June 24th, 2008

June 24

bio_donOne of our main projects these days is creation of a labyrinth from painted urban rubble, on a weedy part of the property beside the parking lot, just made a bigger problem because the police asked us to move a fence. There’s a benefit – painting rubble turns out to be very popular and open to all, as you can see from this young artist at work.

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We are a beehive of activity in the garden these days, stimulated by the generosity of Organic Gardening Magazine, Aveeno, Nature’s Path and Seeds of Change. Their beautification grant, accompanying the grant for our new cistern, is helping us tackle long-troublesome areas like that spot beside the parking lot  in very creative ways that involve everyone. It’s what our Center is all about – the hope and engagement are, in their own way, as important as the food we serve. Of course, we need both eats and inspiration.

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Here’s a quick look at our inner courtyard, with daylilies coming on strong. Just outside the station, you can see the growing pile of stones for the labyrinth. The family walking past has a story to tell, which is posted on the garden blog here.

Meanwhile, we have an excellent, partly volunteer crop of sunflowers going crazy in the garden. Hope we can botanically wheedle them into flowering this beautifully through the big cistern dedication event July 10 at 6 PM, at the Center. Don’t know how the doo rag got on the bottle tree, maybe it wanted to keep the hot sun off it’s head. Tomatoes are coming on strong as well, though some varieties are showing a bit of blossom end rot  in the first ‘maters to size up, with the variations in rain (and uneven watering we do down here), plus probably our soil could use a higher calcium level. We didn’t lime this year, which adds Ca as well as raises pH. Some ‘mater varieties, of course, handle the stress much better than others. I notice that early fruits tend to be affected more than later ones. No signs of blight, though, which is good. The game of chasing smokers out of the garden has begun again, an annual epic where I get to explain about tobacco mosaic virus at least 3 times a day. No one has yet tried to smoke the tomatoes, though.

For more stories and pics of this week’s doings in the Urban Ministry garden, and our gospel choir, please visit the blog at http://urbanministrycenter.wordpress.com, or via the Urban Ministry site (where you can also read about our soccer team) at www.urbanministrycenter.org, click on ‘blogs’.

PS: Very good garden news – it rained this weekend! Now, I need to get back over to the Center, rumor has it that the cistern is there!
“Looks like a big, black silo.” Said Jason, our facilities director this morning by phone.

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