Got Cardboard?

Friends Meeting House Community Garden – Draft Plan (3/21/12)

If you’ve got plain brown cardboard boxes you’d like to donate to this project, please drop them off at 156 W. Hamilton Ave. We need a lot of cardboard! Enough to cover an area 50′ by 55′ with some overlapping. And if you’re interested in joining a workday, please let me know. -KW

Draft garden renovation plan, based on March 18 meeting notes.


During Winter 2011-2012, Doris Malkmus offered Spring Creek Homesteading Fund the opportunity to apply to manage the Friends Community Garden for the 2012 growing season. We applied, and the building and grounds committee approved the management arrangement in late February.

Our first plan was to aim to open portions of the garden to community members for Spring 2012 planting. However, after site inspection and a discussion meeting on March 18, 2012 with Gary Fosmire, Eli Snyder and Kevin Gombotz, we’ve revised the plan to use 2012 growing season to rest and renovate the lower section and expand the garden into a new upper raised bed section.

Friends members, past-year gardeners and the Friends schoolchildren would plant in the new raised beds in the upper section during the 2012 growing season, while the lower section is resting and being prepared for 2013 cultivation. I consulted with Jackie Bonomo of Healing Ground Permaculture in Lemont to develop a layered mulching plan to both rest the garden, and reduce the accumulated weed pressure.


Friends Garden, photo March 2012

2012 Garden Management Plan

PHASE ONE – Propose detailed project outline to Building & Grounds committee at Friends Meeting for review, revision and approval.

  1. Draft, revise and submit project plan to Gary Fosmire for presentation & discussion at April 9, 2012 committee meeting.
  2. Measure existing fence; calculate new fence needs.
  3. Calculate needs for old hay/alfalfa; switchgrass; wood chips; compost.

PHASE TWO – Gather supplies and equipment; arrange storage pending workdays.

  • Cardboard – appliance stores, dumpsters, households, etc.
  • New fencing (re-use existing fence as much as possible)
  • New stakes for fencing (re-use existing stakes as much as possible)
  • Old hay
  • Wood chips
  • Compost (Borough of State College)
  • Switchgrass (Fifth Estate Farm)
  • Lumber and hardware for raised beds
  • Lumber and hardware for entry gate.
  • Gardening tools (shovels, hoes, rakes, trowels, pitchforks, potato forks, pruners, twine, etc.)
  • Watering containers (watering cans, buckets, etc.)
  • Water pipes
  • Downspout diverter
  • Water tank (300-gallons; donated by Kevin Gombotz)
  • Spigot assembly
  • Ditch digger (rental)
  • Work gloves

Design irrigation system:

  • Consult Asa or Chester re: design and construction plan for irrigation system bringing water through underground pipe from rainwater catchment tank, with option to switch to backup municipal water through Friends Meeting when tank is empty.
  • Draft design and construction plan for water tank placement. Pedestal? Lattice Screening?

PHASE THREE –Workdays – Schedule and recruit volunteers for series of three workdays.

Workday 1 – April 15, 2012 – 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Setting up the raised beds in the upper section.

  • Build two to four raised beds using lasagna mulch permaculture technique in the upper, new section (50 ft by 15 ft). [This is a scheduled Spring Creek Homesteading workshop led by Jackie Bonomo of Healing Ground Permaculture.]

Workday 2 – [Late April weekend afternoon] – Cleaning out and mulching the lower section (50 ft by 55 ft).

  • Remove fencing
  • Rake and pull large weeds
  • Move herbs to raised bed
  • Mark out perennial flower bed for preservation
  • Move compost bins, bricks, timbers, pavers, stakes, etc., to staging area.
  • Mark out four corners with stakes and string
  • Lay one layer of cardboard with overlapping edges over entire lower garden section.
  • Lay one layer of old hay or alfalfa – (approx. 32 square bales/4 round bales spread over garden)
  • Mark out cultivating beds and footpaths (see preliminary diagram, attached)
  • Lay wood chips on footpaths
  • Lay compost on garden bed areas – 3-4 inches thick
  • Lay another layer of old hay or alfalfa on garden beds(approx. 32 square bales/4 round bales)
  • Lay a deep mulch layer of switchgrass on garden beds (approx. 32 square bales/4 round bales)

Workday 3 – [Mid May weekend afternoon] – Re-fencing the new, expanded garden, and cleaning out the briar patch

  • Set posts around expanded (50 ft by 70 ft) garden, including gate posts.
  • Install re-used fencing and new fencing as needed.
  • Install gate
  • Remove wild rose from briar patch
  • Cut back blackberries and black raspberries in U-formations (see Jackie’s diagram)
  • Put wood chips in walking paths

Other Tasks :

  • Cover crop new garden beds with overwintering rye in Fall 2012
  • Work out tool shed/tool storage arrangement
  • Begin building tool collection
  • Draft rental agreement for 2013 community garden season
  • Draft garden policies for 2013 community garden season
  • Consider getting horse and cow manure to add to mulch layers on garden beds

2013 Garden Management Plan

  • Spring 2013 – Open gardens to public rental applications
  • Summer 2013 – Offer hugelkultur workshop using woody debris in Friendly Woods
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