The Garden Program

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 three parts – the Gardening Program; the public education programs; and, the Garden Directors – which work in tandem to ensure every gardener’s success.

I. The Gardener and the Gardening Program:  Step-by-Step Plan

  1. A volunteer submits his or her application to The Bounty Garden.  Information is available in the Barn or by emailing thebountygarden@gmail.com.  Applications will be required to be made on-line to ensure proper placement on the waiting list.
  2. On the Gardener Application, the applicant must indicate in which program he or she wishes to participate.  One Warm Crop program will be offered each calendar year and 24 beds are available for each program.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.  Opening Day is the only required attendance event day in the program.
  5. Attendance is required at Opening Day in late February.  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.
  6. Early March, attendance is voluntary at a one-and-a-half hour Composting Workshop and meet those who share the compost Bin (6 beds share each double-compost Bin).
  7. Mid March, attendance is voluntary at a one-and-a-half hour Seedling Workshop.
  8. A Gardener must purchase organic seeds or seedlings.  Extra seeds are also available free-of-charge from The Bounty Garden Seed Bank.  Plant seeds or seedlings when the Green Flag is flown on the Barn, denoting the passing of the last frost of the season.
  9. 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.
  10. Attend the Harvest Workshop in mid-March when Gardeners learn how to harvest their crops and store them in the Cool Box.
  11. Share compost-turning responsibilities with the other five Beds in compost Bin group.
  12. After the last harvest, Gardeners clear their beds of all plant materials, augment their beds to required depth using their Bin’s compost, distribute cover crop seeds and note it in their Journals.
  13. Receive Closing Day email.

II. Community Education Programs:________________________

a.  The Seedling Program – In the second or third week of a Program, each Gardener or community member may attend a one-and-a-half 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. 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.

b.  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 stirring 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.

c.  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 picked up by the Food Bank from the Bounty Garden Cool Box two times each week and then delivered directly to program distribution points in Walnut Creek, Danville or Concord or taken to the Food Bank warehouse in Concord.

 

III.  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 three meetings 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 and keeps website and calendar current

4.   Volunteer Coordinator – manages new member applications

5.   Program Treasurer

6.   Garden Keeper – addresses day-to-day issues regarding the maintenance of the Garden

7.   Garden Master – a Master Gardener available for general gardening questions and responsible for the Bounty Garden Cover Crop program

8.   Event Coordinator – coordinates the Opening Day, Seedling Workshop, Composting Workshop and Harvesting Day events

9.  Harvest Coordinator – coordinates the twice-a-week pickups by the Food Bank from The Bounty Garden Cool Box and maintains communications with volunteers regarding the harvests from their beds

10.  Garden Photographer and Historian