June 2008

 Minutes for the June 19th Meeting


In Attendance: Lon, John Spinks, Penny, John Ryan, Jennifer, Ingrid, Kate, Sarah, Charlie, Marisa, Pat Gatherer, Gabe, Roma, Kirk, Mark, Cara, Frank, Michael, Hannah and a special guest apperance for BQLT board member and Operations Committee Chair, Pat McCarty



Ice Breaker : What was your worst hairstyle or fashion mistake?

Let’s just say, we all feel infinitely closer to each other.  Triangular curly mullets, tight suits, white socks, jeans with zippers, princess prom dresses, looking good on the outside while sweating on the inside, Dorothy Hammel haircuts, impersonating Hulk Hogan – we’ve all come a long way.



Food Donation: 

Deema continues to organize this new program for Hollenback! 

There are flags with instructions in the shed to put in your plot and indicate which extra vegetables you would like to have donated.  Especially if you are going out of town, put a flag in your plot so that no food will go to waste this summer.

Upcoming collection days are

Tues June 24th  at 3pm (to be donated to the soup kitchen at the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church on Quincy and Franklin) and

July 8th (to be donated to the summer camp for children at the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church)

At the meeting seemed to indicate that there would be little to donate next week, but that people were very supportive and excited for the new program, especially come July and Aug.  Deema is working on making contacts with the food pantry programs that run in July and August at the Faith Assemblies of God Church in Gates and at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church on Washington.

If you are interested in helping Deema with picking or dropping off, please contact her at dmabay@yahoo.com or 917-547-8411.


BQLT Communications Committee

The BQLT Communications committee is charged with the responsiblity for facilitating communication both between the 34 BQLT gardens and between the gardens and the rest of the world.  Sarah Pokora, our representative to this committee, reports back that the 2nd BQLT newsletter has gone out.  This is great progress for the BQLT and Sarah put a lot of work into it.  This committee meets on the 2nd Saturday of every month.

If you would like to get involved with Communications, contact Sarah at sarahpokora@yahoo.com.


Hollenback Soil Testing Update: 

Charlie Bayrer got back soil results from our second round of soil testing in the garden. 

The first was from a combined sample of all 21 raised beds taken at a 10” soil depth.  Lead levels came back at 154 ppm (parts per million).  This was well below the EPA designated hazardous levels of bare soil for kids at 400 ppm and adults at 1200 ppm.  

The second sample was from areas where gardeners plant directly into the soil and there has been significant amendment with compost.  Those plots were Margaret’s, Carmen’s, Frank’s and Pat’s.  Lead levels were around 200 ppm. 

The third sample came from Laurena Covington’s plot, where she plants directly into the soil and there was little compost amendment at the time of the sample (though there has been significant amendment since the sample was taken).  Lead levels were around 400 ppm. 

In all 3 soil samples, ph came back neutral at 7, and the only nutrient that seemed to be low was nitrogen.  To add nitrogen to the soil, Charlie recommends amending the soil 3 times a year (in April, June and Aug) with dried blood, alfalfa meal or cottonseed meal.  Rate of application is 3 cups for a 4 x 8 ft bed.  You can also plant a winter cover crop of nitrogen fixing clover.


Compost Donations:Charlie reported on the organizations/areas the garden has given compost to this spring:  PS 11,  Brooklyn Society of Friends, St. James Block Association, Washington Ave tree pits Block Association, Green Fort Greene, Clinton Hill branh of the Brooklyn Public Library, Myrtle Ave Revitalization Merchants Development Association (for their Greenest Block in Brooklyn planters), and the Cedar Tree Community Garden on Gates.  We received money, a total of $90 from the last two organizations.  The garden is planning a one day compost sale at the Fort Greene Farmers market in the fall.


PS 11 School GardensOur education committee, Dave and Steffanie, along with a tremendous amount of work from Charlie, John and Mark, and the children and science teachers of PS 11, have weeded, mulched, amended and planted 3 large beds for the children’s gardens.  Two of the beds contain annual flowers and one contains vegetables.  It is a beautiful garden, and the children and teachers of PS 11 are grateful for our help.  Also, the two science teachers involved in developing the school gardens brought their science classes into our garden, and used it as a green classroom.







PS 11 School Gardens: Keeping the momentum over the summer

Teachers at the school have asked for help maintaining the garden over the summer when students are gone.  This mostly consists of  watering, weeding and harvesting.  Dave, Charlie and Mark will confirm with PS 11 how we will get access to the space and to their water spigot.  We may have to bring our own hose over to use in their beds.  It was suggested that apprentice gardeners might be interested in helping as it would give them a plot to take care of and enjoy the vegetables from.  Gardeners who volunteered to help were: Penny, Christine, Gabe, Lon and Hannah.


Nicole Cordier’s Sabbatical Year: 

Nicole is going to be giving up her plot for a year.  We asked current members with plots if they were interested in moving or taking over the plot.  John Brooks suggested that he or Maggie might be interested, but did not commit.  If a member with a plot is not interested, then we will offer it to any members without plots and then to our apprentice members.  Anyone who takes the plot over for this season would do so with the understanding that Nicole will have the option of returning to her plot in March 2009.  If she does not want it, then the person who maintains it this summer will get to keep it.


Mohammed and Youth in the garden:We discussed a way to continue to cultivate our relationship with Mohammed, given that he is only 13 and it not an official member and does not have a key.  He is a very responsible and respectful kid, who often comes into the garden with his brother Adam and his cousin Abraham.  He has a few planters near Kriko’s plot and Kriko generously gave him a corner of his plot to grow in as well.  We decided that our policy will be that when Mohammed comes to the garden, he will check in with whatever gardener is present to see if it is ok for him to come in the garden.  Cara and Mark will be contacting Mohammed’s parents to sign a release form to make sure that the garden is not held responsible if something happens while he is in the garden. 


As a general (though flexible) rule, other children who come in must be accompanied by an adult, unless the gardener who is there wants to help the kids engage with the garden.  We decided to go ahead with this rule because of some recent concerns with a group of kids who are aware of the rules, but have been coming into the garden to pick fruit anyway. 


Waitlist Drawing for Apprentice Members:

The garden had a random drawing of apprentice members who are interested in getting plots next summer.  If these gardeners fulfill their membership duties for this summer, they will be eligible for a plot next year in the following order (but after current members): Jennifer, Penny, Judy, Tree, Leslie, Christine, Cambra, & Heather


On the Horizon

Garden event on Sat Aug 2nd


Start thinking about what kind of even you’d like to see in the garden.  Movie night?  BBQ?  Games night?  Live Music?  We’ll brainstorm and decide what kind of event to have at our July meeting.


Workday June 28th, 11:00 am


Workday for water tank beautification Wed July 16th

Marisa and Ingrid lead an effort to put a primer the rainwater tank so that it will be ready to be painted on our July 19th  workday.



*Our Next Meeting is Saturday July 19th in the garden from 11 to 1:00 followed by a Workday from 1:00 until 6:00pm*




 These minutes were respectfully submitted by Mark and Cara



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