West 104th Street Garden

October 28, 2013

Workday Meeting Minutes for October 19, 2013

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 5:16 pm
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104 Garden Workday Meeting Minutes

Date: 10/19/13

Lead by Ann Levine – Steering Committee

1. Announcement of 2nd citation for rat infestation:
Follow–up by Melissa Nichols from Green Thumb.  Discussed possible ways to reduce rodents in garden area: harassment–fill holes with dirt and/or copper mesh, end cat and bird food on sidewalk by large gate and hang “pigeon” poster.  Noted that Maria (owner of now closed pet store on W. 100 St.) was seen putting food out for birds and cats. She needs to be contacted at her home, 435 CPW.
Melissa will contact Green Thumb about acquiring the “pigeon” poster to hang on the outside fence.

2. Private Event Proposal:

Noted proposal was sent to all garden members to review with only a reply from one gardener.  Decided that proposal will be reviewed and edited over the winter interim and presented at the first meeting of 2014 for a vote.

Anna (last name?) suggested we contact NYBotanical Gardens for events procedures/policies and similar venues; agreed to help with the proposal.

3. Stage

Stage “committee” (list members) goal to have final plans completed by the end of ’13.

Cindy (last name?) is an industrial designer and agreed to help with drawings if needed.

4. Website Redesign

Lead by Noreen, with Craig, Dinorah; volunteers welcome.  Will do redesign over the winter interim.

5. New Members Orientation

Proposal by Lou to have mandatory orientation for all new members.  No member will be given a plot unless they have completed the orientation.  Lou volunteered to lead the first orientation meetings. Suggested a handbook could be written (or an old existing one edited) to provide members with garden rules, procedures ( with monitor checklist) and plant and gardening guidance. Put orientation dates on the calendar.  Set up “bookkeeping form for member to sign and attach to application for confirmation of completed orientation.  VOTE:  27/yes, 3/no, 1abstain

6. Budget

Noted over $8,000 in coffers (includes $1,000 stage grant).  Garden has kept expenses low in 2013 and made some money from several flea markets.

Ariel mentioned Block Associations caution to keep our account under $10,000 for tax reasons, but it was concluded that was not really a concern.

7. Motion to move butterfly bush in the East garden to the SE coner of the garden by Katy. VOTE:  25/yes, 3/no.  Bush will be moved by Katy and any volunteers this fall.

9. Work day projects and minor announcements:

  • Plant daffodils (not in SW corner of West garden or under tree)
  • Clean grill
  • Turn off water harvesting
  • Add bleach to water system.
  • Do not prune canes near herb garden

September 17, 2013

Mystery Surrounding the New Queen Bee 

Filed under: Bees,News — by west104garden @ 8:12 am
Tags: ,

I wrote earlier that I hived a new queen bee on August 7 and released her a few days later, after the hive and she got acquainted. She took a little time to settle in but by August 23 she appeared to be laying eggs, which was confirmed five days later. There was a good age (size) range of larvae in the brood cells which means the queen was laying regularly. A large number of brood cells were already capped which happens about a week after the eggs are laid. It was a good start for the new queen and improves chances that the hive will be large enough to survive the winter. While the hive was queenless for about 6 weeks, the bees produced lots of honey in honey cells as well as in what had been brood cells.

I returned to check the hive on Wednesday, September 11. It was the first time that Tobias Heller (8 yrs old) – a garden member with his mother Barbara – handled the bees and frames. He now has his own bee jacket with veiled hood, and is a natural. We weren’t surprised since he’s been researching bees, listening closely to my explanations for months and explaining a lot about the hive and bees to garden members who came around during hive inspections. Even when the bees were climbing around on his gloved hands, he was calm and collected.

We checked 2 of the 3 hive boxes, and discovered that the first brood from the new queen had ‘hatched’, that there is still capped brood that will produce more bees, but that there were no larvae of any age. That means the queen stopped laying at least a week ago, and maybe longer. We don’t know why, and we’re not sure if she is still in the hive. We tried to think like a bee and thought maybe she was not laying because she was not happy with the existing honeycomb. So we added a new 4th box of frames, and sprinkled some pollen in to encourage the bees to come up and pull out the embossed wax to make honeycomb cells for eggs. We’ll return next week to see what’s happened, with hopes that our guess was right and that the bees are working the wax and the queen is laying again.

August 29, 2013

Revised Garden Workday Minutes for May 12, 2012

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 12:27 pm
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Dear Garden Members,
It is our sincerest intention to provide the most accurate minutes possible, but misquotes and other errors are likely to happen.  We are sure you can all appreciate how difficult it is to follow a fast paced, multi speaker and at times, highly charged meeting and simultaneously take notes.
Please accept this revised copy of the most recent work day minutes.
We hope you find them informative.
Best Regards,
West 104 Garden Steering Committee

West 104th St Community Garden.
Monthly Meeting Saturday 5/12/12
Meeting started at 10:21 am
1) ART WORK in the garden
SC: Morse code – current art installation
Vote: To be kept, or to be removed?
Remove: 9 votes
Keep: 9 votes
Jean: Said that in 2011 the garden voted the art to be kept as a permanent installation.
Ann: Proposed it to be revisited.
Flamingo Parade – installation on east building wall of the East Garden.
Concern about the vine. Was the art going to cover it? Was it going to affect its growth?
SC: Proposed an online vote for approval of graphic.
Garden Members approved suggestion.
On-line vote to be sent with picture attached and more details about the art size and way of attachment.
Vote: If it is to be a temporary installation, will the garden agree to host it?
Yes: 23 votes
No: 3 votes
Mary K: Said that the art installation was accepted in 2011 as a temporary piece. However, it remained unclear if every member had seen the graphic previous to that approval.
SC: Even if garden votes to allow the installation, the building owner/management has not agreed (or not) to the installation and the final decision will remain with them.
2) Request for a volunteer to be chairman for the Special Event committee.
Nobody volunteered.
Current members of the committee will select somebody among themselves.
3) Proposal from SC: Installation/extension of a fence at the back of the east wall end on the West Garden.
Reason: To prevent tenants from building in the middle to use garden as their private backyard.
Vote: whether to install new fence or not?
Yes: 2 votes
No: 18 votes
Walli: Concerned about spending money. Expressed concerns about financial status of garden.
Lou: Added that screws were methodically removed from existing gate that grant access to East Garden.
SC: Could we have somebody from the garden contact the building’s owner?
4) Replacement of crumbling brick path in front of east wall communal bed in East Garden.
Vote: bricks on path
Remove during work day (5/12/12): 7 votes
“Clean up” only during work day: 16 votes
Vote: brick path
Replace with another hard scape material: 14 votes
Replace with sod: 5 votes
Clean up: 6 votes
Extra: Dinorah and Paul to have a final proposal of materials for the meeting to be held in June.
Jean: Bricks to be removed once we have a plan in place.
Nikki: Encouraged plan of brick removal to be done on Saturday May 12th because it is a chore that has to be addressed by all members.
Susan Bernofsky: Offered to write grants if Walli will also join her on the task. Walli declined.
5) SC announced decision to not increase membership fee. Current: $20.00
6) Announcement of MMNY – Make Music New York, Thursday June 21st event.
7) Gazebo
Frank to begin work the week of June 21st.
Jean: to meet with new carpenter to assess scope of work to be done. Meeting to occur not later than Tuesday, May 15th, 2012.
Question to be asked: “What is duration of job?”
Mary K: pointed out that last year, garden members had decided to forgo
putting any gutters on the gazebo for rainwater gathering; and that the garden
tried to give the barrels and other water collection materials away.
8) Fire Hydrant.
Should all members call 311?
It was reiterated water should be used moderately due to lack of water access and plenty of rain. Tank in West Garden is full. It will provide enough water to irrigate plants on both sides.
9) Lids for water barrels.
Request for new flat lids that don’t hold water to discourage mosquito breeding.
Jean suggested drilling a small hole in the middle to drain accumulated water into barrel.
Garden approved suggestion. Experiment to be applied.
Concern: Wouldn’t this hole encourage mosquito breeding?
Jean thought small hole size might not encourage breeding.
Answer not completely satisfactory.
10) Removal of plants in communal beds. Main issue: East Garden removal of butterfly bushes and smoke bush.
Kim requested clearer rules regarding communal bed management to avoid future misunderstanding.
Mary K explained that each person in charge of a communal bed has the liberty to rearrange plants (add or remove) on their own behalf.
SC agreed with this remark.
SC representative (Kate) suggested:
a) Email or note has to be sent to all members in the garden before (NOT AFTER) removing any plant of considerable importance, size, aesthetic qualities, or sentiment attached to another member. This step aims to give enough time to the community to ponder the possibility of using the planting material.
b) Rules for Communal beds should be written down from now on, and be posted somewhere where people can refer to. It could be in the website or a copy posted inside the sheds.
11) Ants on peach tree.
Suggestion: Use of ant traps or mix potions suggested by Jean.

July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

Filed under: Events — by west104garden @ 10:40 am
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As a reminder of upcoming events:
July 4th  – 4th of July Potluck at the garden (If it doesn’t rain) starting at 1pm. Bring something and share with your fellow gardeners.
July 11th (Next Wednesday) Working day 6pm to 8pm.
July 14th  Join us! 2nd Flea Market of the Season. Please find attached the promo in two versions. Feel free to help us spread the word by printing a copy and post it in a visible area of your building. Thank you!
Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!
(Membership Coordinator)

Workday Meeting Minutes for June 8, 2013

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 10:37 am
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June 8, 2013 Workday Minutes
[Craig led the meeting/workday for Katy in the garden]

SC members in attendance (2) – Craig, Ann

–Beekeeper Elaine Mathews gave a report on our bees. The hive is thriving, which signals that the bees like their queen. Bees are busy making honey (most of which they will need for winter their first year)–and babies. Elaine checks the hive once a week and will send a message before she will be there, via Ann or Sumana, so that interested gardeners can observe her work.

–Noreen has resigned from the Steering Committee, due to an overload of work and grad school commitments. Craig invited gardeners to volunteer for her position. SC will follow up with email to members.

–NWCPMBA meeting 7:00 pm Monday June 10 at Schneider Apts, with focus on city parks. Garden member Victor Calise will be a featured speaker. Parks Department has tentatively offered to hold Shape Up classes in the Garden.

–All individual beds have been assigned. (Some may appear bare because seeds have not sprouted.)

–Flea Market was a success, despite low attendance: $441 profit.

–West Garden Art Installation–Five Smooth Rocks–proposed. Artist will construct frame filled with wood chips, provide 5 smooth stones, and invite Garden members and visitors to arrange the stones as they like, then take and submit a photograph. Photos will be arranged as a collage. Vote: a large majority of members approved the project.

–Weeding: Due to recent rains, the Garden is overgrown with weeds. Members asked to take some time to weed whenever they come to the garden and to weed around their individual beds.

–Paul and Craig led rock project to repair and extend the cat terrace with good results.

–Decrepit bulletin board on the West garden fence was removed.

–Ann managed a productive crew on the west side weeding and working the soil around the rose garden.

–Guy rebuilt a broken plot frame in the East garden.

–East garden big gate was checked to confirm opening direction for truck deliveries; East gate swings out, West gate swings in. No corrections needed.

–Mary Kelly managed a crew to clear loose stones from the newly laid path on the far east border to the space between the sheds. Adjustments were made to insure they were safely stacked, but there is still some concern re: safety for children. To be reviewed and reassessed.

Thanks all who participated.

June 29, 2013

Composting Suspended Until Further Notice

Filed under: Notices — by west104garden @ 6:51 am
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Important! Starting on July 1st, 2013.

The Compost Committee has decided to suspend all compost collection until further notice.
Dear Friends of Compost:

You have been too kind! And our compost program is a successful one.

Because WE have more compostable materials now than we can currently handle, please consider offering your beautiful, nitrogen-rich scraps to a green market compost collection site.  This will give us time to “cook” what we already have.


Greenmarkets @ Manhattan

We hope to begin receiving your kitchen scraps again later in the season. Please find attached a list of green markets that receive compost, encircled are our closest one.

Yours in Decay,

The West 104th Street Compost Committee Chair

November 12, 2012

Hurricane Relief from FEMA

Filed under: News,Notices — by Noreen Whysel @ 4:57 pm
Tags: ,

Most of us were very lucky: Manhattan Valley escaped Sandy’s wrath.
But if you have friends or family who are struggling, this might be helpful.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has activated its transitional shelter program, which allows those who cannot return to their homes because of storm damage to stay in participating hotels, motels or other housing. You must first register with FEMA at a recovery center, by calling             (800) 621-3362       or by going to DisasterAssistance.gov.

November 4, 2012

Ways to help from boro prez, Scott Stringer

Filed under: News,Opportunities — by Noreen Whysel @ 4:16 pm
Tags: ,

   How to Volunteer or Donate—Help NYC Recover from Hurricane Sandy 

Dear Friend:As our City begins to recover from Hurricane Sandy, I wanted to share information about relief groups and other charitable organizations to which you can donate, if it’s difficult for you to personally offer supplies and shelter to people in need.VOLUNTEERING IN NEW YORK CITY

There are numerous ways to help here in the city, and a good place to start is by registering as a volunteer with NYCService’s Facebook page. The organization has asked people to contact NYC Service with their names, email contacts, and boroughs. You can also register to be a New York Cares volunteer and be part of their disaster response team.

The Food Bank for New York is also accepting donations and possibly volunteers. Check its websites for more information.


All of your donations to the Red Cross will provide shelter and other support to people who have been directly affected by the Hurricane.

To donate, visit www.redcross.org, call 800-Red-Cross or text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Currently blood supplies are low in areas hit by the storm, and the Red Cross is asking people to schedule appointments to donate blood in the New York/New Jersey area. To donate, call             800-933-2566       or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.


There are scores of mobile feeding units and shelters up and down the East Coast operated by the Salvation Army, and they are serving thousands of people. You can also make a donation.

Feeding America is distributing water, food and supplies to thousands of people in the storm’s disaster zones. To donate, visitwww.feedingamerica.org or call             800-910-5524      .

AmeriCares is delivering medicine and other supplies to people affected by the storm. To donate, visit www.americares.org.

Personal hygiene items and food kits are being provided to thousands by World Vision. To donate, visit www.worldvision.org.

Other charities and relief groups offering food, medicine and other assistance include Catholic Charities USADirect Relief International, and Operation Blessing International.


Save the Children provides emergency aid to families and addresses the special needs of their children. You can visitwww.savethechildren.org to donate. World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse are also providing emergency relief and seeking volunteers for children.


If you’re interested in helping animals find safe haven and good care after the hurricane, the Humane Society of the United Statesand the American Humane Association have teams working on the problem and they need your help. Donations are especially needed to help rescue stranded pets and aid animals currently in shelters.


Team Rubicon (            310-338-1149      ) has dispatched teams to begin cleanup work and Samaritan’s Purse is also seeking volunteers to help our City rebuild.


Remember that Hurricane Sandy devastated the Caribbean and claimed many lives before it hit the United States. Operation USAand the International Medical Corps are aiding those affected by Sandy in Haiti and Cuba. Operation USA is also providing aid to the East Coast.


Finally, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a range of programs delivering aid to those affected directly by the hurricane. Check out the FEMA website for information and ways to help.


This evening NBC will broadcast a telethon to benefit those impacted by Sandy, starring Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel and other performers. On Monday, ABC will observe “A Day of Giving” on several shows to generate donations. Check both stations for more details.


If you are planning to give to a nonprofit in the wake of any disaster, you should first verify that it is legitimate. Charity evaluators likeGuidestar and Charity Navigator as well as FEMA can help you determine whether the organization to which you’re donating has a good track record, and that funds will go where you intend.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Donations will not result in preferential treatment by City officials.


Scott M. Stringer,
Manhattan Borough President

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October 23, 2012

Harvest Festival is Sunday, October 28

Filed under: Events — by west104garden @ 5:51 am
Tags: ,

Our harvest festival is going to be celebrated this Sunday, Oct. 28th. From 1 to 4 pm. We will have games, food, music and prizes. We count with you and your family presence to make of this event a successful one.

Also, the organizers will appreciate any generous contribution to the event…We welcome pies (food in general), drinks, prizes, and your time to help supervising one of the multiple activities we are planning. If anything else comes to your mind that you think might be good for the event, and was not mentioned, please contact Dinorah Matias-Melendez at: dinotias@rocketmail.com. Subject title: Harvest Festival.

Thanks, and hope to see you all on Sunday!

west 104garden harvest festival October 28, 2012
Download the flyer to post on your building bulletin board

October 21, 2012

October 22 Workday Minutes

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 8:36 am
Tags: , ,

Minutes from October Workday

Weeding: blackberries still need weeding and was scheduled as a workday task.

Gazebo: did not find sandpaper so we will postpone sanding the floor for a makeup day.

Path Update: Path can’t be finished without Frank’s tools. He is out of the country. We will schedule a date to complete, and request one additional volunteer. Mary Kelly again expressed concern about the aesthetics of the path and her disagreement with the plan for completion, which was noted. Dinorah requested members’ patience and reiterated that the current condition is temporary.

Stage: the repair and/or replacement of the stage is postponed until next Spring as it has been confirmed that replacement will cost more than $500. In the meantime members are requested  to forward suggestions to the design committee. Alternative plans will be drawn up and presented to members for a vote in Spring 2013. We also now have an opportunity to seek grant funding to complete the project. Anyone interested should contact the Steering Committee.

Shed: task to clear out the flea market items from the East shed to make room for the chairs.

Pruning: Last workday, there were complaints that the fig tree was overpruned. Marc De Rocco, pruning committee chair, was contacted by the steering committee and agreed that pruning will only take place if expressly instructed by the steering committee. Jean asked to trim the top of the fig tree a bit and will trim back the crab apple tree.

Gift Tree: A gift (linden?) tree that was planted a few years ago in a community bed near the East Garden’s east wall is now overgrown and threatens our neighbor’s building. The current location was meant to be temporary, but it was never transplanted and now must be removed. It is likely that the tree will be destroyed. Members voted to remove the tree. Steering Committee will coordinate with Christine Barrow, who is in charge of the bed, to remove the plantings temporarily, so the tree can be removed without destroying any plantings.

Clean Up Day: Jean proposed a clean up day be added to the calendar for next season. Best days would be the weekend after Halloween/Harvest Festival.

Finances: Treasurer, Ariel Behring, gave the finance report. We are low in funds versus other years. Our current balance is around $3600. As we have been spending down our balance by about $2000 per year, the current budget is not sustainable. Ideas for raising funds include one or more of the following

-raising member dues
-budgeting more carefully
-more active grant committee
-allowing advertising (on website and/or event posters)
-pursuing more paid events, like film shoots and weddings

Additional suggestions and volunteers are welcome.

Wedding: Kim Maitland gave the wedding planner who requested use of the garden in June 2013 a quote of $1500 and did not get a response. It is likely that they are no longer interested. Kim noted that the Delay on our part was due to needing member approval, since the event would have required use of both gardens.

Plot numbers: A member complained that the plot numbers that were painted on beds is unattractive. Another member noted that some of the numbers we’re wrong. Dinorah noted that after the last bed audit, some plot numbers did change, but she would have a workday group verify the numbers and create a plan for a more aesthetic paint job.

Halloween decorations: there will be a separate date on Sunday 1-4 pm to hang Halloween decorations. Any donations appreciated. (Note, Dinorah Matias and Paula McKenzie put up almost all the Halloween Decor on Saturday October 20.)

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