Author Archives: Frank Cetera

Gift Cards for Spring Plant Sale Now Available!

That’s right, just in time for holiday gift giving.  What better gift than the gift of greenery.  Our Spring Perennial and Native Plant Sale is entering it’s 5th year and it gets bigger and better each year (in partnership with the Bread and Roses Collective).

Our plants are sourced from our community growing sites right in the City of Syracuse, from the Rahma Food Forest on the Southside, the 610 Gifford Street Community Garden in the Near Westside, and volunteers’ own homesites in a variety of locations.

To see a list of what we had to offer this past Spring of 2020, visit our plant sale inventory sheet (note, this list will be updated for the 2021 plant sale and is subject to change).

Gift cards can be redeemed for anything on our available list starting on April 1st 2021.  So give a gift today that will extend out mission, vision, and plants plants plants to more people in and around Syracuse and Onondaga County!

You can purchase gift cards form our Square e-commerce site at  https://squareup.com/gift/CAB9FQXG8VXT6/order

To take advantage of the discount promotions ($5 off a $20 purchase, or $10 off a $35 purchase) for being a supporting member through our Patreon account, first visit: https://www.patreon.com/alchemicalnursery and sign up for the $2.00 or higher monthly donation level.

NOTE: Gift cards only redeemable for Alchemical Nursery Project inventory items (Code ANP).

Stop the Zombie Bind Weed! Halloween Cleanup

Clean Up Day on Saturday October 31 at 2pm!
The Rahma Food Forest (3100 South Salina St) is under attack by hungry hungry bind weed. This vine is growing out of control like a zombie and it must be stopped. We need your help eradicate this invasive weed and protect the fruit trees and berries.
To kill zombies, you need to destroy their brains, best one with a chainsaw, machete, or sword.
To stop an invasive weed you must pull it from the root. Best done wearing gloves. We will also sheet mulch with cardboard and leaves to slow the bind weed from growing back.
Come prepared to be COVID safe and garden safe:
– masks required when working along side other volunteers!
– dress for the weather!
– bring your work gloves, weed forks, and hand spades if you have them.
– Hand sanitizer will be provided.
– Bring your own water.
If you REALLY plan to attend, RSVP here so we can have an accurate head count and can more effectively plan for providing supplies and the work that can be  done: https://forms.gle/58c33f2ps8sFPKHQA

Fall To-Do at 610 Gifford Community Garden

We had a fun fifth year at 610 Gifford St in 2020, and it’s time to clean up, organize, and prepare for 2021. If you want to pick one day to visit and lend a hand this fall, this coming Saturday October 24th is it, 11:00 am start time.

Here’s our Fall To-Do List in pictures:

 

Constant vigilance with the bindweed.  Concentrating this week on the strawberry beds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing doing here, just a note that we repurposed the former potato bed with some kale seedlings and some black currant cuttings we hope will root that we salvaged from one of the black currant bushes that was damaged by a falling tree branch during last week’s storm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvesting of the highbush cranberry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard to see, but would like to dig out the coneflower from the middle of this bed and transplant somewhere near the front of the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This former radish and herb bed will become the new potato bed, we have taters to plant on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean up of the corn and squash bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This perennial bed will be cleaned up and receive a major batch of new asparagus crowns to expand this crop.  With care to also select for the raspberry that have moved into this bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pull the mint from this middle bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another shot of the asparagus bed from the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rhubarb bed will also be a bit reorganized.  Two of the rhubarb are growing too close together. We will dig up divide and plant out with better spacing in the same bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another shot of the rhubarb bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The potatoes for planting.  Fall potato plantings requires they be placed a few inches below ground and it is not necessary to chit (cut and dry) them first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The asparagus crowns that Frank dug from Brady Farm, they were giving them away as they renovate the bed the asparagus were in for a different crop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MENTION: Syracuse gardens offer residents sense of community during pandemic

“For residents in food deserts, community gardens can offer inexpensive access to high-quality produce.

“If you can save $20 on your food costs, that can be significant for some families who are in a lower income bracket,” said Frank Cetera, who operates the Edible Forest Snack Garden on South Salina Street.

Cetera saw increased interest in community gardening after the pandemic began. Many people, such as Lane, were simply looking for an outlet and a reason to leave the house.

The Salina Street garden, which allows any Syracuse resident to pick food from the plants growing there, is open 24/7, Cetera said.

“Good food, organically-grown food, is not cheap,” Cetera said. “You can spend a couple dollars just on a small container of raspberries, but we have many berries available for picking at our gardens so every little bit helps.”

Cetera is also the president of the Alchemistry Nursery Project, which promotes urban agriculture in Syracuse. Through conferencing sessions, he and other members of the project have offered advice on gardening and answered questions about how people can start gardens at home, he said.

“Some people who are more susceptible to coronavirus may not want to come into a garden space even if it is outdoors because there are a lot of people in that space,” Cetera said. “So we help them in their own homes by sending (raised beds) out and giving them seeds and so forth.””

Read the full story at http://dailyorange.com/2020/09/syracuse-gardens-offer-residents-sense-community-pandemic/

 

 

Win-Win-Win Campaign: ANP Paid Garden Stewards Program

Our Fall/Winter/Spring fundraising campaign this year will be to raise a pool of funds to use as stipends for paid labor of community members doing stewardship and maintenance work on our community growing and public harvest sites.

OUR WIN-WIN-WIN CAMPAIGN

Matching starts at 8 AM on Tuesday, DONATE on GIVING TUESDAY as close to 8 AM or after in order to have the best chance for your gift to be matched 100% by Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donate/172183821265202/

One of our challenges through the years has been recruiting enough volunteers to maintain and steward our project sites. As our project sites grow, that challenge is even greater and more important.  Alchemical Nursery started public forest gardening in 2012 with the creation of the Rahma Edible Food Forest Snack Garden in the Southside at 3100 South Salina St in partnership with the Rahma Free Health Clinic.  In 2013 we moved our home offices to the Bitternut Homestead on Otisco St, where we manage the propagation and potting for our annual Spring native, edible perennial plants fundraising sale in partnership with the Bread and Roses Collective. In 2015, we developed the 610 Gifford Street Community Garden on a leased Land Bank property.  In 2018 we began stewarding the Gifford Shonnard Meadow Orchard to preserve peach trees, apple trees, and black currant bushes that had been abandoned.  And now in 2021 we are launching The Depot Tool Share, Bike Kitchen, and Seed Library at 713 Marcellus St, in addition to geographically-distributed COVID19 relief efforts including our Raised Beds for Food Sovereignty mutual aid campaign.

Our project sites are located in two of the poorest census tracts in the city.  Syracuse’s census tract 30, the Near Westside, has a median household income of only $12,823; census tract 58, part of the Southside, has a median household income of only $26,364 (https://datausa.io/profile/geo/syracuse-ny/#economy).  In order to bolster the resiliency of these communities, we must bring resources into them. And so we ask for your help in developing our “ANP Paid Garden Stewards Program” by donating to the campaign that will create a pool of money that will be:

  • a WIN for residents of our project site communities by providing paid working hours;
  • a WIN for Alchemical in providing a much higher level of needed maintenance and development of the project sites than can be achieved on a volunteers-only basis;
  • a WIN for Syracuse by enhancing and demonstrating the ecological and economic value of community growing landscapes as a integral part of our city to be initiated and nurtured.

We hold no naive notions that we will be able to hire full-time staff in the next year. Nonetheless we know that for many people (for example previously incarcerated persons re-entering the workforce, students needing part-time work, or people working in low-wage jobs seeking to supplement their income with fulfilling hands-on work), the need is great and we hope to provide:

  • some income from honest-to-goodness, dirt-under-your-fingernails, sweat-on-the-nape-of-your-neck, fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-in-your-arms work,
  • skillbuilding for food sovereignty,
  • connection to neighborhood greening project sites and residents.

Please help by contributing to the Paid Garden Stewards Program 

Our goal is to raise $11,683.20 which will provide for employment of one or more individuals from April through October for a total of 600 stewardship hours at one or more of our project sites. This will be our biggest campaign raise of funds from our supporters and members in the history of our activism, but after 10 years of operations and resilience, we can take this next step with you. This will move us forward in a proactive vision of a garden city that provides right livelihood in ecological landscaping and food production The challenge is to convert more of your personal charitable budget to land-based educational and work assets that gives people work towards right livelihood, while growing greater momentum over time, for people who are struggling in our community.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

BASE GOAL: 20 hours/week for 30 weeks (from April-October) at $16/hour living wage rate = $9,600 gross wage payments. Plus 8% wage taxes ($768).  Plus 6.7% workers comp NYS Insurance Fund rate for class code 0042 Landscape Gardening ($643.20). Total cost = $11,011.20.  

STRETCH GOAL: Our stretch goal for any monies raised above and beyond this initial amount will be used for engaging the services of a professional payroll/human resources agency, rather than our Board volunteer time, to provide an employee handbook, handle check writing, and provide tax and insurance oversight for our employees.

Matching starts at 8 AM on Tuesday, DONATE on GIVING TUESDAY as close to 8 AM or after in order to have the best chance for your gift to be matched 100% by Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donate/172183821265202/

Stewards Team List and Communications

We have a special email list for those who are actively involved in steward work at our project sites. It is a weekly update on progress and next steps, event scheduling, and other odds and ends.  If you would like to be included, please email info@alchemicalnursery.org with your request.  Here is a sample of the emails from the past couple weeks:

July 28th 2020 ANP Stewards Reports and Project Site Updates

First raised bed install

July 22nd 2020 ANP Stewards Reports and Project Site Updates

GENERAL
We still have 1 position in our Board of Directors to fill currently, have you considered serving in this way yet?  Please contact me with questions you may have.
Our 713 Marcellus St Lending Library site is now on a secure server and is now accepting payments for memberships.  Pledge your support by becoming a paying member today. Visit https://alchemicalnursery.lend-engine.com/ to join us.
610 GIFFORD ST COMMUNITY GARDEN
We will be meeting at 9 am this Saturday at Gifford garden.  Lots of currant harvest still available.  We’re in prime growing season, so necessary to stay on top of weeding. Fence repairs also need made, and shade cloth finish installation.  Let me know if you know you’ll be coming. Here’s Susan’s report from the past few weeks: “Welcome back!  I hope it was cooler where you traveled to than it has been in Syracuse.  Kathy and I were at the Gifford St. garden at 9:00 yesterday and on July 11 (she was also there on July 4).  We weeded; trimmed unruly plants; harvested raspberries, currants, radishes, and yarrow; and staked up some sprawling tomato plants.  (More tomato cages are needed.)  Fortunately, a couple of good rainstorms have kept the garden watered for the past two weeks, so we haven’t yet had to use the hydrant and raggedy hoses.”
As Susan mentioned, we need tomato cages, if you have any extra in the back of your garage or basement and want to donate, please let us know and bring them by.
RAHMA EDIBLE FOOD FOREST GARDEN
We are planning to go on Friday evening to harvest jostaberry and golden currants, they’ll dry up on the bush if we don’t get them soon, I picked a whole quart in only 5 minutes the other day, so it’s not too time consuming.  if you join us we’ll also do some trash pickup and weeding of the front corner.  Contact me via this thread so we can coordinate a time to meet that is best for everyone who’s coming.
 
Please bring a haul of cardboard if you can for our stash so we can continue sheet-mulching. 
713 MARCELLUS STREET DEPOT
Likely will be at 713 some point Saturday afternoon or evening, time to be determined based on a number of factors.  One of which is we are hoping to do the first trial install of the metal raised beds we are providing as mutual aid, and are scheduling that right now; will update the group once I know more.
OTHER
The Oswego Shonnard Orchard Meadow is also flowing with black currants, we picked 6 quarts in a half hour on Sunday, please visit if you’d like to harvest (701 Oswego St, corner with Shonnard St).

Raised Beds for Food Sovereignty Mutual Aid

WHAT IS IT

Do you struggle to afford fresh food? Do you wish you had the tools and resources to grow your own vegetables? Apply to The Raised Beds for Food Sovereignty Mutual Aid program to request a raised garden bed, soil, seeds, and gardening instruction for your household.
With support from the Gifford Foundation, The Alchemical Nursery Project is able to provide 15 raised garden beds to 15 households in Syracuse, NY that face financial and health vulnerability (based on U.N. and C.D.C guidelines).

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

If you fall into any of the following categories below you will be considered a priority recipient while materials supplies last. We do not have the capacity to analyze all applicant’s personal data or health records, so we are using the honor system, based upon what you tell us. The raised beds and materials will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from those applying who fall into these categories:

HOW TO APPLY

Requests are accepted on a rolling basis; the first round of submissions that have been received will be processed starting on Wednesday June 17th. Requests must include:
  • Your Name, Address, and Contact Information,
  • Your Risk Category from the list above,
  • Why you are interested in receiving a raised bed,
  • and what support you will need gardening.

Submit requests via:

  • email to info@alchemicalnursery.org; OR
  • Text or phone call to 315-308-1372; OR
  • FB message to https://www.facebook.com/AlchemicalNursery, OR
  • Postal letter to 717 Otisco St, Syracuse, NY 13204; OR
  • Come in person to 610 Gifford St Community Garden on Saturdays at 11:00 AM

Spring Crowdfunding Campaign for the Marcellus Street Gardening and Bicycling Center

Crowdfunding a community resource tool library and materials depot for gardening, bicycling, and home landscaping.  Building capacity for food sovereignty, mobility needs, and pride in home and self.

For our spring fundraiser, The Alchemical Nursery is announcing the creation of the Marcellus Street Gardening and Bicycling Center.  The project began with the goal of saving another green space from going under the pavement of another developer for a parking lot.  That campaign was successful, and now we’re moving on to developing the small structure on the back of the site.

See all the details of the project, including the budget, and make your donation at https://ioby.org/project/marcellus-street-gardening-and-bicycling-center

All donations will be matched 1 for 1 by Ioby since the Near Westside is a target neighborhood for The Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge, which “supports residents as they take an active role in creating a culture of health in neighborhoods across New York State”.

 

 

Rahma Food Forest Stewardship Team Orientation

This date is for an orientation work day for individuals wishing to join the stewardship team at Rahma. Spots in this training are limited to 15 people in order to provide adequate instruction and attention to volunteer needs. You should be willing to become a return volunteer stewarding the site for other volunteers at future work days. Orientation will include full instructions on processes and procedures for you to be a part of the stewardship team crew :>)  You must register at the Facebook event page or contact Frank directly at 315-308-1372.

The Rahma Edible Food Forest Snack Garden is looking for volunteers for the 2020 season. This permaculture project supports the watershed and the Rahma Free Health Clinic at 3100 South Salina St in the southside of the city through landscape maintenance, stormwater management, providing free pick fruits and berries to the community, and educating clinic members and patrons.

We are looking for groups or families that would like to coordinate a date (or two) for coming and helping. We are also looking for individuals who would like to join the stewardship team, agreeing to host volunteers and be on site once a month during the April-September season. Learn more about the free clinic at https://www.rahmafreeclinic.com/

Join our Stewardship Team at Rahma!

To view the Stewardship Team Scheduling spreadsheet, please visit https://bit.ly/AlchemicalStewardshipSchedule and subscribe to our Calendar of Events!


The Rahma Edible Food Forest Snack Garden is looking for volunteers for the 2020 season. This permaculture project supports the watershed and the Rahma Free Health Clinic at 3100 South Salina St in the southside of the city through landscape maintenance, stormwater management, providing free pick fruits and berries to the community, and educating clinic members and patrons.

We are looking for groups or families that would like to coordinate a date (or two or more) for coming and helping. We are also looking for individuals who would like to join the stewardship team, agreeing to host volunteers and be on site once a month or so (we’re flexible) during the April-September season. Learn more about the free clinic at https://www.rahmafreeclinic.com/

Contact Frank at 315-308-1372 or frcetera@alchemicalursery.org