Archive for June, 2012

June 22, 2012

Seed it, Stake it, Sow it: Garden Savings Strategies

Gardening is a very popular and potentially inexpensive pastime.  However, if you’re not careful how you spend your gardening budget, you could run out of money fairly quickly.  Instead of wishing you had the money for the latest in garden gadgets and a wide variety of fancy plants, think of ways to cut costs and make the most of what you do have.  The trick is to choose items that are discounted or less expensive when it comes to the plants you grow, and to try do-it-yourself projects for some gardening accessories.  The following are a few ideas for how to improve your garden without spending too much.

Build your own trellis for growing vines:  Whether Cucumber or Clematis, a trellis can be a great way to showcase the vines you grow.  Purchasing a pre-made trellis is often expensive.  A better option is to make your own bamboo trellis. With only a few items you can have a beautiful and sturdy trellis.  You’ll need lashing cord, a hand saw, a tape measure, a pencil, and several canes of bamboo.  The steps are fairly simple, but require some accurate measuring of the bamboo canes prior to cutting them – envision  how expansive you want the final masterpiece to be and plan for that early on.  After you have cut them to the appropriate size, you’ll use the lashing cord to lash them together.  Then your trellis is ready for your garden.

Grow vegetables from seed:  Growing your own vegetables from seed is much less expensive than starting from a potted plant.  Starting from seed can be intimidating, however. Luckily there are some vegetables that are very easy to grow from seed and will almost guarantee success, even to the novice gardener. lists five vegetables that you can easily start from seed:

  1. Beans
  2. Chard
  3. Carrots
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Radishes

These vegetables are sure to increase your confidence in gardening because they are so easy to grow.  The instructions on the seed packet will give you the best information about when to plant and harvest.

Choose perennials instead of annuals:  The University of Delaware recently published an article, which states that choosing a lot of annuals for your garden can be really expensive since you will have to replace them every year.  Instead, a mix of perennials will give you variety, and will cut costs since they keep coming up on their own year after year.

Gardeners everywhere may find their passion for plants causing them to make extra, unnecessary purchases in their search for the perfect garden.  But having a pleasing and useful garden doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money.  Instead, take the time to find inexpensive plants and easy, low-cost projects that will enhance the garden you already have.

June 18, 2012

Pollinator Week in Lil’ Rhody!

We’re buzzing with glee because today kicks off the first day of Pollinator Week in Rhode Island! Bees play an integral part in agriculture, the ecosystem, and overall health of the environment and people. You can show your support by going to the Whole Foods Market University Heights and participating in their “Share the Buzz – Cast Your Vote!” raffle to vote for which of 3 local non-profits you would like to receive a fully equipped beehive (sans bees)! You can vote for Southside Community Land Trust where we hope to use at our Open Garden Day Tour event in the Fall.

Other Pollinator Week events —

• Whole Foods Market University Heights is hosting a free class called “Biodynamics, Bees and Borage” TODAY, June 18th at 7pm.

• Whole Foods Market is also hosting a free screening of Queen of the Sun at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island in Bristol on June 26th.  Click here for more info and reserve seats.

• Show your support for Pollinator Week and Southside Community Land Trust by attending the Whole Foods Market University Heights Block Party event Friday, June 22nd from 4pm to 6pm. There will be a yummy Ice Cream Social where customers can choose which of the 3 non-profits to donate the $5 to, and learn more about your organization to cast their vote.

Below, is the official letter form Governor Lincoln Chaffee recognizing National Pollinator Week in Lil’ Rhody! Bee-utiful!

June 12, 2012

Applegate Community Garden build-out wrap up

“Can we do it?” Liza Sutton, SCLT Community Growers Director asks as she cheers on the group of volunteers and staff, “Can we finish the build-out by this afternoon? I think we can!”

The rain that hindered most of last week’s build-out progress was no damper on the dedication, motivation, and support from volunteers and staff to complete (even a little early!) the 40-plot Applegate Community Garden on its Friday afternoon goal. Thanks to everyone — our helpers from a nearby elementary school, neighbors, high school students and staff — Applegate Community Garden is now a fertile community space ready for growing potential! Interested in community gardens? Want to volunteer at the next build-out in the Fall? Contact SCLT Growers Network Director Liza Sutton at liza[at]

Check out the slideshow of the last day (if the slideshow is going too fast, click the ‘stop’ button on the slideshow and click the ‘next’ arrows on your own pace)

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June 12, 2012

National Garden Club Award Winners

On the Saturday of the Plant Sale, SCLT Executive Director Katherine Brown was in Buffalo, NY receiving a National Garden Club Award of Excellence. Here is a snapshot of Katherine with the other award winners:

Pictured left to right: Shane Smith, is a noted garden author, consultant and the director and founder of the award-winning Cheyenne Botanic Gardens,William J. Gouldin, Jr., president, Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses and Garden Centers, and Katherine Brown, executive director, Southside Community Land Trust.

“The Southside Community Land Trust brings great pride to the RI Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., as its goals and purpose are very much aligned with those of the National Garden Club. Under the dynamic, boots-on-the-ground leadership of Executive Director, Katherine Brown, Ph.D., the agency not only encourages the sustainable use and respect of our beautiful earth among our citizens, but it also has made great progress in soliciting the backing of major corporations. The corporations in turn help to influence State policy on environmental issues that are important to us all. On a statewide level, nearly all of our garden clubs either financially support the Community Land Trust and/or volunteer there …”  Click here to read more of SCLT’s award description.

June 6, 2012

City of Providence secures lease for one urban farmer!

Urban Farmer and friend of SCLT Than Wood shares a promising update about working with the city to secure a new plot of land to continue farming in Providence:



Two months ago I wrote you all asking for your help. As you know, I was being kicked out of Front Step Farm on Westminster St. Because of everyone writing to the City we managed to prevent the Non-Profit who was giving me the boot from receiving public funding to do so. The non-profit also agreed to give me 60 days to get out. That was a really nice victory, and this entire experience has had the amazing result of putting me in touch with several people in the City of Providence government who have been incredibly supportive of Front Step Farm, and urban agriculture in general.

So today I am writing again with great news! I have a lease with the city on a new property only a few blocks from Front Step Farm. I am extremely relieved, and excited and hopeful about this new arrangement. Aside from the security of the lease, the city is viewing this as a pilot program on renting city owned property to urban farmers. That is huge, and should open the door to a more permanent and sustainable urban farm movement in Providence by providing access to land with security. I think there are only a handful of other cities in the U.S willing to work with Urban Farmers to do this.

The new farm will be named Front Step Farm as well, in case you were wondering (I already have the sign made after all).

The only downside to this: the new farm will be built on top of asphalt! Half of my old farm was as well, so I know how to handle this, and I have a game plan. But to get this farm up and running in time to salvage the season I need lots of help!

We will be transforming a parking lot into an urban farm in two weeks. I am writing to ask for some help of all kinds on the following dates, and am looking for help in 3 hour increments.

Sunday the 10th to prepare the new spot for the arrival of Compost. This will mean laying down woodchips and cleaning up debris. I am planning a work Day from 10:00 AM onwards..

~~~~Weds the 13th from 10:00 Onwards I will be moving compost and creating beds. I will need the most help with this. ~~~~~

Thursday the 14th from 10:00 onwards I will continue bed building (lots of work) and possibly transplant raspberry/ strawberry plants from the old site to the new one.

Sunday the 17th  from 10:00 onwards I will finish moving supplies from the old site to the new one, and hopefully begin seeding the established beds. I could use a lot of help on this day as well, since I will be dumping all the soil from my old farm into the new one on saturday.

I can’t plan any farther ahead than that right now! Please let me know if/when you could give a hand so I can plan accordingly. If none of these times work, but you still want to help build a farm just let me know. Really, I’ll need help every day. In the coming weeks I will still need a lot of hands to pull this off. Feel free to forward this or post it to anyone else who may be interested in helping. It is really important you let me know you are coming in case anything changes.

Please bring a snack and water! Also, shovels if you have them, and wheel barrows. I’ve got some tools but could certainly use others. Fellow Farmers: if anyone can help me during those dates I certainly could use your expertise with volunteers seeding and building beds.  Oh! If anyone wants to bake some treats I wouldn’t be opposed! You will be repaid in vegetables.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to get started! Grow Forth Providence.


Than Wood


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