Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Natinsky would be an “Unhappy camper” if community garden near his house

After yesterday’s decision not to approve the recommendations for policy regulating private community gardens for the 2nd time in two months and kick it back once again to city staff to start over, Council member Ron Natinsky was reported by Rudolph Bush of the Dallas Morning News as saying:  see full post here

“I can picture the lot next door to where I live (becoming a community garden). I wouldn’t be a happy camper even if the rest of the neighborhood were in favor of it,” Natinsky said.

After hearing this, Community Gardens of Oak Cliff vice president issues this response on Rudolph’s post:

“Natinsky:  While you sit on your hands, flipping channels, sucking on the cold air coming out of your vents, and becoming more lethargic with old age, Dallas citizens of all ages are feeling the earth between their fingers for the first time. They’re smelling the honey suckle growing on the fence, harvesting locally grown, sustainable foods that are taken into their own kitchens or a soup kitchen, bartered with their neighbors, and yes, even selling them to local restaurants to keep food distribution local. This discovery is happening to kids who sometimes don’t know the difference between a potato or a tomato. While you have the right to not want this in your own neighborhood, making it difficult for others is not right. My recommendation would be to visit several different community gardens in Oak Cliff that are thriving and making a difference in peoples lives everyday. I will personally take you on a tour, as I’m the vice president of Community Gardens of Oak Cliff. Please email me at if you’re interested. If you don’t take my invite, I won’t be hurt. But my assumptions will be true about you.”


Coppell Community Gardens, an example for the City of Dallas to follow

We just learned about this sister community garden in Coppell. Check these amazing pics and their website:

See how their roots got started back in 1998, and check out a video as well.  By the looks of things, Coppell has a great example of what the community can do to provide sustainable foods!

After reading about how they got started I wondered why the City of Dallas was having such a hard time figuring out this whole community garden development.  Seems like the bigger brother needs to listen and watch the younger sibling at work in the garden.

Trees Stolen from Smoke

According to the Garden Manager, Andrea, at the popular Smoke Restaurant three peach trees and four blackberry bushes were stolen from the garden on Monday night that had just been planted.  Seems like the thieves might have used a missing wheel barrow to quickly haul away their stash, most likely using them in their own backyards or selling them to the Farmers Market.

According to one of our members, stolen landscaping goods (like pots, etc) and new plantings are stolen this time of year when they are most available and easy to steal.  Here are a few tips that may help deter a potential thief (got these from a police website in the UK, but they still apply here):

  • Put away all tools and equipment and ensure that all outside sheds and storage are securely locked when not in use.
  • Use plant protection – such as thorny shrubs.
  • Install outside security lighting which comes on automatically.
  • If you have a burglar alarm, extend it to cover your storage area
  • Photograph valuable garden plants or ornaments.
  • Mark your property with your zip code. This makes stolen property easier to trace and it can be positively identified as yours.
  • Check that your household insurance policy covers theft from your garden and storage buildings.
  • If you have a local Neighborhood Watch Program, join

To Till or Not To Till

by Chowgene Koay

The Potential Social and Economical Benefits of Leaving the Soil Alone


Tilling the soil removes compaction allowing for aeration, water penetration, and the addition of any soil amendments for plant roots. In the short term, this can be a benefit and can be a necessary measure when working with poor soil conditions. However, in the long term, routine tilling has shown to ruin soil structures by destroying the complex structure of life and organic matter.

The University of Nebraska conducted research in 1981 to determine the affects of tilling and no-till methods on a 300-acre farm, and within a few years, the advantages of the no-till method began to show its profitability to the farm.

By removing annual or seasonal tilling, the soil is stimulated with microbial activity ranging from earthworms, beneficial bacteria, fungi, organic matter decomposition, and a huge range of biological activity. Digging into this soil structure routinely releases large amounts of nutrients that cannot be used effectively by plants and kills off the beneficial organisms that we want. Eliminating tilling also retains water effectively, disposes of organic matter to the plant roots due to microbial activity, increases carbon storage, reduces labor, and more.

If you are starting a new garden, consider the benefits of no-till methods and determine whether it will be beneficial for your environment. Heavy clay or poorly drained soils may require digging to aerate the soil. However, there are other alternatives. With patience, planting perennial plants in a raised bed can penetrate the clay soil without too much backbreaking work. One other method is to introduce plants that can break up the clay without you having to dig too much (google it, and you’ll find it). Keep in mind, that clay tends to hold lots of nutrients. The opposite is sandy soils, which do not retain nutrients well at all.

If in doubt, it does not hurt to try whatever works for you. The beauty of gardening and working with nature is the number of ways you can solve one problem.

Free Tomato 101 course


It is time to plant tomatoes!

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed “Tomato 101–The Basics of Growing Tomatoes,” a free online course on growing tomatoes.

Topics include:

  • Garden and soil preparation
  • plant selection and training
  • fertilization
  • irrigation
  • weed, disease and insect control
  • general care

Available at:

*A free user account is required for participation.

Gardening by the Moon

Simply put, gardening by the moon is using the moon’s gravitational forces to benefit anything from growing crops to planning a romance.  The Amish have used moon planting techniques forever, and are some of the best growers.  I used the system last Fall and saw the results personally!  I wouldn’t promote it otherwise.

For beginners, we can start planting by the quarters of the moon.  Aside from looking at your calendar, here is an easy way to know which quarter the moon is in: “D-O-C”
First quarter – “New Moon” a slim crescent resembling the right side of the capital “D.”
Second quarter – looks like someone took a crayon and colored in the “D.”
Third quarter – Full Moon period of a waning moon, a perfect “O.”
Fourth quarter – the Full Moon decreases, resembling a capital “C.”
From there the moon becomes slimmer and slimmer until it disappears and turns into “D” again.

What to plant during each quarter of the moon?
First quarter – annual plants that produce seeds on the outside of the edible veggie, for example your greens and broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage types.
Second quarter – annual plants that produce sees on the inside of the edible veggie, tomatoes, peppers, squashes.
Third quarter – Annual plants that produce the edible part of the plant underground, potatoes, carrots, beets.  Also plant perennial flowers and vegetables that need to establish a strong root system.

– Andrea
Oak Cliff Organics