April 27: Slow Food D.C. spices up Wangari Gardens

On behalf of Ibti Vincent, Slow Food D.C.:

Join Slow Food DC and local community members at Wangari Gardens on Sunday, April 27 to expand the communal herb garden at one of our favorite local community gardens. Planting and garden work will go from 12-2pm, followed by a potluck. We’ll supply the plants, tools, water, and plates/utensils!

We’ll be planting a variety of herbs, along with some Ark of Taste hot peppers, including Fish Chili Peppers – an African American heirloom variety brought to this country from either the Caribbean or Africa by enslaved peoples to the many plantations that surrounded the early Chesapeake Bay settlements. The name Fish Pepper refers to its common use with seafood through the Chesapeake region. The plant has beautiful variegated leaves and seemingly no two fish chiles have the same coloration or variegation in their stripes. (Pretty cool, no? Learn more about these unique, heirloom peppers and the Ark of Taste project from master gardeners and SFDC board members, Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent.)

WHEN: Sunday, April 27 from 12-3pm.

WHERE: Wangari Gardens (Kenyon Street, Irving Street, and Park Place NW) — just north of Washington Hospital and the McMillan Reservoir.

WHAT TO BRING: Yourself, a water bottle, and a potluck item to share (salad, appetizer, baked good, etc).

Today: Spring Kickoff Event!

Join us today at noon for the Wangari Gardens Spring Kickoff event.  We’ll have games, compost workshops, moon bounces (for all ages including adults!), free seedlings, and some food donations.
Bring a food dish to share if you can.
I hope to see lots of you today!


April 6: Spring Kickoff Event


Sunday, April 6, 12 – 4pm
Come to our garden opening event to celebrate the start of spring!
Here’s what you can do during the event:
  • PLOTS AVAILABLE: Fill out a plot application and learn how you may be eligible for a reduced fee.
  • COMPOSTING COOPERATIVE: Learn about our latest compost initiative and learn how your food scraps can help feed the garden.
  • LEARN ABOUT OUR NEW RAIN GARDEN: DC Water will introduce the rain garden that has been installed on site.

This is a fun opportunity to meet your fellow gardeners, neighbors, and Wangari Gardens co-directors. We hope to see you there!

Questions? Contact us at wangarigardens@gmail.com!

Save the Date: Garden Opening Festival, April 6

leafy greens
Even though we’ve been getting another glacial hit these last couple of days, Spring is just around the corner… and so is our Gardening Opening Festival for the planting season!
April 6 will be our Garden Opening Festival.  We will have lots of games, food, and fun events. Keep your eyes peeled for more details soon!
We could really use some more help organizing the event and outreaching through the neighborhood if anyone would like to join our outreach committee.  Please email us at wangarigardens@gmail.com if you can help!

Thanks and see you all soon.

PS: The public hammock is back!

Happy 2014! Important Garden Updates

tree kids

Even though the ground is still frozen we’ve started planning for the 2014 growing year!  We’re really excited about our third year.  

We won’t be expanding or constructing any more gardens or plots this year.  This means all our money and efforts will be focused on providing weekly educational garden workshops, monthly fun events (cookouts, movies in the park, festivals, etc) and new programs (like a seedling cooperative and a compost cooperative).  We want to focus this year on expanding our educational and programming capacity.  Please email us at wangarigardens@gmail.com if you have any great ideas for this year.  

Returning Gardeners

At this time we are asking everyone to let us know if you will be returning to garden with us this year.  Please send an email to wangarigardens@gmail.com telling us whether you will continue to garden your plot this year or not. Please include your plot number in your email.
You can pay the $50 plot fee on Paypal (unless you have a free plot agreement and need to continue this agreement).  The deadline to pay this year is March 15th.  After this deadline, your plot may be given away.
To pay on Paypal either:
1.  Go to www.wangarigardens.org and follow the Paypal link
2.  or create an account and “send money to a friend” using our email wangarigardens@gmail.com.  (I think we can skip the service charge that way)
You can also mail a check (written to Wangari Gardens) or cash to my house at:
Wangari Gardens
2918 Sherman Ave NW
Washington DC 20001

Monthly Volunteer Requirement

Thanks to the help we are receiving from our internship program, we will be lowering the monthly volunteer requirement to 1 hour.  That means you have fewer hours to put in! However, that also means that we’re holding everyone more strictly to this requirement in order to keep the garden growing. Wangari Gardens was designed to be an inclusive garden park that creates a culture that gives back to community.  Unless there is a reasonable reason why you can’t volunteer, we will not renew your plot next year if you don’t volunteer this year.  If you do not think you can commit 1 hour of volunteering a month (unless you have a reasonable excuse) please do not sign up for a personal plot.
The maintenance team leaders are meeting next week to retweak the maintenance system.  If you have any suggestions on how to improve this system please email me this week at wangarigardens@gmail.com.

Garden Orientation

This year, we will be requiring everyone to participate in a garden orientation in the Spring.  It will be a chance to teach everyone about our different gardens, programs and resources and make sure everyone is on the same page.  We’ll make the orientations fun!  Keep your eyes open for the dates of our upcoming Spring orientation.

Seedling Cooperative

Angela Swayze, the new Director of Communication, will be organizing our Seedling CooperativeWe will be installing plexiglass into our cold frames (the boxes by the shed with windows on top).  Once installed, we will be growing seedlings in them.  We can start cool weather seedlings really soon and warm weather seedlings in mid March.  Everyone who helps with the seedlings will be able to take a few for their plots.  The rest will go in our public gardens.

If you would like to be apart of our seedling cooperative please email us this week at wangarigardens@gmail.com and arswayze@aol.com to let us know.


And lastly, thanks to Kenneth Moore for putting together our first Wangari Gardens cookbook.  These are all recipes from our own gardeners.  This cookbook was one of the kickstarted thank you rewards will gave to our donors, but Kenneth Moore did such a great job I think everyone should enjoy this! 
Thank you everyone for your time!
Josh Singer

Want a free plot? Let us know!

smilingWe’re looking for 2 more maintenance leaders to help coordinate the maintenance of the public gardens.  In exchange for helping with the public gardens you get your plot fee waived or you get additional free growing space! What a deal!
Please let us know as soon as you can if you’re interested by emailing us at wangarigardens@gmail.com.

Urban Gardening Course

Register for Department of Parks and Rec’s first Urban Gardening Course!

The course is 14 classes long, located at 2 different recreation centers, on every Monday and Wednesday from February 3-March 17 from 6:30-8:30pm.

The cost for all 14 classes is only $50.

We chose two different recreation centers on both sides of the river to be fair to everyone in DC regardless of where you live.  Both recreation centers are very metro accessible.  

Click here to register!UrbanGardens1012014

The schedule:

Urban Gardening Course Schedule

If you have any questions please contact Josh Singer at  anytime. Thanks!

Josh Singer
Community Garden Specialist
DC Department of Parks and Recreation
1250 U Street NW | Washington, DC 20009
P: 202 262-2138 | E: joshua.singer@dc.gov

Tested out our Fenceless Dog Park? We Want to Hear From You!

2013-10-19 12.54.31Winter is making its presence known in DC. This cold may make us want to curl up at home with a warm blanket, but our dogs still need to go outside burn some energy.

The Wangari Gardens fenceless dog park is easy to use! Here are the steps for making sure your dog can run around safely:

1. Attach the zipline to a tree: One side of each red zipline is attached to a central tree in the garden. Simply attach the other side to a hook on a nearby tree. Make sure you use a zipline that is long enough to reach the tree of your choice.

2. Attach your dog to the zipline: Use the blue leash to attach your dog’s collar to the zipline. Please attach only one dog per zipline. Keep your dog within eyesight at all times.

3. Leave the zipline as you found it: Once your dog is off of the blue leash, unhook the zipline from the tree. Store the zipline in the milk crate by the central tree. Please do not leave the zipline up. It can be a hazard if left up unattended.

Don’t worry. These directions (and a helpful diagram) are posted in the garden too.

Once you’ve given it a try, tell us what you think! Post comments or email us at wangarigardens@gmail.com to give us your stories, suggestions, or recommendations!

WG for Clean Rivers: Partnering with DC Water

DC Water is planning to build rain gardens around DC. They’ve chosen to build a few on Wangari Gardens! These efforts should help reduce the demand on city infrastructure, like a proposed giant tunnel through Rock Creek Park, by soaking up water that can otherwise overwhelm the sewage system during storms. WG’s Josh Singer has been working with them to choose a good site, without encroaching on the usable spaces of the garden. 

Join us and DC Water for a community meeting at Wangari Gardens, weather permitting, this Saturday, November 23 at 1pm.  It will be short and sweet but it would be great if we could get as many community members out there to learn what DC Water is doing and give them feedback.

Read this clean rivers document for more information.

Please come out if you can!

Join the Compost Coop: Reducing Waste, Reusing Nitrogen!


We’ve just completed our community compost binWe’re ready to start taking community food scraps (and we especially need some dead leaves as we get started). 

In order to manage the compost properly we want to create a cooperative structure where all members can be trained for free in how to compost.  We’re asking people to join the cooperative before dropping off foodIf you’re interested please email us at wangarigardens@gmail.com to take a free training every Sunday and join our compost coop. 

Thank you to the AU Alternative Spring Break volunteers who made this project a reality!
Some features of our rat-proof compost station include:
  • Paver stone floor with french drains for passive aeration
  • Hardcloth liner on the inside
  • A foot and a half of sheet metal on the bottom outside to prevent rats from climbing in
  • A tarp top