The growing season is well under way and the garden looks great! Crops are ripening and people are already enjoying the blackberries. The waitlist for garden plots is nearly down to zero and new gardeners are still being added. Welcome to all the new gardeners.
I will take this opportunity to address some of the issues or questions that gardeners have approached me with. First, there have been some issues regarding taking materials from other people’s plot. Please know that there is one small area in the north end of the garden near the green waste to place materials (such as wood or tomato cages) for others to take on a first come first serve basis. Other than that, taking materials that we did not bring into the garden or that were not explicitly given to us is considered theft. This includes taking from a plot that appears un-claimed and taking fruit from a tree that is not on one’s own plot. I believe that some theft in the garden is intentional and some is by non-gardeners or maybe even friends and family members who are not aware of the rules. Please help your fellow gardeners by making sure your guests know the rules and by speaking up when you suspect that someone is claiming materials or produce that does not belong to them.
A common question this season has been about wood chips for their plots. Generally we buy chips to cover the main trails around the garden and gardeners will use some of these chips for trails in their own plots. This season I bought four yards of redwood chips at a cost of about $200 including delivery fees and the whole pile was taken by only a handful of individual gardeners for personal use within a very short amount of time. The fact is we don’t have enough money to spend this much to benefit so few people so we will not be using garden funds to buy mulches for personal use. I am told, however, that free chips are available to all during the Berkeley free compost give-away at the Marina on the last Friday of each month.
Currently, we are not accepting cash or checks for plot fees or key deposits. We are only accepting money orders made out to “VRA Garden Community.” Money orders may be purchased for about a dollar at the US Post Office, Safeway, the liquor store at the corner of Gilman and San Pablo and many other local businesses. Cash will not be accepted because, as managers, we are a group of volunteers who wish to have the highest degree of transparency and accountability as possible. Remember that we are dealing with between $1500 and $2000 each season. Checks are not being accepted because any returned checks will add an extra time burden on an already busy volunteer treasurer.
Happy gardening everyone and, as always, please feel free to approach me by e-mail or in person to talk about garden concerns, questions, or just to chat.