July 17, 2021 Meeting Minutes


Thanks to A for the amazing job weeding the main path, and to W for doing her weed talk today.

Membership reminds people that when we are in the garden, the gate needs to be wide open (not just a few inches) and that we need to welcome people in as they may be hovering by the gate. We’re not a private garden and the space is for the whole community to enjoy.

We need garbage committee volunteers; will send out in an email request.

Hose info: please remember to coil and *turn off* the hose when you leave, and also to drain it after you turn it off so that the water isn’t 1000 degrees when the next person turns it on. The “extra” water can be used to hose off the hose itself, which gets dirty, or to fill one of the standing barrels.

It was brought up that the hose still leaks; E will get gaskets.

Treasurer info: M said that we have about $3,900 in the bank.
Reimbursement info was shared, which is to email garden related purchases directly to Dand C for approval in advance (hollenbackcommunitygarden@gmail.com) and to email hcgbk.treasurer@gmail.com for M to process your reimbursement (through paypal).
M is looking at making an end of season report to make a budget at the opening of the season possible next year.

Events committee asked people if they have ideas for talks–like We’s weed talk–that happen at meetings & workdays. Is there a topic you’d like to see some education about? A talk you can give yourself? Reach out to the hollenback email if so.

One event that is being considered is an evening potluck, as food brings people together. We should also start thinking ahead to Harvest Fest, when we have a fun low-key contest tasting produce we grew and prepared. So put down your pickles! 9/25 is a possible date.

W mentioned for Harvest Fest that there are a lot of vendors who have supported us in the past for our raffle at the event, who could well be approached especially as we didn’t have the event last year.

We realized that one of our September meetings fell on Yom Kippur, so that will be rescheduled; stay tuned for that update.

S took a class through Greenethumb about multi-grafted fruit trees: and we will be getting a multi-grafted fruit tree! Greenethumb will come to confirm the best location, but possibly where the butterfly bush was (we need to take out the stump) or behind the white shed on the schoolside of the garden could be spots. Depending on her schedule, she might need a volunteer to attend an orientation for this project. So stay tuned for that request (will get a credit for going).

R reminded that for people who can’t make it to our scheduled meetings, there are opportunities for credits by attending BQLT or Greenethumb meetings or workshops. Membership sends opportunities out from time to time in an email, but if there is a meeting or workshop you’d like to attend for a credit, do reach out through the Hollenback email to get it approved and tallied.

Speaking of fruit, P mentioned that now that our apple tree is so healthfully full of fruit, it’s actually important to strategically remove some of the unripe fruit so that the branches do not become too heavy. He would do this at the workday. W said the green apples could be made into chutney.

Speaking of apples, it was pointed out that removing the fallen apples from the ground around the tree on a regular basis is important for our rat situation, so if we could all help out with that!

Next we talked about the rats and received a few updates.

The vote will go out electronically very soon. Options are

  1. No Kill: Cleaning garden making it less hospitable
  2. No Poison Kill: Cleaning from Option 1 plus burrow destruction and non-poison traps
  3. Poison Kill: Cleaning from Option 1 plus burrow destruction and poison baits

After the meeting that we had about rats on zoom, SC wanted to make it clear that, for all the pros and cons of each option, these do proceed 1, 2, 3 in terms of effectiveness at getting rid of rats, with 1 the least effective and 3 the most effective.

C still hasn’t heard back from the school after attempting several different communication approaches; she will walk over there in person and see if that helps. (Recap: we want to acknowledge the problem together, we want to know if they’re baiting, what plans are for summer school and the food distribution project, and how long the construction goes.)

Traps research is ongoing (for the trapping but not poisoning option) but the consensus is that many different types of traps should be used as the rats figure one type out and avoid it.

We are still working on connecting with BQLT for support and advice re: physical signs should we use poison bait.

Reminder that BQLT will pay for extermination but only the exterminator who will only offer poison baits, so the middle road where we use traps but not rat poison will be paid for by us.

People power to remove carcasses and/or dying rats will be ESSENTIAL to our ability to implement option 2 or 3, whether we go with a smaller committee of 7 or so people or a daily signup sheet for everyone who can stomach taking a shift. (It was asked at some point if an outside service could be hired; the Rat-Be-Gone service–of Eric Adams fame–was contacted but is quite expensive at $250 a month.) Since neighbors on the block are putting out poison bait, we are already dealing with the need to dispatch/remove poisoned rats.

Dry ice is readily available for $1.40 a pound as long as you get ten pounds (less is $2 a pound) from Brooklyn dry ice, if we want to try that out should we vote for burrow destruction. This method, which means the rats go to sleep underground, was discussed at the rat meeting. Brooklyn Dry Ice is in Midwood so a member with access to a car would be very helpful if we go with that technique–would receive a credit.

Attendance at the meeting was a little shy so rather than hold a vote we went with a general consensus to leave the temporary scraps pause up to SC. Claire announced that we will pause for at least one more month as that area is still being evaluated for possible burrows and as it has taken us this long to even decide on our extermination voting options.

As the SC mentioned in an email they sent out, the recent raised-hand in-person vote made some people feel pressured. In the interests of making it widely accessible for everyone to vote, we are going to send out the vote electronically. This will not be as 100% blind as paper slips in person, since the SC will need to tally the votes, but how each member votes will be kept confidential. When that vote goes out, please do respond, and promptly.