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As you walk into the garden from the gate at Anteater Drive you are likely to see a lady’s bicycle propped against the fence. Many of you will recognize the cyclist as Cordelia Martinez, proprietor of garden plots 51 & 52 Peony Lane. She and her husband Steve Gross joined AVCG in its former Arroyo Vista location over a decade ago, when their son Samuel was only three years old. As a veteran garden member, Cordelia kindly shared her family’s story with Meet the Gardeners editor Marie Connors. Look for Cordelia’s Gazpacho Recipe on our Favorite Recipes web page.
For me gardening is a necessity of life, and I’ve been fortunate to live in many places where I could garden: A small farm-sized one in New Jersey, front lawn raised beds and terra cotta pots in Texas, and a big backyard garden in Santa Ana when we first relocated to California. Steve is on the faculty at UCI, and when we moved to University Hills our house didn’t realoly have hte space or sunlight for a vegetable agarden; my toddler was already addicted to tomatoes off the vine, and we were new in town and wanted to meet the neighbors. Back then it was easy to get a plot, and we werre able to get started quickly.
My early AVCG gardens were very child-friendly. My friends and I took our kids over there in the afternoon and worked while they played. It’s wonderful to see that story play out over and over again as new families with little ones join the garden. Back then, we grew novel things, tried to grow pumpkins, tried to make cute little landscapes and did lots of trial-by-error learning. We grew potatoes all the time then, probably because they are easy and the kids enjoy digging them up so much.
Every year now we grow Swiss chard—red, pink, green, and yellow—because we all like it and it’s so reliable. The last couple of years we’ve grown Spanish Padron peppers; they’re like Japanese shishitos but more reliably mild in my experience. We always try to grow cucumbers; sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. In the winter we grow lettuce until it gets too hot for it. We experimented with berries and grapes, but anything that cuts down on tomato real estate goes.
Fortunately, we have a dehydrator, which comes in handy during especially abundant tomato seasons. When there are just too many tomatoes, like there were at the end of last year, we just pop them in freezer bags. We can tomatoes and pizza sauce in the summer, and use the more past type tomatoes in pa amb tomaquet (Catalan tomato and bread) constantly, but mostly, we drink gallons of gazpacho.
Pests like gophers and birds are discouraging, as is the occasional blight or bug infestation. Some years we do everything right, and pfft. Others, we forget this or that, and still things work out. Over the long haul, it’s a plus. Always. We plan to keep experimenting with new plants and new varieties. This year we moved some of the raised beds around to make room for fruit trees in pots. We have a Satsuma mandarin, and Australian finger lime, and an apple free. Wish us luck!
Cordelia Martinez and family
The South Coast Air Quality Management District has a new year-round Electric Lawn Mower Rebate Program. You will be able to purchase a new cordless electric lawn mower at any retail center or online. Rebates range from $150 to $250 depending on the purchase price of the lawn mower. Eligibility is open to residents of South Coast AQMD’s jurisdiction.
Go to this website or download the flyer below for more details.
A Brief History of Community Gardening on the UCI Campus
By Char and Tim Bradley
The original community garden, located at the corner of Campus Drive and University Drive, was started as part of a horticultural class taught by Professor Joe Arditti, from the School of Biological Sciences. When the class was not being taught, other interested people on campus worked the plots. Eventually, the horticulture class was not offered and the garden became a community garden.
In 1999 the campus decided to expand Mesa Court freshman housing, which meant our garden would become a parking lot. Luckily, Jim Craig, the Director of Student Housing, allowed us to relocate to a space near Arroyo Vista Housing. There we established 100 garden plots, each 12′ by 16′ in size. At this time the University required us to be a registered campus club. So we organized as Arroyo Vista Community Garden.
Unexpected funding became available to the University to build additional undergraduate housing. This resulted in our garden being relocated again in 2008. The University was very accommodating in building the garden at the current site next to Palo Verde Graduate Housing. This site has 99 plots, each one measuring 12′ by 16′. As part of this move, which required modifying our Constitution and Bylaws, the club officers and members-at-large decided to guarantee a minimum of 10 plots to current UCI students. We retained our initials (AVCG) but changed the name to Anteater Village Community Garden.
Due to the visibility of our garden at this site along Anteater Drive, we immediately acquired a waiting list for plots. For the last several years the waiting list has remained at about 100 people and unfortunately it takes about three years to reach the top of the list. Students sometimes move up the waitlist more quickly due to the guarantee of a minimum of 10 plots to current UCI students.
The Anthill Village Community Garden is the only true community garden at UCI. We have nearly 190 members, 40% of whom are alums, retirees and other residents from the surrounding community, 60% of whom are affiliated with UCI as current students, faculty, staff, alumni or retirees.
The University has designated land that can be used by the AVCG Club. Our use of this land is at the discretion of the University. A community garden on the campus is not guaranteed. However, we know the University is supportive of our efforts and seeks to encourage sustainability activities. Our current location is on an earthquake fault (east – west) and has a very large water main going under the garden (north – south) that serves graduate housing and University Hills. So we are hopeful that this location will be continuously available to the club for many years to come.
The University requires that our plots be continuously worked so that the garden remains attractive. Our club has chosen to establish crews that work to keep the club functioning well. All members are expected to volunteer a minimum of 12 hours per year. This plan has been working well for several years. The University requires that two of the three officers be current UCI faculty, staff or students. This is probably the most challenging requirement. Although alums and retirees are a vital part of the club, less than one-third of our members are current UCI faculty, staff or students.
Community gardens are increasingly important as housing becomes more and more dense, often without sufficient land to grow anything. Additionally, community gardens help people to grow more of what they eat, provide a sustainable environment, and encourage collaboration amongst people who enjoy growing plants. Our Events Crew organizes several activities each year that are open to our club members and their families. Lastly, we want to mention that many members of the local UCI community, including visiting family and young children, frequently and regularly walk through the garden just to enjoy looking at what gardeners are growing.
Char and Tim Bradley joined the community garden about 25 years ago and took part in the club organization as it was at that time. Due to their roles at UCI (Char was University Registrar and Tim was a professor and Chair of the Academic Senate in 2007-08), they were positioned to help represent the goals of the garden during this critical period of transition. They both have been officers and members of the club’s steering committee for many years. Thank you Char and Tim!
–Marie Connors, Feb. 11, 2017
Getting to Know Char and Tim Bradley
For anyone who has spent time strolling around the southeast quadrant of our garden, it’s obvious that Char and Tim Bradley, caretakers of plots 21 and 31, share a special fondness for old garden roses, also known as heritage roses. Char says that roses are like children: they’re each unique, captivating, and remarkable. They have been collecting unusual specimens since 1999, and were happy to share their considerable expertise on the subject.
Q. Why old roses?
A. Between the 1950s and about 2000, many beautiful roses were hybridized with the goal being a single rose at the top of a strong stem, good disease resistance, and repeat bloom. However, fragrance was lost as part of the hybridizing process. Heritage roses offer fragrance, beauty, and variety. Heritage roses are ones that were first grown prior to 1910. After 1910 newly introduced roses are considered to be “modern” roses.
However, many old roses bloom only once a year. They put on a spectacular show that lasts six or eight weeks, then rest until the following year. Due to limited space, we have planted old roses that are remontant, i.e., they repeat bloom.
What’s different about gardening with old roses as opposed to modern hybrid varieties?
Heritage roses are easy to care for, although they can have more black spot than modern roses. While they are so lovely in bloom, they do not last as long in a vase as modern, hybridized roses. Often old roses are on short stems, buried in the bush. As we grew more old roses we had to retire our large vases for smaller, shorter vases to display them. Nevertheless, they are gorgeous, unique, and deserve to be enjoyed . . . and, we like to think about all of the history that these roses have witnessed. For instance, we collected five specimens in old California cemetery plots with gravestones that date back to the 1860s.
What other garden plants blend well with heritage roses?
Roses are beautiful planted along with just about anything. We’ve seen them planted near clematis, salvias, and lavender. As we focus again on planting more vegetables in our community garden plots, we can tell you that they do well next to Swiss chard, beets, onions and kale.
Where can gardeners acquire heritage roses?
The Antique Rose Emporium in Texas and Pickering Nurseries in Canada are two good sources for purchasing heritage roses. Old rose lovers are helping to keep the varieties alive by sharing cuttings and growing them in their gardens.
What are some of your favorites?
Others (not pictured) include:
In the early- to mid-1800s, rose hybridizers in Europe were trying to introduce yellow to the primarily pink, red and white roses that grew in Europe. Also, they were trying to introduce repeat blooming from China roses. Previously, roses in Europe bloomed once a year. The first yellow, repeat blooming rose was Safrano, introduced by Beauregard (France) in 1839. We have grown this rose in our plot, but sadly, it died several years after being replanted from our previous community garden location in Arroyo Vista.
The first hybrid tea rose, which is the parent of most modern roses, was La France, introduced by Jean-Baptiste André (fils) Guillot in 1867. We are growing this rose in our garden plot.
Old Blush or Parson’s Pink China
This gem is always in bloom.
This rose, introduced in 1894, blooms first in a very lovely light yellow and slowly turns to cherry red as the blooms age. This bush also is always in bloom.
Thanks to Char and Tim for their many years of service to gardening on campus!
Read more from Char and Tim on the history of gardening at UCI.
–Marie Connors, Feb. 11, 2017
You are invited to the UCI Earth Week Committee Meeting
Based on the responses in the Doodle form, the next Earth Week meeting will be Friday, October 28th 2016 at 12:00 PM in the Global Sustainability Resource Center (GSRC) located in G464 at the Fourth Floor of the Student Center South.
We want to hear your voice and work with you to create yet another amazing Earth Week this Spring Quarter 2017.
Kimberly Duong* and Ezra Monroy**
Sustainability Co-curricular Working Group
UCI Earth Week Committee
*Kimberly is a third year Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering, president of Climatepedia.
**Ezra is a second year B.S. student in Environmental Engineering, board for Aquaponics-UCI and VP of Service for Theta Psi.
Notice #1: Suspicious Activity at Garden
October 16, 2016. One of our members arrived at the garden and was met at the gate by a male claiming to be a security guard. He blocked the gate, asked if she was a resident and to see paperwork. Rather than confront the individual, she left.
Our garden is open to the public and community members frequently walk through. We encourage them to view and enjoy the beauty of the garden. However, only registered club members work garden plots.
Please be observant and if you see or experience an incident that is inappropriate, contact the UCI police at 824-5223. In case of emergency, dial 911.
Notice #2: Coyote Sighting Near Garden
From Darlene: “Yesterday 11:15a ( OCt 17, mid day) all of a suddenly the crows started yapping I thought it was about food… then i saw 3 take off and chase a large coyote away from garden fence towards the ravine. Thank you crows! Told a young woman to watch her unleashed small dog in garden (snack sized!) and all should be aware if you bring small children , if a coyote is so hungry it’s coming out midday.”
Please continue to use good sense around the garden and stay safe!
As many of you know, ants are a problem in our garden, and since 2012, we have had a program to reduce and control ants. Please read below to learn more about what we do to control these pests.
Why do we need to control ants?
The Argentine ants that we have in our garden are both annoying to us when we garden, but more importantly, they protect crop-damaging insects such as scale, mealybugs, aphids and other plant piercing sucking insects to harvest their sweet secretion called honeydew. These insects carry bacteria and viruses from plant to plant and can be very destructive to our plants.
What are we doing at the AVCG garden to help control ants?
We have 19 ant bait station filled with ant bait placed throughout the garden using
the KM AntPro® insect activated bait dispensing system, (NOP) certified organic. The KM AntPro System works to destroy the ants and their colonies.
What is the Plan for 2016/2017 for ants at the AVCG? (based on our experience and satellite image of our garden input from Ken Kupfer the founder of KM AntPro)
- There are 13 permanent stations, placed strategically in Plots.
- There are 4 stations placed in the corners of the garden.
- There are 2 stations (Floaters) that can be moved to Plots that are having ant problems for short term assistance.
- Ant Control Crew members will monitor the stations and fill with bait when required.
The Goal at AVCG is to continue to reduce our Ant population thereby protecting our garden plants from disease and allowing beneficial insects to help with overall productivity.
If you are experiencing an Ant Invasion: or have questions about our ant control program, please feel free to e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org
More info on Bait Stations:
“Refillable Bait Stations for Argentine Ant Management
Currently the most effective baits available to consumers for Argentine ants are the borate-based baits. Prepackaged bait stations usually contain 5.4% borate. They can be effective at killing foragers in the home but are less effective at managing major infestations, because foragers are killed before they can bring the bait back to the colony.
Liquid borate products with a lower percentage of active ingredient (0.5 to 1.0% concentration in a sugar-water solution) will have more impact on the colony, although it may take several days to a week to see results and they need to be used in larger, refillable bait stations. Products with the lower concentration of borates (e.g., Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait) are registered for home use but are difficult to find in stores and may have to be ordered online.
Several refillable bait stations are available including the Ant Café, Antopia, Ant-No-More, and KM AntPro. University of California research with the KM AntPro dispenser has shown that it can be effective when properly installed and maintained outside the home. Usually at least one dispenser is installed around each side of a house and placed in shady areas where ants trail. Stations must be checked regularly and refilled as necessary. For more information about installation and maintenance, see the video on refillable bait stations.” (Rust and Choe 2012).
Reference: Rust, M.K., and Choe, D.-H. 2012. “Ants.” PEST NOTES, Number 7411. Retrieved from: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html
Just Announced: Student Session with Aura Tegria, 26-year-old Colombian Indigenous U’wa Legal Advisor
During the upcoming 2016 World Indigenous Law Conference, the Sustainability Initiative is honored to host special guest Aura Benilda Tegria Cristancho. Students are warmly welcome to come to the Global Sustainability Resource Center next Wednesday, October 19, at 10:00 am for a one-hour exclusive student session with Ms.Tegria.Reserve your spot now.
Ms. Tegria is a lead community legal advisor for the indigenous Colombian U’wa people. For decades, the U’wa community has worked to protect their ancestral lands and culture in rural northeastern Colombia, where the waters flow into the Amazon basin. The U’wa assert an agenda for community development that respects the land, often putting them at odds with state and corporate interests that seek to use natural resources within the community’s ancestral domain in ways that are contrary to the community’s cultural values.
The UCI community has three opportunities to interact with Ms. Tegria during her visit:
- Students: Wednesday, October 19, 10:00-11:00 am. Informal conversation for UCI students with Aura Tegria. In Spanish with English translation. Global Sustainability Resource Center (4th Floor Student Center South). Find out more and reserve your spot.
- UCI affiliates of the Latin American Studies Program: Wednesday, October 19, 12:00-1:00 pm. Lunch seminar with Aura Tegria. In Spanish. Humanities Gateway, Room 1341. Email email@example.com for more information and to inquire about availability.
- Conference attendees: Thursday, October 20 – Saturday, October 22. Day 1 Plenary with Aura Tegria. World Indigenous Law Conference. Beckman Center. Find out more and RSVP.
Howdy Fellow Gardeners,
I ‘m happy to update you all on some improvements to the Resources section of the website and other exciting new developments from the Communications Crew.
1.) We have a fairly new and expanding section called “Pests and Garden Visitors”. This section is designed to inform gardeners and to document specific sightings in our garden. Rather than serving as a replacement for the more detailed information on each species available elsewhere (with links), my hope is that these lighthearted articles might inspire your curiosity to learn more about the non-vegetable residents of our garden. I also hope that this can serve as something of a documentary-style project. To that end, all gardeners are welcomed and invited to start sending in any photos you may have taken over time of pests, animals, and other visitors or garden residents. Rare sightings are especially encouraged.
2.) We have been fortunate that in the past year, gardener Larry has been providing us with valuable insight into the “Best of the Best” varieties based on a number of factors. To make it easier for fellow gardeners to find and refer back to these posts, I’ve given this recurring feature its own landing page under Resources. Check back in the future for more excellent advice from Larry.
3.) Another recurring feature that I hope will continue is our “Meet the Gardeners” (Mary Bailey’s) series. There is already a link to this page on the website, but if you visit it you will see that we could really use a few more gardeners! If you are interested in being interviewed and featured here, or would like to conduct your own interview of a fellow gardener, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, with the word WEBSITE in the subject line. And, if I may just say – please don’t be shy. We are looking for first-time gardeners, seasoned veterans, and everything in between in order to learn about and celebrate the amazing community in the Anthill Village Community Garden.
Lastly, we currently have quite a lot of room on the Communications Crew and are always looking for new writers. If you think you might enjoy earning your yearly hours by pecking out words on a keyboard, please contact the new communications crew leader, Jim. Former members are also invited to get back in touch.
Keep on Growing!
-The Communications Crew