610 Gifford St Garden SUMMER UPDATE

2024 marks the first year that the 610 Gifford St Community Garden is fully transitioned to all perennial species, making it officially our second forest garden here in Syracuse (along with the Rahma Food Forest Garden at 3100 South Salina St). As projects, people, time and commitments and resources have changed over the years, so has the participation, goals, and vision – as it is, we don’t have regular gardeners to work with annuals as we did at the start, and so instead we now have understories of herbs, wild flowers, and strawberries, shrubs layers of raspberries and currants and elderberry and highbush cranberry, mid-story of peaches, apples, and dogwood and redbud, and overstory of willow, horse chestnut, and maple.

Today, the currants are flourishing, and ready for harvest. In 15 minutes this morning, I picked a whole quart of red currants – we have champagne and black varieties too. It might take you longer if you’re not experienced, but the trick is to know that the berry droops hang underneath the leaves, so lift the branches and pick from below.

I want to thank two new volunteers this year – Ian, who is a student at ESF who has been coming regularly on Saturday mornings to help out in every which way, and Jim who mows our borders and pathways every other week or so. Susan is our most regular, picking trash and weeding the strawberry beds almost weekly. Today I also spent time bagging trash from our trash can, and what has been dumped around it unfortunately. A lot of it is food waste from the convenience and fast food stores nearby, and it can kick up a big stink in this heat. The Little Free Library was not being restocked because ants were getting into it from the trash can below, so I also transitioned it to a new location across the sidewalk. Also, thanks to others who have helped out this year including Carrie, Kathy, Ursula, Antonio, Grace, Sayward, Spencer and Karysa, and anyone else I missed.

We have loads of compost and wood chips on site that would love an extra hand getting spread around, to fertilize and mulch our plants. New gardeners are always welcome, we have a default Saturday morning meet-up time at 9 am if you want to perhaps come out when someone else is around, or you can contact us to check. The garden is always open otherwise, and fruits and berries and herbs are free for anyone to harvest. Please only take what you can use, and give back if you can with volunteer time.

Other special projects for anyone interested in getting active includes finishing tool “shed” build out of pallets so we can store some tools on site, compost bins management, and signage needs.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, we hope to see you out at the garden. If you ant to help out with a very special project near the garden, on Sunday July 21st, starting at 9 am, we will be working on the Community Streets installation in the neighborhood, which will include native perennials tire planter installations, crosswalk painting, and bump-outs painting to slow traffic at the intersection of Ontario st and Gifford St right at the garden’s corner. For more info and to sign-up to volunteer (we need RSVPs sine so much prep is going into the planning of the day and we really need to know who can commit to being there), please visit – http://bit.ly/NWS_CommunityStreets_Volunteer

In Stewardship ~ Frank

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