spent a long time removing from the big mother plant up there. Dangerous and dirty work!

John, Compost King

John turned the compost. A lot of weeds have been added there recently, and the piles were really steaming hot from all the composting activity taking place – great to see.

The weeds will break down all that much faster now with added oxygen and a bit of rainwater to dampen the piles, so this task is really important. And exhausting, if we’re being honest.

Hilary and the rescued Agaves!

Hilary weeded the bed on the path to the composter. All the little Agave parryis and Furcraeas were getting choked with weeds, but she rescued them all, and added a nice layer of mulch to prevent more weeds too. While getting soaked to the skin. With no complaints. So cool.

Bill got into it with weeds too – he filled many bags with weeds from the path, as did John. That’s a task I usually leave to the weeding experts, and they did not disappoint me! Both these guys are Show Up and Get Shtuff Done types, and I love that about them.

After Chris was done planting six Salvia leucanthas with me in the Triangle Garden, we started tidying up and putting away tools, and went to see what Matt was up to. He had a digging bar and was trying to pry that Agave stump out of the ground, but it looked pretty futile – that type of job usually takes a few hours and the stump will weigh a couple hundred pounds.

Bill is a Weed Pirate!

Earlier in the day I used the 311 app to request a green waste pickup for all the non-compostable material, and coincidentally the Recology truck rolled down the street to get our 8 bags right then. We all helped the driver, Jose, to load the bags, then Josh made a joke about maybe Jose can help us drag the Agave stump out of the ground using his truck? He laughed – that’s a great way to get your truck damaged when a heavy stump suddenly lets go and flies into the back of your vehicle!

Jose jumped in his truck to leave. Then he came back. He had time to help us! Matt, Jose and Chris started digging and cutting the roots out from the Agave stump and using the 25# digging bar to rock it back and forth. Pretty soon, Jose looked like he was regretting his offer to help…

Jose saved the day!

After a solid 30 minutes of digging, prying, rocking, shoving, sawing, hacking and generally beating the heck out of that Agave stump it finally came loose! Jose backed his truck up to the stump and then it took another 15 minutes and some rope to drag the damn thing into his truck, because it was HEAVY. We thanked him and promised to tell his supervisor what a rock star he is, and away he went. Wow.

How did that happen?!?

All that was left to do was clean up the crime scene – shovel all the dirt and rocks back into the bed, sweep the sidewalk, replant the Agave filiferas in that bed, and marvel at how people just show up and help do filthy, sweaty, amazing things in the rain, just to make our Potrero Hill a better place to live. Thank you all!

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Gardens

IHS Markit team and the battle of the weeds!

Women getting ish done

Julianna from IHS Markit emailed me a while back looking to do a VTO day at the gardens for her team. We’re always thrilled to show new people why the garden was started, and hopefully get them excited about drought tolerant gardening. or at the very least squeeze a couple hours of hard work out of them!

Sadly, we didn’t have a drop of rain in February but HAPPILY that made for a wonderfully warm and sunny Friday for Julianna’s team to visit PG and do battle with the emerging horde of weeds we have there.

Before and after

Ten of the finest IHS Markit team’s people assembled at PG, and Matt and Josh described the day’s duties. Suitably prepared for the job with gloves and tools, the team headed to the top of the garden to eradicate weeds and uncover plants – a lot of them recently planted – who were trying to compete with all the new growth.

In just two hours they cleaned the whole area, and I know that not only will dog walkers be very grateful, but the new plants we put in there will not have to compete for light and nutrients now and will grow on much better.

Compost hero!

Matt also asked one of the team to turn our newly filled compost bins. This is a pretty good workout for whoever does it, and our brave volunteer managed to turn TWO bins into one, which massively speeds up the composting process. It’s a tough job, so it’s especially wonderful when a volunteer tackles it.

All in all, the IHS Markit team was a joy, an we can’t wait to have them back to visit us. Go team!

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