6th Annual Spring Kick-off 4/20/19!

Spring is getting close, which means it’s time to get our hands in some SW soil! SW Community Gardens is excited to host our 6th Annual Annual Spring Kick-off Event, April 20th, from 11am-3pm in Lansburgh Park (1098 Delaware Avenue SW).

If you didn’t know already, SW’s only community garden is located in Lansburgh Park. A group of neighbors committed to bringing communal gardening to SW established the garden in 2013. The garden is composed of two sections: one for individual plot owners and a communal section open to anyone during our regular work days, which are Wednesdays 6-7pm, and Sundays 4-6pm. Throughout the gardening season, we plant, have cooking demos, compost, paint, hang out, and of course, wedding, which no garden can go without!

The Spring Kick-off represents the garden’s opening for the year, and the beginning of our regular work days. In previous years, we’ve held a variety of workshops, planted, and conducted art projects, all with some funky good tunes playing in the background.

Last year, we won the first micro-grant, Pocket Change, sponsored by the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly and the Southwest Business Improvement District to transform our kick-off into the SW Earth, Arts, and Music Day. Muralist, Eric B. Ricks (@versatilevice), facilitated a garden-themed paint-by-the number mural that sits outside the garden now, then to wrap up, Carly Harvey’s Kiss & Ride band (@carlyhmusic) performed some funky, bluesy numbers to soothe the soul.

This year, among other activities, we’ll have a compost workshop, plant the communal beds, and art activities facilitated by SW’s own, Chris Williams, better known as @crazyuncledc (you may have seen him at the SW Farmers Markets or during the Friday Night Markets). It’ll be a great time and we hope to see you there! You can get in touch with us via Facebook (facebook.com/swgardens), Twitter (@swgardens), and Instagram (@swgardensdc).

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2018 Fundraising Effort

Although the garden is closed, today, marks the beginning of our end-of-year fundraising effort. We will have one month, December 15th, to raise as much as we can. We’ve already acquired $200 in gift certificates to Johnny’s Selected Seedsfor signing up with the online platform SeedMoney.

Back in 2015, we did the SeedMoney online challenge for the first time. We were able to raise a total of $1400, with $400 coming from winning a ChallengeGrant. We were the 70th fastest group (out of 75 possible places) to raise $400. This year, the first 50 groups to raise $600 will receive the Challenge Grant, which will be an additional $400.

The funds we previously raised helped us purchase new tools, gloves, seeds, soil, and fund garden projects. Even though we won the PocketChange grant last January, we still splurged a bit to make the paint-by-the-numbers mural happen. To continue our progress in the garden and in the community, we’ll need to continue to raise funds.

If you think our work merits financial support, please donate, or share the link below with your friends and networks:

SW Community Gardens – SeedMoney Donation Page

2018 – Year In Review

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As October nears its end, it’s time to reflect on another year in the garden.

This year, the garden began with a bang — the SW Earth, Arts, and Music Day. Our annual spring kick-off was transformed by a $1000 micro-grant from the SW BID and Southwest Neighborhood Assembly. In addition to our usual communal planting, we had a collaborative mural project, as well as live music. You can read the full review of the event we submitted to the Southwester for their May 2018 issue.

This year we also partnered with Christ United Methodist Church to help build some garden plots on the church’s property. The project was spearheaded by Diana Park, a member of the church. With help from fellow gardeners, 6 plots were built and filled with soil so that members of the church, and other SW residents could try their green thumbs out after Sunday service. This is a great collaboration that we look forward to exploring more next year.

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Throughout the growing year, we grew arugula, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, beets, peanuts, peas, carrots, and collards. Some of our biggest harvests came from the sweet potatoes, corn, peanuts, and cilantro.

Some highlights of the year included eating corn straight off the stalk with farmhands of all ages, learning how much our younger farmhands enjoy eating cucumbers with apple cider vinegar and coarse salt, our 45-pound sweet potato harvest, the “Gelato In The Garden Fundraisier” with Dolci Gelati, and when we brought the bike blender out to make garden-grown basil pesto.

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New this year, was the launching of our compost cooperative. We have composting available to SW residents 24/7/365. During our Sunday work days, we work the compost piles to help the decomposition process occur as quickly as possible. Every Sunday, that wasn’t cancelled due to weather, a small group of SW neighbors volunteered their time and energy to help compost. Nothing says neighborliness like sorting through random people’s food scraps!

All in all, it was another great year in the garden. We welcomed new faces and strengthened relationships with familiar ones. So thankful we have this green communal space to gather! We hope to see you some time!

SW Earth, Arts, and Music Day 2018

Whoa! What a day!

Southwest DC showed up, and showed out for our 5th annual spring kick-off, and first ever SW Earth, Arts, and Music Day!

The day started with volunteers coming into the garden to help weed, plant, and paint. Weeding needed to be done along our food fence area, a space we designed for passersby to enjoy blackberries, rosemary, and lavender, and amongst the garden beds. While some volunteers weeded, others planted a variety of crops: lettuce, arugula, spinach, radishes, carrots, peas, peanuts, and beets. For those that weren’t ready to get their hands dirty with soil, they could choose to get them dirty with paint! Volunteers painted garden related signs, and helped with our new garden mural, designed by artist, Eric B. Ricks (Instagram: versatilevice).

The mural is a must-see. The artist naturally includes geometric shapes and nature in his artwork, and the garden mural is no different. There’s a subtle homage to SW as well, but you’ll have to visit it and find it for yourself. Ricks implemented a paint-by-the-numbers approach which invited collaboration, and was accessible to participants of all ages and skill levels. The mural serves as a welcome to not only the garden, but to Lansburgh Park in general.

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As 1pm approached, weeds had been pulled, seeds had been planted, and paint had been used to artistic ends. It was time for a little reprieve. Violent King, an herbalist, who works with the non-profit, food justice oriented organization, and fellow garden-neighbor, Dreaming Out Loud, lead a mini-workshop on herbs, how to use them, and their many medicinal benefits.

It was then time for lunch. Sweetgreen donated half-salads, and Cava donated pita chips, breads, and dips. Additionally, fellow SW neighbors, Kate and Debbie, contributed a variety of healthy food options, and spoke with people about their simple recipes.

As 3pm rolled around, an untold amount of weeds had been pulled, several hundred seeds had been planted, and the mural was nearing completion. It was now time for the music! The music was delivered via the soulful, bluesy vocals of Carly Harvey, with ample support from her band, Kiss & Ride, and fiancee, Sol Roots. The band played an hour long show of original songs and covers, ranging from a bluesy version of, “Crazy,” to Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” all the while keeping a steady groove, and listeners deep in the pocket. 

All in all, it was a great beginning to the gardening year. It’s a beautiful thing when the community comes together, and this event was a testament to that. We had nearly 100 volunteers. This event would not have been possible without the work of our initial crew of 14 volunteers, as well as the lead volunteers, the generous donations from restaurants and businesses, the Southwest Business Improvement District for funding, equipment, organizing, and staffing, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly for co-sponsoring the event, Mercy Hill Church for always being supportive, and the brilliance of artists, Eric Ricks, Carly Harvey, Sol Roots, and the whole Kiss & Ride band.

Now, that we’ve kicked things off, our regular work days will commence. You can join us in the garden every Wednesday 6-7pm, and Sunday 4-6pm until late October. Feel free to reach out to us via email, swgardensdc@gmail.com, or any of our social media profiles. Hope to see you in the garden!

SW Earth, Arts, and Music Day – April 14th!

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Due to inclement weather, the event is being re-scheduled for Saturday, April 14th, 11am-4pm

Artist, Eric B. Ricks, will hosting a paint-by-number mural project. The design will include nature, geometric shapes, and an homage to SW. You can check out more of Mr. Ricks’ artwork via his Instagram page: Versatilevice.

Velo Cafe and Sweetgreen will be donating coffee and half-salads for volunteers as well.

You can RSVP and stay in touch with all the details here: SW Earth, Arts, and Music Day.

SW Earth, Arts, And Music Day

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SW friends and neighbors, we’ve been invited to present our proposal for a SW Earth, Art & Music Day at this event for a chance to win $1000 to make it happen!

Attendees are asked to make a $5 donation, listen to proposals, then vote for their favorite over a meal. Save the date and make it if you can!

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To get a head start, you can read our proposal here.

That’s A Wrap For 2017!

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Friends, the garden is now officially closed for the year. Thank you for following along, and joining in on our journey!

What a year it’s been! To put it in some perspective, here’s some data we’ve collected:

  • This year, we had a total of 813 visits — an increase of 158 from last year.
  • Of the total visits, 155 were folks visiting the garden for the first time — an increase of 75 from 2016.
  • We harvested a little over 150 pounds of produce — an increase of 13 pounds from the previous year.

More isn’t always better, but it’s exciting to see that the garden is still growing. We’re always looking for ways to deepen the impact and relationships we create through the garden, so please let us know any suggestions you have for the future.

As spring emerges in 2018, we’ll reach out to you all again to start planning for 2018. We hope you’ll join us!

We’ll Be At The DC State Fair


We’ll Be At The DC State Fair!

The DC State Fair is a free showcase of the District’s agricultural and creative talents and a daylong (11am-8pm) celebration of all things homegrown. This year, the Fair will be in our backyard, at 375 and 425 M Street SW. For the first time, we’ll have a table there to show off our garden goods. We’ll be tabling from 11am-5pm, and will have our final hour in the garden, from 5-6pm.

The Fair comes right around the time we’ll be harvesting our peanuts, so we’ll showcasing, Farmer Coy’s favorite comfort food snack, boiled peanuts! Do you have additional suggestions for items we can display? Food, flowers, art? We’re all eyes and ears and can get the necessary materials, just let us know. If you’d also like to volunteer to sit at the table for a little bit, that’d be great as well.

Continuing Carrot Harvests

Although we planned on harvesting all our carrots yesterday, we chose instead, to harvest them as volunteers want them. Carrots of the orange and purple variety will be available all this week, so come and get them!

Instagram Takeover

Last Thursday, we took over the Instagram page of the Southwest Business Improvement District (@SW BID). Thank you to everyone who let us photograph or interview them — I think we gave the Instagram world a good glimpse into our garden activities. if you haven’t already, head over to their Instagram page and check out the posts. You can also check out all the interviews in one YouTube video here.

Available for harvest:

  • Pineapple sage
  • Mint
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary

Cucumbercopia & Compost Cooperative

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Cucumbercopia Continues! 🥒

Did you know that cucumbers are 95% water, are a kidney cleanser, and are great for staying hydrated? If you’re interested in learning more cucumber health benefits, listen to reggae artist, Macka B, rap about about them in this video.

Last week, we harvested another 14 pounds of cucumbers! And now, thanks to Farmer Sarah, we’ve got a new, simple recipe to use at the garden. For as long as we can harvest cucumbers, there will be apple cider vinegar + kosher salt to put on them. Stop by the garden some time to try it for yourself. If you’ve got other recipes we can use for garden produce, let us know!

Garden Get-Together

This Sunday, the garden will host a gathering of volunteers and gardeners for a summer potluck. This will start during the second hour of our regular Sunday work day (5pm). Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish, or a recipe that can be made from produce in the garden. This will be an opportunity for gardeners and volunteers to meet each other, share garden tips, tour garden plots, and celebrate our special space under the sun.

SW Compost Cooperative

DPR has requested that we tinker our system a little to align with their suggested best practices. The requested change won’t be too different from how our system operates now, and will ensure that the bin stays critter-proof, smell-proof, and can be maintained sustainably. Each DPR compost bin is organized as a volunteer cooperative with co-managers and members. In order to use the bin, compost contributors will have to attend a training, and are requested to help process the food scraps on occasion as well.

The DPR garden specialist will conduct the first training, then the co-managers will do future trainings. Each site can have multiple co-managers, and Farmer Coy has volunteered to be one for our garden. If you’re interested in being a co-manager, or you already use the system, please fill out this form. For more general information about the compost cooperative program, you can check out the DPR website here.

Available for harvest:

  • Pineapple sage
  • Mint
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary