The Bounty Garden program is designed to provide a supportive framework for a gardener of any level of expertise so that he or she can participate successfully in this community service effort. The Program includes four parts – the Gardening Program; the public education programs; the public display area; and, the Board of Directors – which work in tandem to ensure every gardener’s success.
I. The Gardener and the Gardening Program: Step-by-Step Plan
- A volunteer submits his or her application to The Bounty Garden. Information is available in the Barn or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be required to be made on-line to ensure proper placement on the waiting list.
- On the Gardener Application, the applicant must indicate in which program he or she wishes to participate. Three crops will be produced each calendar year and 12 beds are available for each program. The three crop choices are “Cool Weather 1” (a 6-month commitment from January through June), “Cool Weather 2” (a 6-month commitment from July through December), or “Warm Weather” (a 9-month commitment from February through October). Gardeners choose a time period that best suits their schedules.
- Sign and submit the Gardener’s Contract and Release of All Claims. If the applicant is a minor, a school counselor’s signature is required.
- Research and chose a vegetable to grow from the Food Bank-approved vegetables list (see “Suggested Crops” in Gardening Program) before Opening Day, the first day of a new program. Research materials are available on the Library shelves in the Barn.
- Attend Opening Day – first week of January, first week of February, or first week of July. Draw a Bed number, register the vegetable to be grown in the bed, and meet fellow program volunteers. Gardeners may read the Journal history of their beds and receive a “Reminder String”, a simple string bracelet designed to remind the gardeners of their weekly responsibilities in the Garden.
- Second or third week, attend a one-hour Seedling Workshop.
- Decide whether or not to participate in the Seedling program (see Part II(b): The Seedling Program).
- If participating in the Seedling program, a Gardener can purchase organic seeds or acquire seeds from The Bounty Garden Seed Bank.
- Plant seeds in the Seedling Room and tend until ready to plant outdoors. Each participant will sign up for one day over the course of 4-6 weeks to water the seedlings. UPDATE: We hope to have the greenhouse constructed in late 2013. Until that time, volunteers will be asked to grow their flat of seedlings at their homes. The Seedling Workshop reviews the steps for growing at-home.
- If a Gardener has not participated in the Seedling program, he or she should purchase certified organic seedlings and plant outdoors at the appropriate time.
- Plan one hour per week to tend Bed, pull weeds (dispose of in designated compost Bin), stake plants, check irrigation, rake around Bed, and make Journal notes.
- Attend a one-hour Compost Workshop and meet those who share the compost Bin (6 beds share each double-compost Bin).
- Attend the Harvest Workshop – Gardeners learn how to harvest their crops and store them in the Cool Box.
- Share compost-turning responsibilities with the other five Beds in compost Bin group.
- After the last harvest, Gardeners clear their beds of all plant materials, augment their beds to required depth using their Bin’s compost (or, if additional soil is needed, purchased organic humas), test pH and note it in their Journals.
- Attend Closing Day – this ceremony represents the completion of a Gardener’s program.
II. Community Education Programs:________________________
a. The Irrigation and Rainwater Harvesting Program (Future) – On Opening Day, the day a new Program begins, each Gardener will be required to attend a one-hour seminar on how The Bounty Garden’s rainwater is collected, stored, and then piped to the Seedling Room. Gardeners will be shown how the irrigation in their Beds operates and how to adjust the flow to best accommodate the type of plant each Gardener intends to grow.
b. The Seedling Program – In the second or third week of a Program, each Gardener may attend a one-hour Seedling Workshop which will take place in the Barn. By this point in time, each Gardener has been assigned his or her raised Bed and selected a vegetable to grow from the Food Bank-approved vegetables list. The Gardener can now either choose to buy seedlings or take the opportunity to grow his or her own. (Planned completion in late 2013) The Seedling Room will provide raised tables in a sunny environment with water hoses. Each Gardener will be assigned one day, over the course of 4-6 weeks, in which he or she will be required to water the seedlings.
The water used in the Seedling Room will be collected from the roof of the Barn and stored nearby.
The dirt bin in Seedling Room will contain compost left from the last harvest’s compost bins combined with a special recipe from the Filoli Gardens in Woodside, CA, and the Napa Valley Reserve, St. Helena, CA.
Any seedlings that are not used in the Garden will be made available to the general public at the entry to the Garden.
The Bounty Garden will maintain a Seed Bank from which Gardeners may use or add the seeds of successful harvests. The seeds will be harvested and stored using the best practices available. Extra seeds will be made available to the public for a small donation in the Barn.
c. The Composting Program – Currently, the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority offers a composting class at Hap Magee Ranch Park. This would become a hands-on class, open to the public, and recommended to first-time Bounty Garden Gardeners. Four double-compost bins have been constructed at the Garden. Every six beds utilize one double-bin and share the monthly responsibility of turning and watering their compost. The goal is that each bin will be able to supply each of the six beds that feeds it with 3 inches of new topsoil each harvest season. Hap Magee Ranch Park grass clippings are currently not collected but allowed to remain on the lawns as mulch; this is an eco-sensitive approach to maintenance called “grass-cycling”. However, as grass clippings are extremely nitrogen-rich and are a wonderful addition to a compost bin, an arrangement has been made with the Park maintenance crew to deposit the clippings into the bins once a month, or as much as the Garden would like. As well, the site offers access to many oak tree leaves for a desirable supply of carbon. Together, the vegetable wastes, grass clippings, and tree leaves will provide the Garden with a nutrient-rich and odorless supply of soil amendment in perpetuity. (Odor is avoided by adding no kitchen, meat, dairy or poultry products or manure to the bins.)
At the start of each new Program, a time and day for the Composting Workshop is posted. Each new Gardener will be encouraged to attend the seminar in order to learn what good soil is and how to make it. If a Gardener cannot attend at the posted times, the materials will be available in the Barn for them to read and sign to acknowledge that they are up to speed with the other Gardeners.
Bay Friendly Gardening (Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Recycling Board, 2008, p. 8) states, “retaining organic materials on site is one of the most important practices a gardener can engage in.” Gardeners in The Bounty Garden program are encouraged to take their experiences home to apply in their own gardens to grow healthy vegetables for their own use or to donate through the Plant-a-Row or the Backyard Bounty programs.
d. The Food Bank Programs – The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano supports more than 180 charitable food service programs that feed over 100,000 residents each month, from preschoolers to homebound seniors. One hundred percent of The Bounty Garden crops are delivered directly to program distribution points in Walnut Creek, Danville or Concord. For example, after harvesting, The Bounty Garden produce can be delivered to either a Central County food pantry (three sites in Walnut Creek – Deacon’s Care Closet, North Creek Church, and St. Vincent de Paul at St. Mary’s Catholic Church), to the Central County Brown Bag Program (Walnut Creek United Methodist Church), or the Central County Food Assistance Program in Walnut Creek (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church). The program that receives the produce depends on the day of the week that the food is harvested and which site is open that day for distributions. If it should happen that extra produce is available, it will be taken directly to the Food Bank warehouse in Concord.
III. Public Display Area in the Barn: (Phase II)___________________________
A portion of the Barn will be used to display artifacts, photographs, and artwork from:
a. The Museum of SRV – accentuating our agricultural roots and the history of the Hap Magee Ranch; and,
b. The Local Artists’ Program & Gallery – open to professionals and students of any age. In addition to displaying and selling their work, the artists would be encouraged to donate their skills for The Bounty Garden signage, logo, bracelets and Gardeners’ Journals.
IV. Garden Directors and Managers:______________________
Two boards will maintain the Garden:
Members of the Bounty Garden Board of Directors serve a one-year term, which includes an annual Board meeting. Current Board members choose new members. The Board will consist of two to five members.
The Bounty Garden Hive consists of ten additional volunteer positions and will hold at least one meeting per program:
1. Program Director – a member of the Board of Directors and Town of Danville and Food Bank liaison
2. Fundraising Coordinator – organizes annual Garden Tour and/or Field Dinner
3. Public Relations Coordinator – manages marketing materials and public notices
4. Website Manager – keeps website and calendar current
5. Volunteer Coordinator – manages new member applications
6. Program Treasurer
7. Garden Keeper – addresses day-to-day issues regarding the maintenance of the Garden
8. Garden Master – a Master Gardener available for general gardening questions
9. Event Coordinator – coordinates the Opening Day, Seedling Seminar, Composting Seminar, Harvesting Day, and Closing Day events
10. Harvest Coordinator – an individual or a group responsible for making deliveries twice a week during harvest times from The Bounty Garden Cool Box to the nearest Food Bank distribution point
11. Garden Photographer and Historian