We rely on volunteers to plant and pick the produce. We have set dates for groups to come and also welcome people requesting a time for their own convenience.
While we welcome people to come as often as they want, we only ask for people to come for a single time. This is a great way to get exposed without any long term committment. Below are some photos that give examples of what volunteers have been doing in the garden.
No experience needed
We are happy to have people from any level of experience. We provide the necessary instructions and explanations so people don't need to be an expert to be helpful.
Tracy, on the left, is giving instructions to a crew about to plant transplants for the day.
Setting up the drip irrigation system
Under the black plastic mulch, there is drip tape. This drip tape has a hole every foot that allows us to slow drip irrigate with less water and keep the water from encouraging weed growth.
These volunteers are planting seed along along the drip tape lines.
When we planted sweet potatoes, there were 15 volunteers that helped and they were able to plant over 3,000 plants in about 3 hours.
Picking string beans
For many people, this is the first time they have actually gotten into the weeds and picked string beans.
Planting transplants with a "dibbler"
All of our transplants are planted into black plastic mulch with a dibbler. The dibbler is the hand tool the looks like a "T" that is used to poke a hole in the plastic and the soil. After poking the hole, the transplants are placed into the hole and the soil is "firmed up" around the plant.
Setting up a fence as a trellis
The hogwire fence is put up as a support for tomatoes. As the tomatoes grow, their branches are tied to the fence with twine.
This volunteer is picking banana peppers. in 2015 we planted over 2,000 pepper plants.
These volunteers are picking cuccumbers. The cucumbers are planted in 300 ft rows and have a white fencing that serves as a trellis. This year we had five rows.
Corporate community service
There has been a significant increase in corporate support in volunteers. Below is a group from Monsanto.
Loading the produce
This volunteer group is loading the day's harvest into a trailer. The crates are loaded layer by layer with sheets of plywood between the layers.
Volunteers from the Ankeny Parks and Rec
Volunteers from the Waukee Parks and Rec