October 2010

Wednesday, October 20th

Meeting Minutes


In attendance

Cara (and Fern), Deema, Heather P., Hannah, Lon, Melissa, Maggie, Sarah, Pat, Carmen, Frank, Judy, Claire, Greg, Tom, Joe, Mark, Tony, Cassandra, Emerson, Charlie, Val, Anabelle, Yodit, Dana, Vlada (and Alex), Roma



          Name one highlight of your gardening season

            Name one opportunity for growth for our next growing season








Opportunity for Growth





Forgetting to plant bachelor’s buttons, planting them late, but they still come up – an important reminder that the “rules” of gardening need to be taken with a grain of salt & the green signs that everyone used to name their plots!



Being more conscious of the nutrients in the soil and doing more to replenish them


Heather P.



Roof gardening


Becoming a lavender farmer




Lesson learned – no more squash – it takes over your entire plot and then spreads more



Ordering seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library





Variegated chasmanthium and finishing the path in the native plant garden






The “little red arrows pointing up to the sky” – the magenta celosia



Dealing with the white flies that came and killed everything this season






Lizza’s excitement over the first lettuce she’d grown and harvested






The Triple Threat – especially working with Jennifer with the cake sale and the participation of all the gardeners who brought secret sneak-preview Martha Stewart cookies and different organic treats






His tremendous yield of cucumbers – this year getting them to not fight against each other



Remembering that less is better






The Triple Threat





Zinnias, garlic, jalapenos – less variety, minimizing approach really worked



Learning more about weed recognition and knowing what is ok to pull up; learning more about pruning and maintaining plants; cold frames





Making a big, delicious tomato sauce



Some seeds never came up – experimenting with a scarecrow or try to plant from seedlings





Growing eggplant



Trying garlic, potatoes and onions





The new compost bins


The opportunity to fill the new compost bins






Excited to have a plot for the first time – all the sage and mint and jalapeños



Plan out my plot better – more variety





A squash plant choked out a lot of plants, but there was some beautiful corn and tomatoes



Getting to the garden more often and earlier to weed things out





Growing peppers and eggplants


Growing garlic





Growing eggplants and bright red peppers



Pepper recognition without biting into the pepper; trying to re-grow corn; organizing the plot better next year



Tony & Cassandra



The cantaloupe that came up (even though it didn’t taste that good)



Figuring out a better schedule for when to plant things





Being able to balance a newborn and still maintain plot and harvest



Planted tomatoes from seed that came up but yielded little





Growing jalapenos, which I had always resisted – they were so plentiful and I learned a lot about what to do with them (cooking, pickling, relishes, etc.)



Saving seeds from my vegetables





Cara gave a budget report.  Some highlights:

• The garden’s current assets come out to $4,939.57. 

• The garden raised $579.05 from our fund-raising events (The Triple Threat) and $987.00 from our membership dues (which are a sliding scale from $10 to $50).


Earlier in the season, we estimated our income from membership dues would be around $800.  Based on that amount, Cara proposed a spending budget of $500 for plants; $150 for Events and $100 for garden/office supplies, for a total of $750.  Of the money allocated, $568.95 was spent.  Hollenback has never allocated funds to specific categories like this before.  Deema said it was really helpful to see it all written out like this and Cassandra said it will also really help us for next year.


Some expected, up-coming expenditures are $250 for a new battery for the composting toilet; $25 for additional signage for the compost bins; and $40 for anti-mosquito plants.



There was some discussion of the mosquito problem at Hollenback this season.  In addition to the anti-mosquito plants that Ruth researched, Emerson said he would look into the cost and logistics of an electric mosquito zapper.  Mark also brought up a proposal that was made several seasons ago about the possibility of putting up a bat house in the garden, since bats are natural predators of mosquitoes.


New Plants

As decided at our September meeting, Cara bought some tulips, daffodils, clematis, hellebore, 6 ferns and some bleeding hearts.  These will be planted during the workday on this coming Saturday.  Thanks Cara!


Heather P also bought enough Winter Rye to cover everyone’s plot.  Winter Rye is what is known as green manure – it germinates in the winter, sprouts in the spring and it is then tilled into your soil before it goes to seed.  The seeds will also be available at Saturday’s workday.  Any gardener who will not be at the workday who is interested, should contact Heather and she will leave a baggie of it on your plot. (heather.parlier@gmail.com) Thanks, Heather!


Plot Distribution for 2011

As always, in accordance with our membership agreement, plot distribution will take place at our first meeting of the 2011 season in March. 

At that point we will know:

a.       who has fulfilled their membership requirements

b.      which, if any, gardeners are leaving or taking a sabbatical

c.       which, if any, gardeners currently on sabbatical wish to return


all of which will tell us which, if any, plots are available.  If any plots open up, garden members with plots will have an opportunity to leave their old plot and shift into the new plot.  Then, any apprentice members who have fulfilled their membership requirements will be given plots to farm in accordance to their order on the waitlist.


GreenThumb workshop: Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities

This workshop is on Sat., Nov. 20th at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  Greg volunteered to represent Hollenback and place a mulch request on behalf of the garden.  Vlada said she would try to go as well.  Thanks Greg and Vlada!


Transition of Leadership: Hollenback’s next phase


After six seasons as coordinators at Hollenback, Cara and I are stepping down from our positions. 


To put it in gardening terms, if you always plant your tomatoes, season after season, in the same spot of your plot, eventually they will drain all the nutrients from that area of your soil and they will not grow as strong or as fruitful.  It is time for Hollenback to rotate its crop. 


When we first became the coordinators at Hollenback at the beginning of the 2005 season, we were given the password to the garden Yahoo account and a few pictures of events that had happened at the garden and not much else.  At the time, the position of garden coordinator was for life, with no official process for transition.  We would like to build a formalized structure of how leadership should be organized within the garden.  At the meeting, we proposed forming a committee to think about these issues and to try and design some structure for how power will be divided up in the garden.  So far, the Transition Committee is Cara, Mark, Cassandra, Hannah, Tony, and Vlada.  When the committee meets, the time and place will be announced to the entire garden membership, and anyone should feel welcome to attend.  It was proposed that we have an all-member garden meeting during the winter (maybe around January) where the Transition Committee can report on its progress.


We brainstormed some ideas, so that the committee could have some indication of what the members are thinking about leadership:

  1. Several people thought that the leadership would be more manageable if it were divided up between more than two people – perhaps different leaders to handle different parts of the coordinator duties and Cara and I have defined them over the years.
    1. Financial
    2. Communication
    3. Record Keeping
    4. Garden Operations
    5. New Membership
    6. Meetings
    7. Representation in NYC Garden Community
  2. There was an idea of creating a design committee to come up with large scale design plans  and maintain momentum for the development and realization of those plans
  3. There was the idea of having an executive team, with a rotating chair – perhaps with the chair having two-year terms, one year as a learning chair and one year as the main chair.
  4. We will need some process for what happens if no one is interested in assuming necessary leadership positions
  5. We will need to decide what kinds of decisions leadership should be able to make quickly (and on their own) and what kinds of decisions they need to consult with the garden membership.


As Maggie said, when we are finished with this process, Hollenback is going to be even stronger than it is today.


Rebuilding Beds

Hannah and Dana are working together and exploring the idea of purchasing cedar raised bed kits to rebuild their plots.  If you are interested in doing the same, let them know.  They are also looking into seeing if they can write a small grant to pay for the materials.  If you would like more information, you can reach Hannah at (hannahgaye@gmail.com) and Dana at (danaguyet@earthlink.net).



Respectfully submitted by Mark.


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