Monday, September 26, 2011

The Green Alley work day pilot yields tremendous outcomes!

The thick of the alley work event
Over 30 volunteers turned out for our alley clean-up on Saturday Sept. 24th! The crew pulled weeds, pulled trees, disposed of garbage, mulched, and planted!  Many thank-you's go out to neighbors, Hamline-Midway Environmental Group (HMEG) members, Hamline Midway Coalition's Community Building Committee (CBC),  and our Master Gardener Diane Fraser.  The alley was transformed when trash-filled, overgrown, and untidy spaces were cleaned up and planted. Plus, some block residents connected for the first time while others strengthened their relationships throughout the process. Better neighbor connections and well-kept spaces can help prevent crime such as illegal dumping, graffiti, and residential burglaries. The vision of the project was to support residents who want to improve their alleys for water quality, safety, food production, and aesthetics. This block on Charles Ave between Griggs and Syndicate got 20 property owners on board with a green alley pilot project, and in exchange, received organizing help and volunteer assistance for a Green Alley Work Day from the CBC and HMEG. One alley resident and work day volunteer expounded on the benefits of the event:

"Many alley [spaces] that looked derelict now look clean and tended-to. I met neighbors I'd never spoken with before, and had great conversations with residents I almost never see. [Plus] I got to use a weed wrench!" Another volunteer said, "Extreme Alley Makeover should be the name of this program - beautiful transformations of neglected space!"

Dozens of block residents turned out only to be greeted by many volunteers from the greater neighborhood who were there just to lend a hand for the day. HMEG and the Southeast Como Improvement Association lent a large supply of tools that included a Weed Wrench.  There was a second, and larger, Weed Wrench provided by Midway neighbor Chad from the U of MN.   Our Master Gardener, Diane, was an inspiration and energetic leader that would not accept an unfinished job.  Further, she lent her truck that was used to rip out stumps of weed trees (this activity went on for about 5 solid hours).  The crew hauled 10 truckloads of weeds and brush to the compost site, and 1 truckload to the Ward 4 Clean-up day (concurrent timing was all part of the plan). Lots of transplant daylilies and hostas came from area yards, and a nice batch of natives plants came from Horton Park community gardeners and friends from the University of MN.  Short native plants will hopefully colonize some of the cleared spaces, and provide food for native pollinators.  

Once the majority of the hard work was done, the group came together for a chili feed potluck.  A perfect accent to the productive day.

See the photos of the work event here.
Some before & after shots are in this album.

Residents along the alley are saying that it looks great and they are very thankful. They recognize many benefits from this type of greening, including community building, crime prevention, and beautification.

Acknowledgment goes to Faith Krogstad for contributing to this article.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Free Swamp White Oak

We had a fun and successful tree distribution on Saturday 9/17/2011 with 63 trees being distributed to residential properties of the Hamline Midway neighborhood.  Most of The specimens were fruit trees (apricot, cherry, plum, serviceberry).  Another step towards Midway local food security. 

However, we have one Swamp white oak tree that needs a good home.  It is in a 5-gallon container and looks very healthy.  Swamp white oak trees need a large space to grow (H:  50-60’, W: 40-50’) so if you know of a neighbor who has a perfect spot, or another place (park, school ground, business or school) in the Hamline Midway for this tree, please let us know.  First come, first served!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Care of Young Fruit Trees" Workshops on Sept. 17th - Free

The Hamline Midway Environmental Group (HMEG) and Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply are offering two "Care of Young Fruit Trees" workshops taught by Rebecca Koetter. The classes will be held on on Saturday Sept 17th at Egg|Plant during HMEG's tree distribution day. The 45 minute sessions will be held at noon and 3:00pm. Topics to be covered will include fruit tree planting, mulching, watering, pruning (very basic), reasons for fruit sanitation, rodent protection, and product supply needs. These classes support HMEG's goal of offsetting tree canopy losses in the Midway due to emerald ash borer and help ensure good production from fruit trees that are included in this distribution.

These workshops are specifically designed for the
HMEG Tree Team fall 2011 distribution, but they are free and open to anyone. No reservations required.

For those planning on planting- be sure to call Gopher One before you dig: (651) 454-0002

About the instructor: Rebecca Koetter is a Research Fellow at the UMN and a full time manager of several edible trees and shrubs at the TRE Nursery and on the St Paul U of MN campus. She works on urban forestry outreach education programs with the Department of Forest Resources in St. Paul.

What: "Care of Young Fruit Trees" classes
Where: Eggplant Urban Farm Supply, 1771 Selby Ave., St. Paul.
When: 12:00 pm (noon) & 3:00 pm
Who: Taught by Rebecca Koetter, sponsored by Hamline Midway Environmental Group (HMEG) and Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Midway All-Community Garden Potluck & Books on Sept 25th

You are invited to the “Hamline Midway Community Garden Potluck” at Horton Park on Sunday, September 25 at 12:00 p.m. This invitation extends to ALL fellow HM community gardeners, supporters, interested friends, family members, and neighbors, to make this a CELEBRATION of neighborhood community gardening!

In addition to enjoying lunch in the park, we will also have the opportunity to view a short Public Art St. Paul video that highlights Hamline Midway community gardens! The footage for this video was taken during a gathering this summer at Groundswell where a number of community gardeners from the Midway described gardening together, the gardens themselves and the important placemaking roles of these spaces. The staff from Public Art St. Paul synthesized our comments and overlaid them with video they shot in the gardens.

Further, we are inviting attendees to the potluck to bring a new or favorite gardening book! Soon we will be under a blanket of snow, and garden inspiration will be a welcomed antidote. After perusing each other's titles at the potluck, we will have new book wish-lists ready for the upcoming dark and cold nights.

On the 25th, bring along any kind of food that you would like to share, your own place setting to eat from, and of course a book! Horton Park is located between Minnehaha and Englewood Avenues, and between Hamline and Albert Avenues. Look for us at the picnic tables in the middle of the park. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating the fruits of our labor.

*Note - the Hamline Thomas Community Garden potluck for September 18 has morphed into this event and will NOT be held on the 18th - See you at Horton on the 25th!