Tarrant County Master Gardener Becca Clarke has released the 2020 GRACE Community Garden “Planting and Tending Schedule”.
As she has for the last 11 years, Becca designed a planting plan, complete with directions on what crops to plant in each plot, along with crop succession and rotation schedules. Each year the Community Garden produces nearly a ton of vegetables and fruits for clients coming to the GRACE Food Pantry.
As genius as her gardening schedule is, Becca knows it’s the volunteers who do the heavy lifting, scooping, and shoveling that gets the job done.
“Certain dates are more heavy chore days,” she said. “For those days, we need about 20 volunteers to handle all the load.” Becca calls the heavy chore days in her schedule “Major”. As in, January 25, “major preparation date”, and February 1 and March 21, “major planting date(s)”.
For the days not designated as “major”, she needs a dozen volunteers to manage the day’s chores.
All monthly work days are on Saturday, and most begin at 9 a.m. until the hot summer months.
“The summer dates are best accomplished early in the day,” she said. “You will see our start times at 8 a.m. those dates.”
Some Thursdays are included in a weekly schedule of weeding, harvesting, and composting. These days are planned as needed, and volunteers are asked to check-in with Becca to schedule those dates.
Volunteers need not have prior gardening experience, said Becca. “We demonstrate, teach, and work side-by-side with the volunteers.”
Not only will volunteers receive personal training in the art of gardening from a Master Gardener, some will bring their school-age children with them and garden together in a family experience.
Nearly all of the gardening tools are provided, but Becca recommends some other essentials for volunteers:
“Bring water to drink! It gets hot, and tiring. A cool drink helps rejuvenate tired muscles.”
“Bring your favorite work gloves. We have some assorted gloves, but a pair that is broken in and fits to your hand is always nice.”
“Sun hats are also highly recommended. Bring your favorite to show off to the other gardeners!”
“Please do come down to the Garden for a visit,” said Becca. “I think you will find that we make things flourish in our rich soil. We have been using only organic methods for all these years, and our soil is rich and productive.”