On Saturday, August 22nd in Norfolk, VA, Sharon Barnes did a FOTO sponsored workshop on Frugal Gardening the Cheapskate Way. Attendees learned that gardening at home shouldn’t cost more than buying produce from the local grocery store. Sharon explained the whole idea is to beat the system—better quality food at lower cost. Realistically, you won’t be able to supply all your fruit and veggie needs for the entire year, but you should be able to make a dent in what you have to import, especially if you’re buying organic. Frugal gardening is a mindset; an extension of the concept, frugal living. Conscientious effort is given to reusing, repurposing, recycling, sharing, etc. to avoid paying any more than necessary for necessities and any luxuries. Imagination is a crucial element to frugal gardening as one must be able to see the potential uses for discarded items, as well as, envision a way to maximize savings for purchases. After the brief talk participants took a tour around the Panther Fresh Garden at Lindenwood Elementary School where they were able to see firsthand how items that normally would make their way to the landfill were repurposed into the garden. Examples Included (pictures below):
Real Wood Dresser as planting boxes
Air Conditioner condensation is used to fill a rain barrel and buckets for watering
Metal chair frames used to support tomatoes
Old Leaky boots get a new life as planters
Wooden Pallets serve as raised beds
Wheel barrow with bowls are repurposed for plantings
Scour the curb on trash days for all your garden needs. Not the shed composted wheelbarrow and garden cart were all rescues from the doom of the landfill
We thank Sharon Barnes for her commitment to both the environment and her community!
* GARDEN TALKS * Sponsored by Friends Of The Occoquan (FOTO)
This weekend, our community gardens will hold gardening workshops:
Saturday, 21 August at 10AM in the Park Place Peace Garden, across from Monroe Elementary School--529 29th St, Norfolk: "Planting a Fall Garden" - with Atsuko Biernot-Community Gardener
Sunday, 22 August at Lindenwood Elementary School--2400 Ludlow St, Norfolk: "Frugal Gardening" - Sharon Barnes-Community Activist & Gardener.
These workshops/talks are free & open to the Public. We hope you can come!
Planting a Fall Garden
Location Park Place Peace Garden
August 21, 2021 10 AM
FOTO member Atsuko Biernot presented a Planting a Fall Garden Workshop at Park Place Peace Garden in Norfolk, VA. Enthusiastic attendees came with their umbrellas and hats to prepare themselves for heat or rain predicted for that morning.
Workshop topics included regenerative gardening, permaculture, taking care of the soil, year around gardening and Lasagna gardening. Atsuko advised them that climate change makes traditional gardening norms less reliable and encouraged gardeners to experiment and keep a journal
Hand outs included:
List of vegetables that can be planted in the Fall in Virginia
Atsuko went over the difference between tender, semi hardy and hardy vegetables and how to calculate the likelihood of planting successfully.
Local Garden Help through the Virginia Cooperative Extention Master Gardeners. Each city has their own, but the focus was Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach
Suggestions for Planting which included a short list of flowers: perennials, annuals and bulbs
The workshop ended with a brief Q&A session and then attendees toured the garden. Thank you to Atsuko Biernot for her love for our environment and her community.
Panther Fresh Garden in Norfolk, Virginia Update
Sharon Barnes writes:
We meet up at the garden weekly on Tuesday evenings at 6 pm to beat the heat. Watering is a top priority at this time of the season. While rain storms are seeming to mostly evade us, we have the rain barrel positioned underneath an air conditioner drain pipe. The condensation drip fills the barrel. I just started a simple compost bin and am asking garden volunteers to bring fruit and veggie scraps from home to get it going. Over the spring and now summer we have harvested blueberries, Swiss chard, peas, lettuce, zucchini squash, ikra, beans and corn. There are 4-5 baby watermelons and at least one cantaloupe on the vines and sunflowers galore. I hope to get informational signage installed before the end of summer. It is a labor of love! I'll keep you posted. Thank you FOTO for your continued support.
On, Wednesday, June 5, 2019 FOTO had an opportunity to spend some time at the Panther Fresh Garden located at Lindenwood Elementary School in Norfolk, VA. In early May 2019 FOTO was able to supply the school’s green club with garden gloves, seed packets, organic soil mix, garden plants, cedar fencing, a rain barrel and paint primer. With the help of enthusiastic green club students and adult garden leaders Sharon Barnes and Steven Dolly, FOTO member Sonia Monson conducted a rain barrel workshop and together they assembled a functional 55 gallon rain barrel for the school garden. After the barrel was completed the students gave FOTO a garden tour and then worked hard mulching the area. Lindenwood’s Green Club takes great pride in the Panther Fresh Garden which is not just a garden, but an outdoor laboratory for learning about plants, decomposition (composting), recycling/reusing and community involvement. One of the great rewards of gardening is harvesting and blueberry sampling was part of the event as well- yummy!
Lindenwood Elementary School Green Team- Norfolk, Virginia
May 2019- The Panther Fresh Garden
Friends of the Occoquan supports garden projects in the City of Norfolk. With the support of our sponsors we were able to assist Lindenwood Elementary School’s Panther Fresh Garden. FOTO was able to supply the green club with garden gloves, seed packets, organic soil mix, garden plants, ceder fencing, a rain barrel and paint primer.
Below is the report from Sharon Barnes a community member who took it upon herself with the help of Principal Dennis Holland, Betty Baucom, Steven Dolly, Halima Davis, and Lorenzo Fiorillo to get this garden project underway.
The Lindenwood Elementary School Green Team began its vegetable and flower garden journey on March 12, 2019. Twelve students, mostly 5th graders and one 3rdgrader, along with four adults, staff and volunteers, met in the school library to set off on the mission of building, literally, from the ground up, an understanding of what is involved in growing food. Each weekly meeting begins with a short planning session to review what was accomplished the previous week and discuss what is intended for that day’s work.
Each week we have a slightly different group of students working in the garden, but we have had a lot of fun getting to know one another. We’ve tasted unfamiliar food that we have attempted to grow from seed (papaya, unsuccessfully).
We look forward to sampling our crops when they mature for harvest. There have been a few setbacks, but that happens to the most seasoned of farmers. Vandals have visited our little plot of land, but we persevere. There are rabbits with which to contend. Every week we can possibly attend to our garden, we are out there working, laughing, and learning.
The Panther Fresh Garden is not just a garden. It is an outdoor laboratory for learning about plants, yes, but also about decomposition (composting). We are learning about recycling and reusing. Our planting boxes were rescued from the curb on trash pickup day. So was our compost bin. Our students are learning that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to start a vegetable garden. You can grow food using what you have in creative ways; by repurposing items and giving them new life.
Fall Garden Prepping for Park Place Peace Garden
On Monday, September 4, 2017 FOTO members and volunteers from the Park Place Peace Garden worked on prepping the garden for fall planting and the return of the children and staff of James Monroe Elementary School in Norfolk, VA. FOTO was able to provide the PPPG with 4 straw bales, 13 potted flowering plants and items to build Bucket Head the garden scarecrow. The garden will be using the bales to experiment with straw bale gardening. First round-flowers. As the afternoon unfolded several neighborhood children dropped by the garden to meet Bucket Head and took a garden tour with PPPG volunteer Kim Williams.
Soil is Everything
On Thursday August, 2, 2017 Park Place Peace Garden and FOTO members prepared soil samples to be sent to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory which is a part of Virginia’s Cooperative Extension .
A routine soil test package includes analysis for soil pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, and B, along with fertilizer and lime recommendations for the specified crop. Soluble salts and organic matter tests are also available. Local Cooperative Extension offices in counties and cities throughout the state can provide soil sample boxes and information sheets.
Soil samples are analyzed and computer recommendations generated usually within three working days of receipt. The completed soil test reports, along with one or more soil test notes containing additional information on fertilization and liming, are either mailed or emailed directly to the client. A copy of the report is also made available to the local Cooperative Extension office.
Building Pollinator Beads at the Park Place Peace Garden June 2017
On Saturday, May 27th, 2017 a group of volunteers braved the heat to finish a pollinator garden at the Park Place Peace Community Garden in Norfolk, Virginia. Plants and work efforts were donated by members of the Friends of the Occoquan, League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Indian River, Catholic Workers and the Park Place Peace Garden. Even the chickens came out to check out the action! FOTO has several projects that they will be assisting the Park Place Peace Garden with this summer which will include soil testing, and creating a Straw Bale garden. Job well done everyone!
The Giving Garden at Wesley Memorial UMC
Congratulations to Boy Scout Adrian Monson from Troop 180 on the completion of his Eagle Scout Project. Adrian helped a group of Master Gardeners from the Wesley Memorial UMC turn a topic of conversation into a reality- a beautiful community garden. FOTO provided Adrian with the wood, soil, compost and barrels/accessories to assist with his project. With the help of family and friends Adrian built three 4’x8’ raised beds and filled them with soil and mushroom compost. To provide water for the garden Adrian created a rain harvesting system by constructing, connecting and installing four rain barrels.
The Giving Garden is maintained by the Master Gardeners and the children from the Club Sandwich After-School Program.
Workdays for the garden are 1:30-2:30 pm on Fridays. The garden is located behind the church at 288 E. Little Creek Road in Norfolk, VA.
Park Place Peace Garden
Established in 2010 The Park Place Peace Garden is an organic community garden located at 527 and 529 West 29th street in Norfolk, Virginia. Visit their Facebook page Park Place Peace Garden and see what's happening.
Photo by Nia Amoruso
Photo by Nia Amoruso
Photo by Atsuko Biernot
Photo by Gary Dubour Jr.
Photo by Nia Amoruso
Photo by Atsuko Biernot
The beautiful Zakiyyah Rasheed, In Her Own Words. With her grandchildren and fellow gardeners Gary Dubour Jr., George Ibarra and Park Place Peace Garden community. Video by Nia Amoruso