Gardeners of Somerset Valley
January 2010					Editor: Mitch Greenbaum

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, January 20, 7:30 PM
North Branch Reformed Church

Happy New Year and it would not be inappropriate to say ‘good riddance’ to 2009. For every action there is often an equally strong reaction and one positive side to all this economic upheaval is that gardening has started to get back in vogue with the rebirth of Victory Gardens and renewed popularity of stay at home vacations. As compared to the ones in WWI and WWII, this version of the Victory Garden besides bringing wholesome food from the yard to the kitchen table hopefully at a lower cost than the supermarket, if done on a massive scale would go a long way towards reducing the use of fossil fuels for agricultural production and transportation. All this leads up to a unique program for the January meeting. Instead of one formal presentation, the Program Committee has asked several members to convene a panel on four timely topics that will help the novice as well as the experienced gardener make the most out of their time and investment.

Two outstanding food growers, Fred Swan and Fred Yarnell start things off with tips on composting. Soil enhancement probably ranks #1 for improving the quantity and quality of yields in both vegetables and flower blooms. Most complaints about composting have to do with the length of time it takes to complete the process, and the panel may have some tricks or proven equipment that helps speed up things up which ultimately means more output.

Last year, on a less than $10 investment in seeds and utilizing a relatively small plot, I harvested hundreds of dollars in salad greens, mainly lettuce, spinach, kale and chard. For the past twenty years, my goal has been that on any given day from the middle of April to the beginning of December, my household and guests can enjoy an overflowing bowl of healthy, delicious and fresh salad. I’ve met this objective two out of the last three years and you can too.

The third topic, led by Valerie Boyer, is deer proofing the garden. This may be more like a focus group, and if the club comes up with ‘the answer or answers’, off to the U.S. patent office we should merrily go. More than likely we will hear of many techniques and the need to rotate strategies to keep this #1 pest off balance.

Lastly, Marti Oostveen has another money saving idea, making new plants from cuttings. Or simply put, almost free gardening. Marti also asks that members bring in old gardening magazines for swap. Here’s a chance to reduce clutter, share a good read with a friend, and perhaps pick up an old treasure for your pleasure.

On the business side, Susan Dodge has mentioned a need for the following committees:

Charter Dinner
North Branch Reform Church Gazebo Planting
Audit for Year 2009 (Minimum of two, at least one non-board member)
2010 Nominating Committee (3 Needed) By-Laws Committee

Susan also reminds that the GCNJ flower show is just around the corner on February 18-21. For information about the show contact Terry Holman at or call 908-876-4317. Also check out the Mac Events website.

Dorothy Wright recently heard from Ralph Maiwaldt who has undertaken a six week long camping adventure observing the flowers and birds of Argentina and Chile. Ralph truly has a zest for life and yes, this would make a potentially excellent topic in the future.

As we embark on a new program format next week to basically save money and enhance success in the garden, there is another no cost activity that we should all embrace, laughter. Let’s strive to have more fun in 2010.