Green Sprawl is beginning its second year at Fuller Avenue CRC. As the season has been transitioning to spring, so has the garden been adjusting to some changes. Its founders, Ben and Paige, traversed the country and relocated to Washington, leaving the reins of Green Sprawl in other capable hands. In their absence, the Green Sprawl committee has taken things in a new direction. There are seven raised beds, and we’ve decided to divide each one into two plots, and those plots are available to area residents and neighbors. This is the pilot year for this, so we’re hoping to encourage people to take advantage of this exciting opportunity by offering the plots free of charge. We’re currently still getting people matched with their plots, but it does look like they are all taken at this point. We will let you know if there happen to be any still available.
Besides the actual gardening, we are planning this year to again offer educational classes and workshops open to the public. We will keep you updated as to when those will be happening. We are excited to get people energized about the goodness of homegrown food and the richness of working in community.
We are so happy to have this blog to update everyone on the cool happenings at Green Sprawl. But before I talk about the events going on, I’d like to explain what Green Sprawl actually is. Green Sprawl Neighborhood Farms, Inc. is a non-profit in the State of Michigan (not a 501(c)(3)…yet), and was founded by Ben and Paige Waldron in March 2010. A Board of Directors meets twice monthly to plan the more detailed, nitty gritty side of the garden. The garden is located in the back corner of the parking lot at Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church at 1239 Fuller Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.
The garden was built over the course of two Saturday work days at the beginning of April. At least twenty volunteers came to help each day! Ben and I weren’t really sure what to expect for those first two work days, but we were pleasantly surprised and grateful for all the help. We had help from neighbors, church members, and returning citizens from the Inner City Neighborhood Project. The first Saturday we built the raised beds by stacking cinder blocks. The second Saturday we laid down landscaping cloth in the beds, put 3 inches or so of pea gravel on top for drainage, and filled the beds in with a mixed soil. Total, there are seven raised beds with a growing space of 24′ x 4′ x 18″. Ben and I recently mixed in compost also to add a little organic material to the soil.
Here’s where we got our supplies from in case you want to order your own:
Cinder Blocks: Consumer’s Construction Co. (650 blocks ordered, all multi-colored!)
Landscaping cloth: Home Depot
Pea gravel and soil: Green Leaf Distribution
Compost: Big Chipper
In addition to the work days, the garden education classes have begun! Last week I taught a class about starting seeds and everyone planted seeds in different growing mediums to see which growing medium they liked the best and worked the best. This week Ben is teaching how to transplant seedlings and his lesson will probably far out-do mine :) Here’s a graph from the handout I used in class that will tell which kind of seeds are normally planted early indoors and which types normally planted directly into your garden: