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July 5, 2013

Community garden continues to grow in phase two

By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer

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Community garden continues to grow in phase two
Peggy DiMercurio, Urban Seed secretary, checks on the plants at the Eastpointe Community Garden.
 

EASTPOINTE — In its second season, the Eastpointe Community Garden, formerly Urban Seed, has added an herb garden and expanded the size of the rental garden, the community garden plot and the giving garden, and that’s just the start of the projects they have in store for phase two.

“We finished phase one at the end of last year when we added the additional column at the end to finish off phase one, which is 40 boxes of rental,” said Peggy DiMercurio, garden secretary.

“Now in phase two, we took our donation boxes, which were up front, so this year we expanded and put all of our donation boxes together behind the rental boxes. The first part of phase two has begun and we will be expanding it more.”

Phase two has also included the expansion of the garden pumpkin patch, now located behind the giving garden boxes.

“The small pumpkin patch upfront last year turned into a pumpkin beast,” DiMercurio joked of the reason for moving the patch. “It grew so much, we had to move it back here this year. We planted 48 plants and, depending on how things get pinched off to promote growth, we are hoping to get at least 48 pumpkins.”

They haven’t decided if they want to let each plant sprout more than one pumpkin or prune all but one pumpkin on each plant to promote growth and end the season with prize-sized pumpkins.

Phase two is far from over, and the Urban Seed Committee has big plans for the rest of the season.

“Right now, we are leaving this side of section two clear,” DiMercurio said, pointing to the garden’s west side. “JJ Mich is coming in and is going to expand our water. They donated the water last year, but it is still up in the front and they are going to come in and expand it all the way back this year.”

The donation has been one of the most, if not the most, sizable gifts the garden has received, with an estimated price tag of about $2,550. And that’s not including the $200 check that the Roseville-based water and sewer company donated to the garden at the start of their 2013 season.

Another project they’ll be working on this year is clearing out the weeds and vines that cover the ground and fence in the garden’s north end. While garden volunteers and master gardeners Jamie Rumminger and Eugene Yuells will be doing the labor, they say the project wouldn’t be possible without the support of a longtime local hardware store.

“DeRonne’s Hardware is a big supporter of the garden,” said Yuells. “They bought a bed, and they said that any of the equipment they have available for rent, we can come in and rent it at no charge. We’ve gotten really fantastic support from the community and from the businesses in the community.”

Garden manager Yuells and garden committee member Rumminger are looking forward to getting started on that project, not because they enjoy clearing weeds, but because that will give them some of what they need for their next project, which they are hoping to at least start in phase two.

“For getting rid of all this excess vegetation we have back here, we are going to be putting in a compost bin back here,” Yuells said.

“If you put the correct combination of green and brown compost in there, there is very little scent,” Rumminger said. “We need to keep it down to a low roar and really monitor it all the time to make sure our mix of green and brown compost is correct and no one is throwing any meats, dairies or oils in there, because those create a smell and that’s what attracts rodents.”

The compost bin is a test project for the city, where there is an ordinance against them; if they prove they are successful in keeping the odor down and don’t attract any rats, the city might consider lifting some of its strict composting ordinances.

If that happens, Rumminger and Yuells will likely offer a program on the right way to compost. They’re looking forward to that in the future, too, although probably not in phase two. In general, they want to focus on community outreach and education in the future.

Already, the garden has hosted a meditation program and an ask-a-gardener community event in the 2013 season, and they are hoping to include yoga and other exercise classes, as well, before the end of the season. Yuells and Rumminger are hoping to take it beyond that and are hoping to coordinate programs with the Michigan State University Extension.

For now, they are focused on just tackling one new project at a time until they get a few more volunteers coming out to their Saturday work parties.

Every Saturday, Yuells, DiMercurio, Rumminger, committee members and occasionally volunteers work in the garden from noon to 3 p.m.

“We really need volunteers,” Rumminger said. “We will never, ever, turn down a volunteer. We really need the help.”

The Eastpointe Community Garden is located at 16425 Nine Mile Road in Eastpointe. For more information, call (586) 801-4902, email urbanseed1@yahoo.com or visit www.urbanseed.info.


 

Eastpointe Community Garden needs supplies:

• Tomato cages
• Trellises or material to make trellises
• Staking materials
• Garden tools, especially smaller hand tools
• Rain barrels
• Wheelbarrow
• Lawnmower
• Weed whip
• Mulch
• Topsoil
• Cinder blocks
• Lumber

The garden, formerly known as Urban Seed, is located at 16425 Nine Mile Road in Eastpointe. For more information or to donate, call (586) 801-4902 or email urbanseed1@yahoo.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sara Kandel at skandel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1030.