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The Inspiration Garden at Herff Farm A guide for Visitors and Volunteers.

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Presentation on theme: "The Inspiration Garden at Herff Farm A guide for Visitors and Volunteers."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Inspiration Garden at Herff Farm A guide for Visitors and Volunteers

2 History of the Inspiration Garden Land as a Legacy The Cibolo Nature Center is located on what was once Herff Ranch, established in 1852 by pioneer surgeon Dr. Ferdinand Herff. Much of the original 10,000 acre ranch has been developed, but the Friends of the Cibolo Wilderness have purchased the original ranch homestead on acreage adjacent to the Cibolo Nature Center, creating Herff Farm at the Cibolo. On May 5, 2012, the Inspiration Garden opened, in conjunction with the Farmers Market at the Cibolo. The Inspiration Garden is staffed completely by volunteers dedicated to inspiring others to garden and promoting the conservation of natural resources through education and stewardship.

3 Why Organic ? The Inspiration Garden is an example of an organic garden As part of the Cibolo Nature Center our mission is the promotion of conservation and stewardship of natural resources through education. – We focus on healthy soil as nature's way--Think forest floor. – We preach Compost: » Compost: from area soil yards, garden shops and organic guru’s » Compost: from home made compost piles and bins » Compost: from worm castings » Compost: from brewed compost teas – We use natural fertilizers that are gentler and less likely to run off into the creek when we have a gutter buster of rain. – We use ample compost and mulching to help conserve water. – We avoid chemical pesticides and herbicides which have known toxicities, using organic pesticides only as needed – All in all, we promote gardening however one chooses, but think organic is best.

4 The Inspiration Garden: How it all began Soil Preparation: For in-gound Beds: Tilled soil to 6” adding: 3” compost – for soil conditioning and fertilizer lava sand – for micronutrients Alfalfa pellets – for soil conditioning and fertilizer.Granular fertilizer – for fertilizer Earthworm castings – for earthworms and fertilizer For Raised Beds Need from Keith)

5 Our Fencing The Fence – What we did Tall Fencing is essential to keep out deer with smaller grids at the bottom to keep out small critters such as rabbits. Our fence is made with Local cedar posts milled for aesthetics 6’ cattle panels – for ease of building and aesthetics Top rail – for deer and aesthetics Outer layer of small caliper wire for small critters Cool art Gate was donated by Phil Simpson and his art welding class Fences are most the expensive part of a garden Basic cedar posts are about $5, these milled ones are much more – probably $25 each Tall Fence material - $65/20 foot panel. We used 10 panels at $650 Short fence material - $125/100 feet. We used 200 ft. at $250

6 WATER Drip irrigation, saves water by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing and emitters. In our first year, we averaged using 800 gallons of water per week. We have a meter on the irrigation system and are reading and recording usage weekly Current watering schedule: in May 2013 – All in ground beds once a week for 30min (Fri) – Raised beds = 2 times a week: Mon, Fri 35 min – Barrels still daily = 5 min New plantings are hand watered daily for a week after planting. Seeds are watered daily until they sprout We use Drip irrigation in the Inspiration garden: Beds use ½ inch drip hoses with embedded emitters every 12”. Containers use ¼ inch drip hoses with embedded emitters every 12 inches.

7 The Garden Layout

8 Recommended Resources Members of the Inspiration Garden recommendsthe following books for further information and inspiration. Texas Organic Gardening – The Basis Organic Vegetable Gardening by Howard Garret and Malcolm Beck Texas Bug Book by Howard Garret and Malcolm Beck Howard Garrett, known as "the Dirt Doctor" is a leader of the organic movement who hails from Dallas. Malcolm Beck, founder of Garden-Ville, a successful San Antonio leader in organic gardening with emphasis on how to achieve and permanently maintain the finest soil quality. Comal County Gardening Guide by Comal County Master Gardeners A great resource for Kendall county gardeners since we share similar soil and climate All are available for sale from the Nature Center Booth.

9 Connections Our Website: http://inspirationgarden.wikispaces.com – The website includes information on many topics, including. Garden Notes – where you can read about current activities in the garden, add your activities. Pest Identification info Photos of the garden Planting guide Education in the Garden: summaries of some of the classes given Garden Calendar: for fertilizing and foliar feeding, etc. Link to schedule a Volunteer session Contact Ginny ( to be invited to join so you can ‘edit’ and add information. Most

10 Volunteer Opportunities Openers (8:00-10:30) Open Shed and take core books, printed material such as upcoming garden talks, and Donation Jar. Display this stuff on the table in the garden with the sign up sheet found in the Bulletin Box by the mailbox. If a class on this date, put up a sandwich board sign for it. Dry erase equipment is in the shed. Optional - take easel and some little bug cages (if you want to demo bugs). Use the easel to make a “bug of Week’ or Plant of Week’ sign as appropriate. If planting - any tools you need but did not bring, seeds and amendments. Closers (10:30-12:30) Schmooze with Visitors finish tasks and clean up move stuff back to shed and lock, water as needed. Give Krystal (CNC staff in charge of the Farmers Market) any cash from the Donation jar Waterers: Volunteers pick one day a week to water new plantings and seeds as needed. Garden Guides: Saturday Mornings

11 Worker Bees and Interns Worker Bees: (as schedules allow) Jump in to help out with weekly planting, harvesting, mulching, weeding, deadheading, and whatever tasks are assigned. Participation in special projects and group work days is encouraged. Weekly supervisors will email the day and time for work sessions. Interns: (as schedules allow) Work with Supervisors on the weekly garden to-do lists. During this time, explanations of why and how will be provided. Lessons will include bug identification and how to respond, working with vermiculture, experiments or with other areas of interest. Shadow garden guides and interact with the public to become aware of the issues that many gardeners face Coordinate times to meet with the weekly supervisors

12 Volunteer Sign-up Sign up Genius You will be sent an invitation to join the Sign-up Genius. Then you can link to the site in 2 ways: On the wiki spaces website,, click on the Volunteer sign up page to find a link to the sign up genius. Or you can connect directly to the sign up at: AEAB29A20-inspiration AEAB29A20-inspiration Click on the sign up tab next to the date, time, and position you are volunteering for.

13 Who’s Who in the Inspiration Garden – Garden Guru – Keith Amalung – (tomatoman@gvtc. com). Source of a million gardening tips!tomatoman@gvtc. com Shanna Ciano— shannac@beecre Master of the Master GardenersCiano— shannac@beecre Dani Volmer: Volunteer Extraordinaire Ginny Frederick - 1 st year Master Gardener and Webmaster Mark Mason- markmason@g markmason@g Team leader

14 Who’s Who con’t. Regular Volunteers who are anything but “regular” Nancy Adkins Master Nancy Arthur -- Master worker bee and Sandy Justice experienced Master Gardener with multiple specialties—& our sign Esther and Rick Harvesting Ben Eldridge- Director of adult education for Kystal Mathis- : Director of the Farmers T be continueed

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