Monday, June 27, 2011

A green thumb? What happened?

Here's an update on Madison Square Garden, the Unity Garden at Madison and Walsh streets:

Martin's Super Markets donated some flowers and vegetable plants, and we planted both over the weekend.

There's two new honeydew melon plants, to add to our expanding fruit selection: strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and watermelon are all planted and growing too. One neighbor to the north said they'd try to get us some grapevines, so I'm thinking about where we'll put them.

And when I explained to one of the kids that if we planted an apple tree this fall, it would take a few years before we'd have any apples she said: "Well, then you better hurry up ... ."

Six of the eggplant were put in, thanks to help from the same Madison Street kids. They're in a section where we added more tomatoes and a few peppers too. Last weekend, the children planted pumpkin seeds near one of the corn plots, and we're waiting to see how they're going to do.

As for the corn, neighbor Linda said she can't believe how tall it's getting. She helps to lead the small Grace Bible church on the block in McKinley and said her members are helping to keep an eye on the garden, too.

It's great to see how the garden builds community: Neighbors stop by, cops and firefighters and bus drivers wave, people on bikes say hello. Steve came by Saturday and said he's sorry he doesn't have time to garden with us, but he promised to bring us his grass clippings. Perfect!

Valjean helped me to weed beans and potatoes on Saturday, and we harvested mustard greens and collard greens.

The first official tomato has been picked too. OK, not the first -- there were two others -- but it was the first that the children helped me to find and then took home with them.

I told one of the kids that Valjean sure has a green thumb, and the girl's eyes got big and she said: "Really? What HAPPENED?"

So we had to explain what that means ... It was one of the best things I've heard in a long time ...

Elsewhere in the garden are zucchini and acorn squash plants that have really taken off, and a plot of cucumber hills. I've seen fuzzy baby cucumbers growing, and it looks like there will be zucchini before long too. The marigolds seem to be keeping the rabbits away. So far. We'll see.

Okra was an afterthought, but we put in a row and they're coming up nicely. They're in the same place you'll find spinach, carrots and radish rows. And I'm told now that some of the onions were really garlic plants. So I guess we'll just find out, because I forget which came from where ...

With the flower donations, we were able to clean up a little on the southwest corner at McKinley, plant a small border and create a container planting for the newly painted picnic table.

And with more rain forecast (!) it looks like Monday will water itself again.

Regular volunteer times are 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m. if you'd like to come by.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tour de Unity on Saturday

Madison Square Garden, the new Unity Garden at 1230 E. Madison St., will be one of the Tour de Unity bike tour stops on June 11, this coming Saturday.

It's a great chance to come out, meet neighbors -- and see the garden as it continues to grow! Stop by and bring a friend too.

Saturday volunteer hours are normally from 9 a.m. to noon, with the riders -- so far, there's about 30 of them -- expected at about 11:30 a.m.

Information about the bike tour is at, along with a map and other information for Near East neighbors that's already linked there.

Laureen Fagan
215 Walsh St.
(574) 289-3693

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day weekend

Busy weekend for Madison Square Garden. When I left for work at 6:30 a.m. Monday, Muhammad was in the garden hard at work.

Planted the mustard greens and carrots, along with some coneflowers and landscaping on the corner. Hoping the little pumpkins will take, along with the sunflowers near the tree stump.

Started the compost pile and cut the grass. Steve dropped off some landscaping timbers, and Mitch dropped off the picnic table so there's a nice spot to sit in the shade.

Which might be nice with the near-record heat for Memorial Day. Hoping to get more flowers planted, and maybe the raspberries when evening arrives.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Madison Square Garden is now open.

What began as imagination almost two years ago is now the new Unity Garden, at the corner of Madison and Walsh streets on South Bend's near east side.

So far, we've planted the tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and corn.

I forgot -- and the beans, and some onions.

But there's plenty more planting to do, especially with all the rain this spring.

Volunteer times are 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and 4 to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

If you just want to visit, stop by and check it out.