Garden Profiles and Recommendations 

Linden Park

Linden Park became one of the most productive and successful gardens of the summer. This was because of a great resident services coordinator, engaged residents, and a solid foundation to begin with. With consistent trips and maintenance efforts, Linden Park's community garden continued to reflect a high amount of care. 

Needs 

Multiple residents have stressed a desire to incorporate colorful vegetation around the back walkway and beds surrounding the garden. My recommendation is to include them in a plan and ask for input for the landscapers to include more colors in the back as they plant in the front.

1.

At the end of the growing season, the beds should be void of all plants, unless there is a desire for a fall/winter crop from the residents. Then they should be covered with a leaf compost to amend the soil and avoid weeds. 

2.

The irrigation system must be turned off, and the hose and time detached from the splitter attached to the hydrant. This has to be done before it gets freezing or the equipment will be ruined.

3.

The planting season needs to start earlier. This year it began in mid-June which is too late. Regardless of weather, the assignment of plots and beginning of planting must be organized by May. 

4.

Goals

Garden Access

Consider putting more into the budget, and building a higher, wheelchair accessible bed. Many residents stressed the difficulty of bending over and some in wheelchairs couldn't use the garden easily.

Club Organization

Aim to organize the garden club more efficiently. The assignment of plots was a point of contention for many residents and it seemed that some people wanted to join the garden club but didn't in time. This is a popular club and could use more attention.

Assistance

I think Thomas Schneider from Rooftop Roots would be a perfect fit for helping out with this garden. His personable attitude would mesh well with the seniors and I think that if we could get him to Baltimore maybe every other week, the garden and residents would benefit greatly.

End Goal

Some of the residents have been talking about selling some of their produce they've grown, or sharing it. I think this could be a great incentive to increase members and participation. If they had an end goal of a big dinner or sale to share what they've grown, it would create more reasons to take care of and manage their plots.

Galen Terrace

Galen Terrace has the unique opportunity to provide an education tool and serious food source, through the garden, to the children who live there. During the weeks I worked with the kids program this summer, the kids went from not knowing the difference between a tomato and lettuce, to eating almost everything I brought from the garden. Anacostia obviously has some of the most disparaged and vulnerable people in DC, with restricted access to fresh food. The garden at Galen Terrace has the opportunity to become an oasis, however, it needs to be utilized by the residents. This began to happen through my presence there, but needs to continue through established programs and encouragement from resident services and management at Galen and from Somerset. 

Needs 

Galen Terrace needs a resident volunteer with a similar level of commitment to Olga at Channel Square. The gardens are respected and treated nicely, but incentive based involvement with the gardens may help kick-start a program as it has at Channel.  

1.

Scheduled maintenance needs to continue at Galen until a serious program takes off. Whether that continues with Love and Carrots or switches to Rooftop Roots is up to Somerset. If Rooftop Roots would travel to Galen, it may be best to use them.

2.

Goals

Garden Program

The residents, especially kids, would benefit from an organized program in the Galen Terrace Gardens. With Thomas and Rooftop Roots, the kids would get the most out of the garden. My experience of working with them just one hour per week for the last five weeks lead me to believe educating these kids through the garden may be one of the best things for them.

Expansion

Consider expanding this garden in the future. It is tiny, and there is a large amount of underutilized space around the garden that could be incorporated into a larger garden area. Besides Webster gardens, Galen has the smallest garden area, but a large population to serve. With the expansion of use and programs, the garden would need to grow accordingly. 

Channel Square

Channel Square has an amazing garden due to one major fact; the dynamic of an engaged resident, Olga, and a management company, Love & Carrots. This is a model could stand to seriously benefit the rest of our gardens. Throughout the summer, more and more people came to each garden club meeting. It was always in great condition, and from mid-July onward, had produce to harvest. It has a great size, of eight raised beds along with two herb beds and an arbor. The only issue is the lack of awareness of the garden. This is due to no resident services staff being available at Channel. It is difficult to get word out about clubs and meetings, and this is something that needs to change.

Needs 

Olga needs to continuously receive support from Somerset to maintain the momentum she currently has of engaging residents. Participation grew throughout the Summer, but there is potential for even more interest in the garden.

1.

Channel Square is one property that should maintain its partnership with Love & Carrots. They have maintained it for years, and I do not see a reason to change it. In the near future, it may be possible to shift away from a management company for the garden, but not yet.

2.

The accessibility and availability of the garden needs to be broadcast. There were a number of residents who had no idea they could access the garden, and some didn't know it was for Channel Square. An info-session at the beginning of the summer could solve that problem, as long as it is properly advertised to residents.

3.

Goals

Events

The area around the garden is large. If the property has events, consider having them outside, around the garden. There should also be more garden events. Towards the end of the summer, Olga began cooking demonstrations using food from the garden and it became very popular. This could be an event that happens more often. 

Requests

Olga has asked for a container to store the stakes and tents for the beds. I think that having a container with gardening equipment will help to establish the garden in its place. There should also be a compost tumbler for the garden. There is no reason to throw away or bag waste from the garden. 

Garden Area

The area bordering the garden is just a large grass plot. This could be turned into an attractive sitting area or could have picnic tables, something to draw more residents to the area. The garden is a good size and doesn't need to grow, but it always helps to give people more reasons to be outside.

Pests

Squirrels are a big issue in this garden because of the surrounding oak trees. Rats were an issue in the beginning of the season, but were kept out by regular management and treatment, which should be practiced and continued. As for the squirrels, they are difficult to get rid of, but there are squirrel repellents, and maintaining the tenting of the beds does help.

Portner Flats

Portner has an immense amount of potential, the garden is beautiful, in a perfect location with sunlight, and surrounded by an inviting seating area. However, there is currently very little knowledge or interest in the garden itself. 

Needs 

Residents have to become engaged at Portner. It is still early enough in the building's existence to develop good relationships and habits surrounding the garden and the residents. This means resident services promoting use of the garden area as much as possible.

1.

Take into account what should be planted. Hopefully by next growing season, there can be an assemblage of a garden club, allowing them to decide what to plant, instead of vegetables going unwanted and unused.

2.

Goals

Garden Club

There should be a garden club, or group to take care of the small garden. This is probably one of the easiest to manage gardens because of its size. 

Growth

If interest increases at Portner, there is every opportunity to expand to the surrounding beds and plant herbs along their edges to make the most of the space.

Fort View

Fort View's plots in the community garden across from the property are large and inviting. They began the summer quite overgrown and in rough shape, however, following a lot of work, they are now able to be cultivated. The state they are in needs to be maintained though. There are residents who are interested and use it, but they need to be supported and encouraged. Nkem cannot do it all by himself, so through the incorporation and support of a garden club, the plots could really take off.

Needs 

There needs to be a group of select residents to work in the garden plots, with a weeding, planting, and watering schedule. With these prime gardening plots, it needs to be more than just a casual commitment or else it is wasted space that could go to someone else.

1.

Nkem needs more support with the kids plot. Whether this means working with Rooftop Roots or a resident with extra time interested in the garden. I struggled controlling the ten kids that would come out to "help" in the garden.

2.

There needs to be more advertisement for our stake in the community garden. While working in the garden plots, I would see residents working on their own plots, who appeared to have no idea Fort View had its own plots.

3.

Goal

Independence

The garden plots at Fort View are a resource and commodity. However, they are not on Fort View's property itself. Residents need to use them as a resource, with support in tools or seeds from the property, but cannot be dependent upon the property for their upkeep. We cannot have a management company come to weed beds in a community garden off property. The plots require more independent ownership than other gardens, and this is something that should be incorporated into understanding involvement in the garden. It is irresponsible to have ownership of plots in a great community garden if they are not being used, when other people in the area would be able to use them to their full potential.

Webster Gardens

The raised beds and garden area at Webster are used mostly as education tools by Nkem for the children's programs. They are small, and aging, but there is not a high demand for their use by residents. This is an interesting factor because Webster Gardens is very removed from supermarket and metro access. It is unlikely a garden club or anything would develop at Webster, but if they are going to continue to be a useful tool for Nkem and the children's programs, they need some attention.

Needs 

The raised beds need attention. They are very simple, and pretty old at this point. Some are rotting out, and it is starting to show its age. I do not want to say it needs to be rebuilt, but at the very least, needs to be refurbished.

1.

Someone, probably Rooftop Roots, needs to do a beginning of season planting, and end of season close-up. This guarantees that the garden will begin and end on the right foot and maintain healthy soil. This will also make Nkem's life easier as it will not be solely up to him to plant and maintain everything.

2.

The soil needs to be amended to account for the high amount of water the area retains. It is difficult to have a healthy garden if everything is always soaked.

3.

Urban Village

Urban Village was under the care of Thomas Schneider and Rooftop Roots for the Summer, leaving it in pretty good shape. His consistent programs with the kids from Hubbard and Urban there led to the garden getting a lot of attention. The only downside facing the garden is its issue with mosquitoes and its need to be cleaned and freshened up. The amount of space at Urban, with the mix of raised and ground beds, lends it the ability to plant a large amount of produce. If more residents get involved with the garden, it could fill out with enough produce to supply a portion of Urban Village's fresh produce needs.

Needs 

Urban Village needs to stay with Rooftop Roots, and expand the MOU to include maintenance along with the education workshops for children. Thomas Schneider takes good care of this garden and already has a great relationship with the residents there.

1.

A permanent solution needs to be reached on the issue of the mosquitoes. The grates near the garden hold water consistently, and therefore need to be to "bug bombed" with insecticide twice a week in the height of Summer. 

2.

The garden area needs to be generally cleaned up. The shed that holds the tools has been eaten through by rats, and the "compost bins" are metal trashcans, which encourages rats. It may be worth considering to get a new shed, and definitely getting a raised compost tumbler. The cleaner the garden area is, the less places rats and other pests have to hide.

3.

Hubbard Place

Hubbard Place is a difficult project. Residents there feigned interest in the garden, and no matter how much effort we put into refurbishing it or meeting their needs, it never really took off. With more organization and cooperation between resident and property leadership, use of the garden could seriously flourish. If enough commitment is reached between residents and the property, a consideration of improving or building a new garden may be worthwhile.

Needs 

Residents who are seriously interested in the garden need to be identified. Through a meeting next year before the growing season that receives a lot of advance notice and offers food would be best. There are Ethiopian residents who have expressed interest in growing food they would like to eat and they should be given the support and opportunity to do so. This means getting management and resident services to become engaged in the betterment of the garden.

1.

The raised bed by the entrance to the courtyard needs to be moved. It should be with the other beds, it is inaccessible by the door.

2.

The irrigation system must be turned off, and the hose and timer disconnected from the spigot in the opposite courtyard of the building. This will help to make the existing equipment last and prevent ice damaging the pipes.

3.

Prior to the start of the growing season, the soil in the beds needs to be amended. It is very old, and the beds are shallow and have washed out a bit. It should be dumped out onto the beds on the ground and mixed in with the soil there. New soil should be put into the raised beds. This will make for the healthiest planting conditions.

4.

Improvement

The gardens need some serious improvement, but only if participation from residents can increase. A goal for a new garden club for next season could be to maximize participation, in exchange for a planned update/rebuild of the garden area.

Club Organization

The raised beds are fairly small. A good way to organize the garden club and capitalize on accountability would be to assign a whole or half raised bed to each member, similar to how Linden operates their garden club.

Assistance

While the kids from Hubbard go to Urban Village to learn about the garden, the adults at Hubbard could use some initial guidance themselves. Whether it be a beginning seminar with Rooftop Roots or organized visits in line with club meetings, assistance would be best for the gardens and residents. 

Water

The lack of a working water spigot in the garden courtyard of Hubbard was a serious point of contention for a lot of residents. It is probably in the building's best interest to find out why this spigot no longer works and to try to fix it before next growing season.

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