VISTA Matters is the weekly community newsletter for garden members. Included are key dates and communications necessary for all members to know and be involved. 
VISTA Gardens News - May 22, 2017
Education: Give it a Rest!

Are you planning to a break from your garden this summer? Would you like to avoid coming back to a bed of weeds this fall? 

Join Bill White this Saturday morning and learn how to 'rest' or 'summerize' your bed while simultaneously prepping the soil for fall. 

Date: Saturday, May 27
Time: 10:00  - 11:00 AM
Location: VISTA Gardens, at the picnic benches
Volunteer Grant Writer: Paul Posoli

A call went out in the last newsletter requesting grant writing assistance. That call was answered by Paul Posoli and the Board is thankful for his willingness to lead this work on behalf of the cmmunity. 

If you are aware of grant or donation opportunities that would be a good fit for VISTA, please submit them through this newsletter and they will be routed to Paul. 

Paul, Thank you for your willingness to serve!
Compost Corner: Flies are Fly

Our compost initiative has been very active lately as contributions from community partners have increased. This is a great relationship for both VISTA and our partners as it expands quality compost production and improves community sustainability.

As compost contributions have grown, so has the fly population around the compost bins. Flies can be both a help and a hindrance. One fly type, the Black Soldier, Hermetia illucens (Linnaeus), is attracted to our compost and are quite welcome. Both the fly and its larvae are voracious reducers of all kinds of organic waste; they don't bother food that isn't rotten, they are not known as disease vectors and, despite looking like a small wasp, they don't sting or bite. Our compost system is built to take advantage of this naturally occurring ally.

Nonetheless, we don't want this fly bonanza to get too large. This is one reason you see full compost piles topped with several inches of leaves or mulch. This topping is an insulating biofilter that discourages some flies, absorbs odors and retains heat.

These reasons also are why kitchen and garden waste going into a collection pile should be visually covered with leaves. Not only do leaves add valuable dry carbon to the usually wet nitrogen-rich waste, they also act as a small biofilter when added on top of the food consistent with the top layer the committee adds to the full piles.

As a rule of thumb, cover your compost contribution with leaves until you cannot see the scraps. This does not prevent flies completely, and again we want some of their help, but it does help to keep their population from booming.

As always, the Compost Committee welcomes your help. If you see something amiss or problematic, bring it to our attention. If you have a question, fire away. If you want to learn more, come join us on a work day - it's still bright and early every Thursday.

Happy gardening,
Joshua Marks
Compost Chair
Ongoing Activities

Saturday Work Parties
Fulfill your community volunteer requirement by joining fellow gardeners on Saturday mornings to tackle the maintenance needs of the garden at large. It's a fun time and you get some exercise and the garden stays looking great. Keeping the garden regularly maintained prevents us from major intermittent workload.  The party starts at 9 a.m. every weekend, weather permitting. 

Compost Thursdays
Committee members meet at the garden Thursday's at 8 a.m. to turn the compost. Please join the team if you would like to learn more about composting.

Compost Materials Needed 
General reminder: To produce high quality compost the community needs to provide a steady supply of material. Please bring your garden or vegetable waste to the garden, don't let it go to the landfill!

Keep in touch with VISTA
We are working hard to streamline communications to ensure you receive the right content in the right place when you need it.
1. Facebook: Like "VISTA Gardens" to receive updates on key activities throughout the week
If you do NOT use Facebook please reply to this email and you will be added to a separate email distribution list. The team will do its best to email any time sensitive updates requiring community attention to this list when a post is made to Facebook.
2. Tuesday email: Summarizes key activity and news for the upcoming week
3. Monthly newsletter: More detail into topics of interest and education (see link above!)
4. Web site: Our address is vistagardentampa.org (note: no 's' in garden). A repository of membership information, detailed education, links to articles on shared topics of interest. Plus much, much more. 

VISTA Gardens | comms@vistagarden.org | vistagardentampa.org
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