Page 1

Project Grow Gardeners Donate Hundreds of Pounds of Produce Project Grow gardeners grew and donated nearly 300 pounds of organic produce to Food Gatherers over the 2008 growing season. “That’s over twenty pounds of produce per garden site, grown by folks in the community for neighbors in need. Each year our gardeners just seem to give more,” says Melissa Kesterson, Executive Director of Project Grow. In these tough economic times when concerns over food security and the local economy run high, Project Grow gardeners at all ten sites shared a portion of their harvests. Everything from tomatoes to zucchinis to winter squash landed at the Food Gatherers warehouse for distribution to the community.

The Case Against Bees, Or How Hybrids Happen By Royer Held, Greenview One of the great things about heirloom tomato varieties is that, unlike commercial hybrids, heirlooms grow true from seed. Field studies find that this happens 95% to 99% of the time. Every now and then, bees get in the way and the seed in one of your tomatoes may be an F1 hybrid. Unless you make the cross yourself, or perform gene sequencing, there is no way to tell that this has happened simply by looking at the tomato. Even though the seeds contain brand new genetics, the characteristics of the fruit are determined by the genetics of the plant from which it was picked. You will only know what the bees were up to if you save the seeds from this one fruit. Over the many years I have saved seed from heirloom tomato varieties, I’ve only caught the bees red-handed four times. On one hand, this is good news. It means that I have been able to count on the seed that I save to be true to type. On the other hand … My first encounter with bee handiwork was the year one of my tomatoes took first place at a Project Grow tomato tasting. I brought two 1.5 pound pink-purple beefsteaks to the tasting that grew on a plant labeled “Old Brooks.” I had grown Old Brooks many times before and knew that these tomatoes were not true to type. Old Brooks is a medium sized red tomato with high acid content. The imposters had a good balance of sugars and acids. They also had meaty flesh with a creamy texture unlike the juicier, crunchier Old Brooks. Continued on page 11

From the Blogosphere By Joan Bailey

Project Grow’s Website Has a New Look! Check out our revamped website! You can find lots of information on gardens, classes, and events, fill out an online plot application, explore links to Flickr photos, and even post comments on the Project Grow blog!

Now that snow is falling and it’s hard to get outside (or get motivated to get outside), the following books offer inspiration and help justify snuggling into that favorite armchair. Following is a sample of the many terrific gardening books out there. Head off to your favorite local bookstore and see what other resources you can find! Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit by Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden, 2008, Timber Continued on page 9

Community Profile: Go! Gardening

Community Garden 2009 Schedule

By Jacqueline Venner Senske

Mid January

On-line Registration begins

For the past few years, Project Grow has been working with Mitchell Elementary, part of the Ann Arbor Public Schools system, to create Go! Gardening. Go! operates at Project Grow’s community garden at Mitchell in conjunction with a Title One summer school program. During the six-week session, students spent 30 to 60 minutes in the garden each week, participating in activities like planting seeds, pulling weeds, pruning and staking tomato plants, fertilizing the soil, and best of all, harvesting and tasting the produce.

March, Saturday 21

Heirloom Seed Swap

April, Saturday 25

2009 Gardeners Orientation

Late April

Gardens open (weather/tilling dependent)

May, Saturday 8,9,10

Spring Plant Sale at Matthaei

May, Saturday 16

Spring Plant Sale at People’s Food Co-op

August, Saturday 22

Tomato Tasting at Homegrown Festival

Introducing gardening into the classroom provides new opportunities for learning and having fun. To connect the garden with other summer school activities, the Mitchell teachers did a great job of integrating garden themes into their lesson plans. The garden experience contributed much to classroom learning, not only in science and math, but also in reading, writing, history, and other areas of study. Last summer, one class combined their reading, writing, and drawing skills with what they learned in the garden to write a book about gardening. Activities like writing plant labels and measuring sunflower height also reinforce classroom lessons. The garden provides an engaging learning environment with the added benefit of physical activity — a great outlet for kids restless after several hours at their seats. To balance the “work,” the kids also sing songs and do craft projects. Perhaps best of all, Project Grow’s Go! Gardening exposes students to a side of food that is often new to them: its source. Many kids don’t realize that ingredients in their favorite foods — everything from salad to pizza and tacos — grow in the garden. Sometimes garden crops are new or unfamiliar, a factor that might otherwise scare kids off. But after planting, growing, and caring for the plants, the new little gardeners are eager to taste their fruits and often want to take some home to their families. The program’s growth over the last year has improved the garden experience for both students and teachers. Now, we’re ready to take it a step further. I have already started to meet with teachers from Mitchell to plan this year’s program. We are laying the foundation for a garden that will eventually be integrated into every classroom at the school, engaging more students and teachers, as well as parents, other school staffers, neighbors in the community, and other community gardeners. We would love to involve even more Project Grow supporters. If you want to join the team, or just want to chat about our Go! Garden vision over a cup of coffee sometime, contact me through or by calling the Project Grow office. Jacqueline Venner Senske is the coordinator for Project Grow’s Go! Gardening program. Jacqueline has a B.S. in Horticulture from Iowa State University and a M.S. in Public Horticulture through the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware. Her experience with Project Grow is diverse, having served in the Newsletter Committee, assisting Executive Director Melissa Kesterson as the Community Garden Supervisor, and working with Go! Gardening for the last two years. Born and raised on an Iowa farm, Jacqueline is passionate about providing opportunities for everyone to learn about growing food and connecting with the planet, as well as each other, through gardening.


The Project Grow Community Gardener

September, Saturday 29 Heirloom vegetable event at Zingerman’s Roadhouse October, Thursday 8

Annual Membership and Board mtg.

October, Saturday 17

Garden Cleanup

October, Sunday 18

Garden Close

Discovery Garden Schedule for 2009 Volunteer Orientation • Wednesday, April 8, 7:00-8:00pm - the Leslie Science Center Nature House Discovery Garden Kick-Offs: • Wednesday, May 6, 5:00-7:00pm. Discovery Gardens @ Leslie •

Wednesday, May 13, 5:00-7:00pm. Discovery Gardens @ The Farm

End-of-Season Garden Clean-Up and Closing • Saturday, Oct 17, 11:00am-2:00pm Discovery Gardens @ Leslie •

Saturday, Oct 17, 3:00-5:00pm. Discovery Gardens @ The Farm

The Project Grow Volunteer Recognition Dinner • Wednesday, November 18, 5:30-7:30pm. To be held in the Nature House at the Leslie Science & Nature Center. Bring a dish to pass and, if possible, your place settings. Discovery Garden Potlucks • Wednesday, June 3 •

Wednesday, July 8

Wednesday, August 5

Wednesday, September 9

Wednesday, October 7

Wednesday, November 18 (**the Volunteer Recognition Dinner)

All potlucks are held from 5:30-7:30pm in the Nature House on the property of the Leslie Science & Nature Center. Bring a dish to pass and, if possible, your place settings. Wonder Sprout classes will be held this year on the same evenings as our potlucks, starting approximately at 6:30pm each time.

Pre-Season 2009

Project Grow Project Grow’s office is located at 1831 Traver Road Ann Arbor, MI 48105 Mission Statement Project Grow Community Gardens provide the space, education and inspiration to make organic gardening accessible to all. Project Grow Community Gardener is published three times a year: preseason, spring, and summer. Readers are encouraged to submit articles and ideas. Advertising and additional sponsorship are always welcome. Please email newsletter@ Board of Directors Devon Akmon, President Dustin Underwood, Secretary Joan Bulmer, Treasurer Melissa Kesterson, Executive Director Terre Fisher Royer Held Kirk Jones Catherine Riseng Damaris Suffalko

Community Gardener Volunteers Susan Cybulski Terre Fisher Liz McDowell Pamela Schwarzmann

Project Grow memberships are $10 a year and include a subscription to the newsletter. Project Grow is a 501(c)3 organization; donations to Project Grow are tax deductible. Board Meetings Board meetings are held at the Leslie Science Center, 1831 Traver. Please contact the office at (734) 996-3169 for upcoming meeting dates. All Project Grow members are welcome to attend.

2009 Garden Registration “Project Grow Community Gardens provide the space, education, and inspiration to make organic gardening accessible to all.” Project Grow is a private non-profit organization that enables urban residents to garden in an environmentally and socially responsible way. We provide community garden plots, education, and other resources to empower adults and children to achieve a higher quality of life through responsible use of soil and plants. Project Grow gardening is a community project that promotes ecological awareness, self-reliance, and a greater understanding among people of different ages and social backgrounds. The Project Grow office is located at the Leslie Science Center, 1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, Financial contributors to Project Grow include: the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, community residents and local businesses. Garden plot registration fees only partially cover costs associated with maintaining the garden sites. Project Grow welcomes your tax-deductible donations. Project Grow is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Executive Director and Garden Activities and Education Coordinator conduct day-to-day business. Each garden has a volunteer Site Coordinator who serves as a vital link between the gardeners and the organization. INSTRUCTIONS: Please read this registration first. Then fill out the Garden Application and Survey. Don’t forget to sign the Gardening Agreement. Mail Application, Survey, and check (payable to Project Grow) to: Project Grow, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. RETURNING GARDENERS: The plot you gardened last year will be reserved for you until March 15th, so be sure to return your application form to Project Grow before March 15th. LOW INCOME GARDENERS: Project Grow wants to make gardening available to everyone regardless of income. Please call (734) 996-3169 if you have questions about our sliding scale fees. REFUND/CANCELLATION POLICY: Plot registration fees minus a $5 processing fee will be refunded for cancellations prior to May 15th. No refunds will be given after May 15th.

Site Features for Community Garden Plots PLOT SIZES: FULL SIZE (approx. 25’ x 30’) HALF SIZE (approx. 25’ x 15’) Both sizes are available at all garden locations. PLOT TYPES: ANNUAL – These are plowed by Project Grow in the spring and fall. PERENNIAL – Some sites have a limited number of plots designated as perennial. These are not plowed by Project Grow. TOOLS: Most sites supply a few gardening tools. Please take care of them. WATER: Water and hoses are supplied at each site. Please conserve water and take care of the hoses. The cost of water is included in the plot fee. Site Features for Discovery Garden Plots PLOT SIZES: All of the Discovery Garden plots are raised container-type beds and most have approx. 24 sq ft. of gardening surface space. The Leslie Science location plots are relatively uniform in circumference, measuring approximately 4’x6’. Plots at the County Farm Park vary considerably but the majority measure 3’x8’. PLOT TYPES: EASY ACCESS– These raised beds are built to accommodate wheelchair bound gardeners. The County Farm Park location has a variety of Easy Access bed styles to choose from. WISE ROOTS – The height of these beds vary from two to three feet high and are intended for use by seniors and by those who require minimal bending. Many of the beds at the County Farm Park also have a ledge allowing one to seat while tending the plot. WONDER SPROUTS – The height of the beds at the Leslie Science Center are approximately one foot high and are intended for children and their families. Beds at the County Farm Park vary from two foot to three feet high. TOOLS: Both Discovery Garden sites supply many of the standard gardening tools. Please take care of them. WATER: Water and hoses are supplied at each site. Please conserve water and take care of the hoses. The cost of water is included in the plot fee.

The Project Grow Community Gardener

Continued on page 4

Pre-Season 2009


Continued from page 3 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Your volunteer participation is vital to Project Grow’s success! Opportunities are available at each Community Garden site (i.e., plot stake out, maintenance, fall cleanup, composting), at Discovery Gardens and throughout Project Grow (education, events, newsletter, etc). LEARN MORE ABOUT GARDENING: Project Grow offers lots of gardening information for new & experienced gardeners in the newsletter, on bulletin boards at the gardens, and at our gardening workshops. We also keep gardeners up-to-date on upcoming events and garden news through our garden email lists and web site The Grow office maintains a reference library of gardenrelated books, periodicals, and supplies of informational handouts. Gardening & Land Use Policies Gardeners must employ the organic gardening practices accepted by major organic certification agencies, such as the Organic Crop Improvement Association, in all gardens. INSECT CONTROL: Synthetic insecticides are prohibited in ALL Project Grow plots. Preferred control methods are: crop rotation, hand picking of insect pests, introduction of predator species, companion planting, soil solarization, and biological controls, e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium that controls cabbage worms. As a last resort, natural botanicals, i.e. rotenone and pyrethrum (that break down quickly and do not leave harmful residues in the soil) may be used. WEED CONTROL: All herbicides are prohibited in ALL Project Grow plots, as they are hazardous to human health, may kill or damage crops, drift into neighboring gardens, and persist in the soil. Hoeing, mulching, and hand weeding are recommended. DISEASE CONTROL: Most problems can be controlled if you build healthy soil, choose disease-resistant varieties and remove diseased plants from the garden. ANIMAL CONTROL: Exclusion of animal pests is the recommended and preferred treatment when dealing with animals in garden plots.


FERTILIZERS & SOIL AMENDMENTS: Commercial inorganic fertilizers (i.e. 5-10-5, MiracleGro, etc.) are not permitted. Products of plant or animal origin, i.e. compost, leaf mold, livestock manure, blood and bone meal, cover crops, fish emulsion, kelp meal, liquid seaweed, and commercial organic fertilizers are acceptable. Natural mineral fertilizers, i.e. greensand, granite dust, and ground limestone are also acceptable. Gardeners are strongly urged to add as much organic material (i.e. compost, leaf mold, and manure) as possible to their plots to maintain soil fertility. PLOT RENTAL: Project Grow does not guarantee that a plot will be available for every applicant. The Project Grow Director has discretion to rent one or more plots to a gardener, based on the availability of plots and gardener’s compliance with Gardening and Land Use Policies. PROHIBITED PLANTS: The following plants may not be grown in any of the gardens without written permission of the Director (list available from the office): Invasive species such as mint, comfrey Trees, bushes, or woody perennials Illegal or dangerous plants PERENNIAL PLOTS: A limited number of plots are available for year-round gardening. These gardens require more attention and care than annual plots, so only gardeners who have gardened at least one year with Project Grow, and who have demonstrated respect for all policies may apply for a perennial plot. Perennial plots must be well maintained throughout the year; non-organic and dead organic material must be removed in the fall. Perennial plants may remain. These plots are not plowed by Project Grow, so perennial gardeners can begin gardening earlier in the season and harvest later into the year. MEMBERSHIP FEE: Project Grow requires a one time $20 membership fee per Community Garden plot, payable with Registration. Discovery Garden plots do not currently require a membership fee. Garden Site Locations & Descriptions AIRPORT: Located near the Ann Arbor Airport, with entry from State Street south of Ellsworth Road. Black loamy soil with a pH of 7.0. Metered city water. 14 plots. BUHR: Located behind Allen school in Buhr park. Water from Allen school. 8 plots.

The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009

CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES: Located on the corner of Packard and Golfside Roads on property loaned by Catholic Social Services. Clay loam soil. Water supplied from a hose at the CSS building. There are 10 plots. COUNTY FARM: Located on Platt Rd. near Washtenaw Ave., in Washtenaw County’s 145-acre County Farm Park. Three main sections: Community Garden Section A (new in 2006); Community Garden Section B has loam soil with a pH of 6.8; and Discovery Garden (new in 2006) providing raised beds for use by children, seniors, and wheelchair bound gardeners. Water provided by the County Parks Department. Approximately 80 Community Garden plots and 30 Discovery Garden plots. CLAGUE: Located on Bluett Rd, on property loaned by Clague Middle School. Clay loam soil with a pH of 7.4. Limited water supplied from a hose at the school and stored in barrels at the garden site. 6 plots. FOOD GATHERERS: Located off of Carrot Way ( nearest cross road Dhu Varren) on the property of Food Gatherers. Soil is somewhat course with clay and a PH of 7.8. Water is provided by a nearby city metered hydrant. 8 plots. GREENVIEW: Located on Greenview St. near Scio Church, on Ann Arbor Public Schools property. Heavy clay (most plots have amended soil) with a pH of 7.4. Metered city water. Approximately 40 plots. HILLSIDE TERRACE: Located off of Jackson road, this garden is located on the property of the Hillside Terrace Retirement Residence. Metered city water. 10 plots. LAKEWOOD: Located at the end of Gralake behind Lakewood Elementary School, on school property. Clay loam soil. Water supplied from a hose at the school. 10 plots. LESLIE SCIENCE: This location hosts a Discovery Garden and is located on the grounds of the Leslie Science Center off of Traver Road. 35 plots. MITCHELL: Located on property loaned by Mitchell Elementary school on Fernwood. Soil is clay loam. Water supplied from a hose at the school. 6 plots MATTHAEI: Located on property loaned by the Matthaei Botanical Gardens North Dixboro Road. 20 plots

For office use only:


Postdate: ___________ ck# _____ conf

2009 Garden Application Your Name

Full Address

amt _____

Day & Evening Phone Numbers, Email D: E: Email:

Names of Other Gardeners

Addresses of Other Gardeners

Phone Number and Email

Community Garden Perennial plots: A limited number exist at County Farm, Greenview, Hillside Terrace, Food Gatherers, Lakewood and Airport community gardens and can be rented by returning Project Grow gardeners. Would you be interested in a perennial plot at one of the gardens listed above if one became available? YES ! NO ! Note about Plot Fees: Fees are listed below on a sliding scale. The lower number is the subsidized rate; it does not cover the actual cost of the plot. The higher number is the full cost that Project Grow pays to provide your plot. Please pay the highest amount that you can. To inquire about low-income fees, call the office at (734) 996-3169.


Instructions-Community Gardens: 1) Circle the plot fee and place a “1” next to it for your first choice of garden site & size. 2) Circle the plot fee and place a “2” next to it for your second choice of garden site & size should the first not be available. Instructions-Discovery Gardens: 1) Circle the plot fee for each category as needed.

Community Gardens County Farm






$105-135 $72-87

Catholic Social Services $89—113 $62—74

$105—135 $72—87

$95—125 $62-74

$105—135 $72—87

$89-113 $62-74

$89-113 $62-74

$95-125 $62-74

Easy Access

Easy Access

Wise Roots

Wise Roots

Wonder Sprouts






Leslie Science Center

1 plot $40--75

2 plots $65--105

1 plot $40--75

2 plots $65--105

1 plot, 1-2 youth $55--75

Wonder Sprouts (children) 2 plots, 2-4 youth $75--115

County Farm Park







Full Plot Half Plot

Full Plot Half Plot



$105—135 $72—87

Food Gatherers $89-113 $62 -74

Hillside Terrace $105-135 $72-87

Discovery Gardens

Returning gardeners: If you want the same Community Garden plot as last year, please check here: ! and return this form by March 15! If you want the same Discovery Garden plot as last year, please check here: !and return this form by March 15!

***If you supply an email address Project Grow will confirm your plot application via email***.

The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009


MEMBERSHIP FEE: Project Grow requires a one time $20 membership fee for new Community Gardeners, payable with registration. Discovery Garden plots do not currently require a membership fee.

PAYMENT: NOTE: Garden plots cannot be assigned until payment is received.

Plot Fees (Community Gardeners include fee for first choice from tables above) Membership Fee: (see description above) Tax-Deductible Donation (optional): All donations to Project Grow, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, are tax-deductible! Total Amount Enclosed:

$ $ $


Gardening Agreement (please read carefully and sign below) As a Project Grow gardener, I agree to: 1. Abide by the Project Grow Gardening and Land Use Policies. 2. Take steps to maintain and improve the soil in my plot. 3. Keep my plot and the pathways adjacent to it well maintained and free of weeds. 4. Notify the Project Grow office immediately if I cannot maintain my plot for any reason during the rental period. Failure to notify may result in forfeiture of the right to garden with Project Grow in the future. 5. Begin gardening in my Community Garden only after plots have been officially staked out in the spring and/or in my Discovery Garden only after plots have been officially assigned in the spring. 6. Clear my community garden plot of all non-organic materials (fencing, large rocks, string, wire, stakes, etc.) and shred or remove all large or woody plant debris, no later than the end of the day on October 17th, 2009. I understand that if my Community Garden plot is left in a condition unsuitable for plowing, or if a perennial plot is left in a condition that does not comply with the perennial policy, or if my Discovery Garden plot is left with either non-organic or organic materials without permission of the site coordinator, I may forfeit the right to garden with Project Grow in the future. 7. Observe the specific guidelines for my garden site (received with the plot rental confirmation). 8. Accept that Project Grow assumes no liability for persons or property in the gardens. Failure to garden in accordance with this Gardening Agreement may result in immediate expulsion from the garden or forfeiture of the right to garden with Project Grow in the future.

Signed __________________________________ Primary Gardener & Date


___________________________________ Other Gardener & Date

Please sign the Gardening Agreement on the back and mail this form, Gardener Survey, and a check to: Project Grow, 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105

VOLUNTEER COMMITMENT: As a Project Grow gardener, you are a member of a community of neighbors. You are expected to make a meaningful contribution of time (at least two hours per month in the gardening season) to your garden community. To find out what is needed at your site, please ask your Site Coordinator. Listed below are tasks in which your contribution of time is most helpful to the running of your garden: Garden Work Parties for Community Gardens: Maintenance or other tasks needed at each site. Approximately 1.5 hours each: Stake Out garden plots (around May 1) August Work Party June Work Party Clean Up garden plots (October 18th) July Work Party Garden Work Parties for Discovery Gardens: Maintenance or other tasks needed at each site. Approximately 1.5 hours each: Discovery Garden kick-off (around mid-May) End of season clean-up (around mid-October)

As a non profit organization with a very small staff, Project Grow also has an ongoing need in the following areas. Please check any where you may be able to offer volunteer assistance, we will call you: ! Events: Assist in planning and organizing money-making, educational and community awareness events for Project Grow. ! Fundraising & Grantwriting: Assist Project Grow’s staff and Board in planning and undertaking strategies to ensure Project Grow’s financial stability. . ! Food Bank Coordinator: Organize gleaning of surplus garden produce for contribution to Food Gatherers or other organizations, who will distribute produce to those in need (you will be contacted in June or July). ! Education: Work with or be part of Project Grow’s education committee, teach a class, write a gardening information article. ! Newsletter: Contribute articles, assist with layout, help find sponsors & advertisers. ! Discovery Garden: Help maintain the educational gardens at the Leslie Science Center and at the County Farm Park. Many possible ways to help, from theme garden care to assisting seniors or children with their gardens. ! Office Skills: Support Project Grow staff by aiding with data entry, mailings, filing etc. I also have these special skills that might help Project Grow: _______________________________________


The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009

2009 Gardener Survey SECTION ONE: Financial assistance from public agencies helps keep gardening fees affordable for everyone. The information in this section is required by our funding sources for statistical purposes only; your responses are confidential.


Will your plot be gardened by: Community Group Individual


How many members are in your group or household?


Would you or someone in your group benefit from a wheelchair-accessible garden?


How many years have you gardened with Project Grow?

Members of Same Family or Household Group of Friends or Neighbors



How many additional years have you gardened? (not with Project Grow) _______ 5.

Please fill in the number of persons in each age and gender category who will be gardening in your plot (include yourself): 0 - 12 years

13 - 19

20 - 29

30 - 39

40 - 49

50 - 59

60 - 79

80 years and above

Female Male 6.

Including yourself, please fill in the number of persons who will be gardening in your plot who consider themselves to be: African / African American Hispanic Caucasian ________Other Asian / Pacific Islander Native American Middle Eastern


Please give the number of people who will share in the produce from your plot: (including those who garden)

8. Please indicate your total household income: _____<$19,000 _____$20 - 39,999 _____$100,000 and over _____ $80 - 99,999

_____$40 - 59,999

_____$60 - 79,999

9. We offer special rates for low-income households and non-profit groups. Did you know this? _____YES ______NO 10. What type of living accommodations do you have? _____Rent _____Co-op _____Own Home

_____Student Housing



11. How did you find out about Project Grow? (please check all that apply) Project Grow Newsletter Ann Arbor News Ann Arbor Schoolsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Rec and Ed Catalog Project Grow Event/ Class

Ann Arbor Observer

_Word of Mouth Ann Arbor City Parksâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Catalog ___ Project Grow Poster/Flyer ___ Saw a Project Grow Garden Site

Radio Station Project Grow website:


The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009


SECTION TWO: Your responses to the following questions will help us to identify your needs and interests, as we continue to develop quality educational resources for Project Grow gardeners and the community. Please rate your answers on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level of importance and 1 being the lowest. 1.

How important to you is each of these reasons for gardening with Project Grow? 1 2 3 4 5 Community Involvement

1 2 3 4 5 Not Enough Space at Home

1 2 3 4 5 Save Money

1 2 3 4 5 Poor Growing Conditions at Home

1 2 3 4 5 Other: 2.

How important to you is each of the following benefits of gardening? 1 2 3 4 5 Growing Your Own Food

1 2 3 4 5 Financial Savings

1 2 3 4 5 Exercise

1 2 3 4 5 Recreation

1 2 3 4 5 Self Expression

1 2 3 4 5 Contact With Nature

1 2 3 4 5 Sensory Pleasure

1 2 3 4 5 Peacefulness & Quiet

1 2 3 4 5 Other: 3.

Which of the following would make your gardening experience more enjoyable (check all that apply): Knowing More About Gardening


Opportunities to Socialize with Other Gardeners 4.

Please indicate how interested you would be to learn about each of the following : 1 2 3 4 5 Deciding what to plant in your garden 1 2 3 4 5 Figuring out when to plant different seeds/seedlings 1 2 3 4 5 Improving the soil in your garden

1 2 3 4 5 Planning your garden layout

1 2 3 4 5 Proper harvesting

1 2 3 4 5 Getting an early start (coldframes, light tables, etc.)

1 2 3 4 5 Composting

1 2 3 4 5 Identifying and managing weeds

1 2 3 4 5 Preparing your garden for winter

1 2 3 4 5 Buying/ordering seeds and growing plants from seed

1 2 3 4 5 Food preservation and storage

1 2 3 4 5 Identifying and managing plant diseases

1 2 3 4 5 Learning to garden organically

1 2 3 4 5 Identifying and managing insect and animal pests

5. Project Grow offers classes and workshops to Project Grow members and the general public throughout the year. If there are particular classes that you like to see us offer, please use the space below to let us know about them.


The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009


Blogosphere Continued from page 1 Press. A new book about garden design that focuses on plants and plant selection, which strangely turns much of garden design around. A promising read! Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy, 2007, Timber Press. Wildlife in the garden seems like an oxymoron until you read Tallamy’s discussion of why it is so deeply integral to the success of our gardens and our very lives. Terrific photos paired with clear and compelling explanations make this a fascinating read and expands the garden almost exponentially with the turning of each page. Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden by Sally Jean Cunningham, 1998, Rodale Press. A must-have for any gardener, Cunningham offers an excellent compendium of plant information, gardening techniques, and inspiring photographs.

7i½ÀiʏœV>Ê ̜Ê̅iÊVÊÊÀit ˜˜ÊÀLœÀ½Ãʜ˜ÞÊ Vœ““Õ˜ˆÌއœÜ˜i`Ê }ÀœViÀÞt

Thanks to Seva, located on Liberty Street, for hosting our spring fundraiser and silent auction, Eat Green for Grow. It was not only a very successful event but working with the Seva staff made it a fun evening for all! Fresh Seasons Market, on W. Liberty Street, off Stadium, for providing 8 amazing centerpieces for our Discovery Garden Volunteer Recognition Dinner for the second year in a row. The main part of each centerpiece this year was an heirloom pumpkin, the Long Island Cheese. Volunteers who were lucky enough to get one to take home reported back that they made the best pumpkin pies and muffins. Master Gardener Alumni Association of Washtenaw County for awarding the Discovery Garden program funds to help repair two of the raised beds at our Leslie Science & Nature Center location. Medical Students from the University of Michigan for helping again with our spring cleaning effort in the Discovery Garden. They are a wonderful group to work with each spring. YMCA Youth Volunteer Corp for volunteering thoughout the summer in the Discovery Garden at the Leslie Science Center, weeding and mulching. Toni Hopping for donating a whole pile of useful items: a rake, a pitch fork, two long handled tools, garden gloves, sprinklers, and a set of three planters. Zeta Tau Alpha, an alumni sorority group, for donating to us a second year in a row. This year they donated: knee pads, two hand cultivators, a trowel, garden gloves, and wonderful cosmos flower seeds. Cultivating Communities, a volunteer group from U of M’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens, for helping out in the Discovery Garden, repairing and rebuilding a number of the raised beds used by our senior gardeners. A most sincere thanks to Anna Fisherman and Janell O’Keefe, U of M writing students, who helped both write this year’s grant for the Women’s National Farm & Garden Association and interviewed a few of our Discovery Garden gardeners to help us capture some of the unique experiences the DG program provides.

The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009


Classes 2009 For more information on all classes or to register: call Project Grow at 734-9963169 or visit our web site All classes take place at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. Build Your Own Hoophouse! Saturday, February 7, 10am Instructor: Joan Bailey Learn how to start the growing season a bit early and extend it longer in the fall. We’ll share our experience building, maintaining, and growing for the first year, and get you off on the right foot for your own hoophouse adventure. Winter Seed Sowing Saturday, February 7, 1pm Instructor: Monica Milla You’ve heard of starting seeds indoors to get a jump on spring, but it’s also possible to start seeds outdoors in winter! Monica Milla, author of Fun with Winter Seed Sowing, will show you how to start and raise hardy seedlings in containers made of reused, inexpensive materials you can store conveniently on your back porch. Winter sowing works with vegetables, perennials, biennials, annuals, natives, and woody plants. Each attendee will winter sow seeds in a milk jug to take home. $10 materials fee. Introduction to Organic Gardening Saturday, February 21, 10am Instructor: Royer Held Created for beginning organic gardeners, this class will teach you basic methods. The class will cover topics such as soil quality and amendments, planning the garden and plant variety choices, fertilizers and other organic plant care methods.

be easily grown in southeastern Michigan. In this class, learn about their history, characteristics, and how to raise them from seed or tubers. Cultivating Flavor Saturday March 28, 10am Instructor: Mark Baerwolf In this class Mark Baerwolf, manager of Cornman Farm, will share his experience raising high-quality produce for Zingerman’s Roadhouse restaurant. The class will explore how organic gardening practice, soil structure, plant varieties, cultivation methods, season and weather affect the flavor, color, texture and nutritional value of produce. The effects of various storage, preservation and preparation methods on flavor will also be discussed. Tomatoes and Peppers: From Seed to Shining Seed Saturday, April 4, 10am Instructors: Tom Scheper and Royer Held Learn the secrets of prize-winning gardeners Tom Scheper and Royer Held on how to select, start, and grow delicious organic tomatoes and hot peppers. Come learn about the best cultivars to grow and get tips to ensure a bountiful harvest. Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener Saturday, April 11, 10am Instructor: Royer Held Remember your high school biology class? How about a quick refresher with some ideas about how to put Mendel’s ideas to work in your garden? Learn what it takes to shape the course of evolution and create your own plant varieties.

Enjoying and Preserving Heirloom Vegetable Varieties Saturday, March 7, 10am Instructor: Royer Held Learn about the multitudes of heirloom vegetable varieties that are maintained by home gardeners like you. Discover the importance of seed saving and key seedsaving techniques. Find out how to create your own heirloom vegetable varieties. Potato Seeds, Seed Potatoes and Sweet Potato Slips: Growing Spuds in Michigan Saturday, March 21, 10am Instructor: Royer Held All kinds of unusual potato varieties can


The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009

2009 Organic Gardener Certificate Program WCC and the Ann Arbor area’s Project Grow Community Gardens will again offer the Organic Gardener Certificate program in winter semester of 2009. This program will give home gardeners and professional landscapers the knowledge and skills needed to establish and maintain vegetable and ornamental gardens organically. Classes can be taken individually or as a series. Individuals who complete the required seven classes, a final exam and a 20-hour volunteer component will receive a certificate in Organic Gardening. Students will have one and one half years to complete their volunteer hours. Required Courses: Introduction to Organic Gardening Soils, Compost and Organic Fertilizer Advanced Organic Vegetable Gardening Organic Pest and Disease Management Landscaping with Native Plants Organic Weed Control Advanced Organic Lawn Care Elective Courses: Easy Organic Fruit Growing To register, visit Washtenaw Community College’s LifeLong Learning site at: (go to the “Licensing & Certification” section, then under “Gardeners“, click on “Organic Gardener Certificate”). For registration questions, call WCC LifeLong Learning at (734) 973-3543.

Hybrids Continued from page 1 At the time I was thinking that this must have been some other heirloom variety that I had mislabeled. I saved the seed and grew out about half a dozen plants the following year. None of the fruit produced on these plants matched the prize winner from the year before! Some were pink and some were yellow. All were nice sized beefsteaks. At this point I had the evidence I needed to indict the bees. The variation I was observing was clearly associated with an F2 generation cross. My prize-winner had been an F1 hybrid. I started investigating my second case against the bees in the fall of that year. I have a habit of letting volunteer tomatoes grow in my Project Grow plot, especially if they are in a spot where they aren’t competing with other plantings. As I was cleaning up the garden at the end of the season, I happened upon one of these plants that had a nice set of red fruit measuring about 1.5 inches in diameter. They looked so good I tried one right in the garden and was favorably impressed. I thought it might have been a seedling of Glasnost, a rather tasty Russian heirloom that I had grown the previous season. Again, I saved the

seed and grew out a dozen plants. Half of these plants produced fruit that was similar to the tomato I had sampled the previous fall. Most of the rest were of the same size, but were dusky brownish red inside and out. One plant had yellow fruit and another had green fruit. Another F2 outcome; convene the grand jury. My most notorious case came to light this summer. As a member of Seed Savers Exchange, I obtain seed of unusual tomato varieties from other members. Last year I planted seed I had received of a variety named Grub’s Mystery Green: “80 days, indet., potato leaf plant with a high yield of 8-12 oz. green and amber fruit with excellent flavor, from David Lockwood, Australia.” How could you go wrong? The plants that came up in the garden were not green. They were not potato leaf. The fruit were pink in color and had pink flesh. Every plant produced exactly the same type of fruit – very meaty interiors with about half of the seed cavities filled completely with flesh. All of this evidence pointed to an F1 hybrid. All I needed to do was grow out a few plants and check for F2 variation and the case would be closed. I grew out 40 plants of the suspected cross. Right away the evidence showed up. Twenty-five percent of the seedlings had potato leaf foliage. I had no idea that potato leaf foliage was a recessive trait. Mendel would be proud. Then the fruit started to show up. Among the forty plants, every color of the tomato spectrum was present except a true orange. I had yellows ranging from very light (what some would call

“white”) to lemon. I had greens, reds and browns. Each had its own flavor profile. Some had the filled seed cavity trait, but the trait was not as pronounced as it was in last year’s fruit. Needless to say, I saved the seed as evidence. As I write this, the bees have entered into plea bargaining. Their counsel is asking for leniency. They say that the bees really don’t interfere with the preservation of heirloom varieties and that, in fact, we wouldn’t have the thousands of heirloom tomato varieties without the judicious intervention of bees. Counsel argues that gardeners often fail to see the potential for new crosses that is plainly evident to their clients. Unless varieties get crossed, there is no way to understand tomato genetics. The bees, they say, are only trying to help. I now have seed collected from hundreds of different plants that the bees are telling me have great promise for becoming tomorrow’s heirloom tomato varieties. I can see their point. These crosses exhibit hybrid vigor. They grow more luxuriantly, produce more fruit than the typical heirloom variety and display increased resistance to disease. The bees point out that since heirloom varieties are self-pollinating, these crosses will stabilize over time, provided gardeners are willing to continue to grow them generation after generation. I don’t have enough space to do this myself, but perhaps some of you might be interested in helping make the case for the bees. If enough of you step forward, I’ll consider dropping the charges. Meet me at the Project Grow Seed Swap and we’ll talk.

2008 Membership Meeting and Board Elections This year’s annual meeting was lively and well-attended. We began with Melissa, our executive director, presenting a ‘year-in-review’ that touched on all Grow’s various activities. The most exciting and challenging development has been assessing whether it makes sense for Project Grow to begin a much closer working relationship with the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and if so what shape that partnership should take. A committee of gardeners and volunteer board members are deliberating and will be meeting with representatives of Matthaei over the next few months to see whether an arrangement can be worked out. Finally, one returning and three new volunteer board members were elected: Dustin Underwood, Catherine Riseng, Kirk Jones, and Royer Held. **Coming soon! Minutes to board meetings (starting with Jan 09) will be published online so you can keep up on goings on and things in the works.**

The Project Grow Community Gardener

Pre-Season 2009


1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor MI 48105

Non Profit Org. US POSTAGE PA I D Ann Arbor Michigan Permit No 289

Project Grow Pre-Season 2009 Newsletter  

Project Grow Pre-Season 2009 Newsletter