As we wind down through the winter planting season we like to take time to reflect on all that has been accomplished this year and remember all the people that came through to see the garden, work, cook, and help host an event at the Roots of Change Garden project at Southwest Workers Union
There were 40 Garden workdays this year mainly running through fall and spring. We hope to catch the summer season with some heartier heat loving plants as we push the limits of low, or no irrigation areas.
We had a handfull of group garden tours, including Martinez St. Womens Center, Colleges and Universities and other schools. We hosted 12 workshops throughout the fall and spring seasons, including garden bed construction, cooking demos, medicinal herbs, gardening basics, ROC gardening techniques, backyard chickens, mycology, container gardening, seed bombs, soil building, planting, community discussions and planning, and so much more!
We expanded our annual planting area by 800 sqft which included traditional irrigation lines and rows. We started the rows by buring raw kitchen scrap compost in the area and let it set for several months. When we planted the soil was a rich dark black soil and ready to grow. When we ran out of seedlings to plant, the squash and pumpkin seeds from the buried compost volunteered to take the rest of the available space, even at times takeing over other pathways and edges.
We also expanded our perennial growing area by 1,000 sqft by planting berms and swales and planting fruit trees and shrubs in the area. This is a off irrigation area and because of some late plantings and new area we lost some plants. Some of the fruit trees survived and will provide some shade for the next seasons plants and help build up the new area. We were able to give away over 50 trees to residents and folks attending our 31 year anniversary celebreation of Southwest Workers Union.
This summer we tried out a summer internship based on learning more about medicinals and herbs for healing, we had an everage of 5 interns working on herbs and medicinals, for a total of 8 workshops and workdays. The group created a info zine called “Herbs and Medicinals, over 100 medicinals of South Texas” that is available here a the garden. We ended the program with a large community workday where an estimated 30 people planted over 100 herbs in the garden increasing our medicinal educational area by 500 sq ft. as well as others planted throughout the garden.
We were able to get a boost in supplies from Metro Health for the outdoor kitchen area. We host several cooking classes this year and were able to finish out the year with hosting our local Food Not Bombs chapter to cook in the space once a week. Food Not Bombs collect donated foods from donations and any abundance of harvest in the garden to make nutrious meals served to anyone available at Healy Murchpy Park at 3pm. The cooking sessions are every Sunday 12-3pm at Roots of Change Garden before the servings
We would like to thanks all the groups, schools, residents, volunteers, internships, coordinators, youth, co-op members and staff for all their work this year. A garden of this size relies heavily on support of our community and each year we make monumental growth and changes in the garden and its all because of the help and time of all those who come through. Thank you and see you again next year for more hands on learning and growing together!