Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Composter getting a little facelift

Step 1 started
Matt and I spent Saturday and Sunday working on the composter at PG. During our last workday the team moved it 90 degrees so it was easier to get to, but so much more needed to be done, because it sits on a slope and gravity is a law, not a suggestion...

We started out with the inevitable trip to the hardware store.That turned into multiple trips to multiple hardware stores because as the universal law states, "it is IMPOSSIBLE to get exactly what you need in one trip to the hardware store. IM. POSSIBLE."

Whacking rebar
We started at Home Despot. We bought concrete piers to hold up the center columns of the composter's front edge. That led to a lot of digging, and using the jack from my truck to lift the (heavy!) composter up to fit the piers in. And bricks - a lot of bricks.

With the composter now supported and level (yes we forgot our level. Then we remembered your iphone has a level app in it: score!) we moved on to measuring for lumber to create not one, but two gravel filled boxes in front of the composter to stand on while working there.

Steps half done!
Back to Home Despot. Buy pressure treated lumber, corner braces, screws, assorted knickknacks. Get lumber cut to size. Back to garden. Build one box, realize don't have enough corner braces or rebar to hold it in place. Also, we need more lumber.

On to Lowes. They don't cut pressure treated lumber, but we buy rebar. Correct corner braces are missing, but we get metal strapping.

Next day: Go to Discount Builders. Buy more lumber. Get it cut to size. Back to garden. More power tool and shoveling action. Realize forgot the corner braces. Lip pursing.

I hate gravity...
Back to garden. Install rebar copiously with 9# hammer and lots of swearing. Drill battery weak. Staple chicken wire to bottom of one box to hold in gravel. Don't have enough chicken wire. Go home and drink.

End of day: stagger to ACE. Corner braces! Also hardware cloth! More spending.

Decide to install hardware cloth at next workday as we forgot to bring tin snips... and yes... we need MOAR REBAR!

Ready!
In other news, Chris and Carrie did a fantastic job putting ALL the green waste from the top of that garden (that stuff we'd normally be composting!) into paper bags for Recology to take away. Look at all the bags!




Tuesday, May 21, 2019

We're hiring!

Do you, or someone you know, have a couple hours a month to help the gardens?

We are looking for a competent Volunteer Coordinator to recruit and manage volunteers. You will be responsible for allocating responsibilities and retaining the best people. This position is ideal for someone who can devote just 2+ hours per month to helping us, or can be expanded to include a bigger role.

You should know how to distinguish talent and do everything possible to motivate and inspire. You must possess excellent organizational skills and ability to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and experience.


Responsibilities:
  • Source and recruit volunteers through various techniques (e-mail, social media etc.)
  • Collect information on availabilities and skills
  • Assign responsibilities to the right people for special events
  • Coordinate corporate teams of volunteers for large-scale actions
  • Communicate with volunteers to ensure they are satisfied and well-placed
  • Disseminate information for upcoming actions and events
  • ╬Ľnsure the purpose of the organization and its actions is clearly communicated

Skills:
  • Experience in volunteering locally and/or internationally
  • Social media experience is required as we use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to let volunteers know about our events. Experience with MailChimp and writing blogs a plus.
  • Experience in recruiting through various channels, like Volunteer Match.
  • Working knowledge of databases and MS Office or Google Drive
  • Able to communicate effectively with diverse people
  • Excellent organizational and team coordination abilities
  • A pleasant, outgoing personality

Good to Know:
  • Gardening experience is NOT required, but appreciated.
  • This position can be done remotely - you don't need to be at our monthly volunteer days, or corporate "VTO" days, but it's appreciated if you can.
  • Time commitment can be as low as 2 hours per month.
  • We are entirely volunteer run. This is an unpaid position, but a worthy one!
Reach out to annie@psgsf.org if you're interested :)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

In between the showers...

More rain has been falling, as if you didn't notice, and that means a happy new crop of weeds in about a week. So, Matt and I headed to the garden and did some weeding in various areas. The photo shows half of the aloe hedge got weeded. More to come!

We also did some work on the composter, adding pilings under the front to lift it up a bit.

Next step after this is to build new lids for it, and also build two gravel-filled steps to stand on while working on the compost. That means a couple yards of gravel need to be bought and lugged up the hill to the right spot. Oooh, workout ahead!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Composter on the move

Before... weedy...
Today's monthly volunteer day was a challenge. I had long wanted to move the composter so it was easier to use. Situated facing the tool chest, the space between them was too narrow to make shoveling in, or out, weeds/compost very easy.

Matt empties
That's led to us not using the composter much - that, and the fact that people tend to put non-compostable stuff in it, which I always had to fish out.  Don't put twigs, branches, wood, trash and other junk in there!

We determined that turning the composter 90 degrees against the fence would be ideal, so I started our crew on removing weeds and trash in the area, and leveling the ground so it sits (somewhat) level. We removed the composter's instructional sign so it can go on the other side and be visible when the composter has been moved.

Team levels
Luckily we had a good number of people, so while it was heavy work we managed it. And we also got a lot of weeds cleaned up too: Amanda and Katsuro weeded the back slope and steps areas all day!

Matt, Chris, Aditi, Leslie, Amanda, Katsue, and Mikey joined me on the task, and we pretty soon had all the weeds removed from the area, as well as a lot of rooted yucca cuttings.

Amanda weeds
We removed a dozen tubtrugs of good compost from the area behind the composter, and piled it at the top of the garden to use later.

In the meantime, Matt and Chris removed all the contents of the composter bins, including a lot of branches and twigs (ugh!) and several wheelbarrow loads of fresh compost from the bins and spread it around the base of some hungry plants.

Result!
After that we started leveling the dirt so the composter would sit straight. A lot of bricks were unearthed, and we used them to shore up various areas by placing a board held with rebar and backfilled with bricks and dirt to prevent everything falling through the fence.

Next we worked on seeing if we could even move the (very heavy wooden) composter at all. It took 6 of us to get it going, pivoting around one corner.

Almost ready!
We finally got it in place, and reattached the composter sign, started attaching a board to reinforce the base, and ran out of time.  We still need to fix the lids, finish shoring up the base, and make a gravel base to stand on there, as well as in front of the tool chest. Quite a lot of work to go, but we will soon be ready to start composting again. Yay hooray!

Great job team :D






Friday, May 3, 2019

GoodData goes rogue on weeds

Today we had a super VTO day at PG with the fine folks at GoodData. They came over and spend 2 jam packed hours pulling weeds from what I initially thought would be a smallish area... and ended up being a lot more than expected.

First of all, we set to work at the very top of the garden. Partly because the weeds there are bad, and partly because the building next door, longtime home of the Brickley Production Services business aka our friends Gary and Annelle, is being torn down. This is very sad for us, although they have a great new building for their business.

And the demo was in full swing... and mildly terrifying. As heavy machinery crunched through the building we stayed away. I was scared to think that the plants along the cactus wall would be destroyed, and while we had loads of warning and moved everything we physically COULD move, it's still sad to think of plants being crushed.

I took some drinks over to the workmen, and asked them please to be careful... and by some miracle, so far only the Opuntia at the front took a hit. Fingers crossed they manage to keep up the track record tomorrow when more demo happens.

Back to GoodData! They cleared the top bed lightning fast, trimmed up a Dasylirion and cut back some Chasmanthe, removed pups from an Agave americana and quickly tidied the area.

We moved on to weeding paths and cutting back more Chasmanthe in the other beds, as well as Narcissus and Amaryllis belladonna leaves that are past their sell by date.

The sun was so warm and it was all rather jolly, so the end of the workday crept up on me. We hauled armfuls of weeds and foliage to the massive pile at the top of the garden and let the team go home to clean up and relax. Hope they come back - they were awesome!
 
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