October 18, 2019
VISTA MATTERS: Go Behind the Scenes
VISTA - Behind the Scenes

Whether its a Broadway show or your favorite restaurant, lots of activity happens behind the scenes to produce a successful performance or a delicious meal. And, that’s what happens at VISTA Gardens. When you visit the garden and tend your plants it may look like things just happen to be in the right place at the right time. But we have many activities and people working behind the scenes to ensure that the garden functions well and meets our gardeners’ needs.

Some of our members may not know that the garden is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with a set of Bylaws that spell out when we have meetings, how our Directors are appointed, and what the various Committee functions are. The Board has an Executive Committee of the President (Bill West), Vice President (Marty Kleiner), Treasurer (Susan Baxter Gibson), and Secretary (Jennifer Grebenschikoff). Each Committee has a volunteer chair who reports to the Board monthly about what that committee is doing and what resources it will need going forward.  

For example, MJ Wentzel is the Chair of the Compost Committee. Without her team working throughout the week picking up fruit and veggie discards from the church pantry plus all the work they do each Thursday to turn and move the compost bins, we wouldn’t have all the fabulous Black Gold soil that each of use in our beds. Two others who work even more behind the scenes are Leah Wooten and Susan Baxter Gibson. The impressive VISTA website and weekly newsletters are all due to Leah’s focus on making these communications happen. Our budget, expenses, revenues and tax reports are all handled by Susan. Both Leah and Susan work many hours behind the scenes to ensure that you know what is happening at VISTA and that our finances are in good order. There are numerous other members who put in many hours handling Committee responsibilities that keep our garden such a special place for all of us.

One more very important behind the scenes activity concerns our status as a Hillsborough County Park. VISTA Garden is on County land and that requires us (i.e., Bill and Marty who do all this) to meet all the County requirements: annual reports, meetings with County staff, lobbying for funds, plus fiscal and insurance and regulatory compliance. In addition, we are always alert to opportunities to reinforce our viability as a County park.

So, if you aren’t able for whatever reason to commit your required volunteer time to pulling weeds, or carting mulch, or moving soil, there are plenty of other behind the scenes activities for you. Just click here to see the Committee list that describes what each one does and who to contact to join that group. See you backstage or in the kitchen soon!
Save the Date: VISTA Gardens Intergenerational Event
November 16, 2019
Time: TBD

**External Education Opportunities**
Digging in with Community Gardens
UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County
November 15, 2019
9:30 AM - 4:00PM
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774

Learn about common vegetable diseases and pests from UF/IFAS Extension Specialists, Dr. Gary Vallad and Dr. Hugh Smith. Practice your identification skills on a guided plant walk through a local community garden with UF/IFAS Extension Specialists and Extension Agents. Add new strategies to recruit volunteers and address common garden organization challenges to your garden toolbox. Network and meet other community gardeners. $25.00 includes lunch. Register by November 1, 2019. Questions? Contact Susan Webb at styler0308@ufl.edu or 813-757-2226.

Thank you
Thank you to everyone who joined the recent education series with Lisa Meredith. We hope you found the sessions informative and have great success with your fall garden.
Seed(ling) Sale
The House of the Rising Seeds has extra seedlings available in exchange for a donation. They also have seeds for sale - rasdishes, assorted carrot varieties, beets, turnips and lettuce. Two individual packets for a $1 donation.

If you are interested in ordering seedlings or seeds, please email Karen by clicking on the link below.

We're All Wet
An update from Infrastructure chair, Marty Kleiner

I have been monitoring the watering and automatic sprinkler situation and local “flooding”.  

Several things I have noticed. 
  • Once plants have sprouted and grown for a few weeks, we should water only two or three times each week (set irrigation timer to a 48 hour frequency). 
  • The plots are completely saturated with water. Any water coming from the sprinklers is simply draining out the bottom.  
  • Between Gordon and Corinna’s bed is a low spot in the garden and the water draining from all the beds around there is accumulating and forming a huge puddle that won’t drain because we keep watering everyday into saturated beds. 

Conclusion : It is important to monitor the moisture levels of your bed, even if you have an automatic sprinkler system. Check your beds by sticking your finger into the soil to determine the moisture level. If it is saturated you need to turn the sprinkler off until it drains. At a minimum, change your watering time to either once every other day or shorten the water time to ten minutes.  

Over watering causes fungus problems with the plants. 

Bottom line is check the wetness of your plot and change the frequency and/or duration as needed. You cannot set it one time and leave it the same through the whole season.