Garden Facilities and Procedures;
The Shed: The Shed is located in the garden's southeast corner. This structure contains our collection of garden implements and supplies, plumbing and construction tools, hardware items, books and records, buckets and carts, etc. Implements and tools can be dangerous, and so must be handled with extreme care, treated with respect, and then thoroughly cleaned before being returned to the proper slot on the shed wall. For security purposes, the shed door should be left closed and locked after each use, even when you are still working on your plot.
The Manure Pile: This continually replenished pile contains a mixture delivered by Park and Rec from the police stables or the zoo . It is located near the shed by the southeast gate. It contains horse manure and other manure, as well as straw and bedding material. Usually it arrives well composted and ready to use as an amendment, tea, or mulch. We suggest that you use it in addition to compost and any other organic soil amendments to build humus in your plot and to provide essential nutrients . Screens are available for creating an easy-spreading, friable blend. Be sure to replace the tarp after each use to prevent overexposure to the elements.
The Greenhouse: Our geodesic fiberglass dome is nestled near the northeast gate and houses materials necessary for starting seeds and caring for seedlings. Outer benches are available for storing flats and pots, but since space is limited, certain restrictions may be imposed. The middle bench, used for planting and transplanting, must be cleared and cleaned after each use. Gardeners may borrow unused flats and containers located under the benches, use the planting and watering equipment provided, but must supply their own potting soil. Once planted, flats are the responsibility and property of individual gardeners and should be respected as such. It is recommended that all flats be labeled with the gardeners name and plot number. Flats left unattended will be emptied after an attempt is made to contact the owner. Due to space and security concerns, storage of an individual's tools or materials is not encouraged. Use of the greenhouse requires a commitment to keep it clean.
The Water System: The system consists of underground PVC pipe connecting to spigots throughout the garden. The main valve is located in the upper section near the 15th Avenue fence by plot #87, and should be kept open . In case of a plumbing emergency, first shut off the main valve, then contact a garden officer or Children's Center staff member immediately. Hoses and sprayers are provide at each spigot, maintained, repaired, or replaced as needed. When moving hoses, tum off the valve on the sprayer to avoid waste , and be careful not to damage plants in adjacent plots. Practice water-wise gardening techniques such as deep watering, tight bed construction, etc. to minimize water run off. After watering, place the hose neatly near the spigot and out of the pathway. Take care not to damage plastic sprayer housings. Make sure water is turned off at both the sprayer and the spigot.
The Argonne Community Garden started in 1975 when the San Francisco Unified School District issued a permit to use vacant land surrounding the Argonne Children's Center for growing vegetables and flowers. Mary Ann Crandall was the first Garden Coordinator. It was her vision and commitment that enabled the garden to become a reality. The garden fences, watering system , tool shed, greenhouse, orchard, raised beds, and compost bins have been built by its members.
Over the years the garden has served many public and private schools. It has produced fresh vegetables for local food programs. It has supported programs for youth and seniors. It has withstood the ravishes of nature, including a severe storm that blew down the domed greenhouse in 1981. It has withstood the ravishes of city politics too. In 1995 a decision was made to close the children's center and sell the garden land. This decision was reversed when hundreds of people attended the garden's 20th anniversary celebration, showing their support for keeping the center and the garden.
Today, the Argonne Community Garden, the only community garden in the Richmond district, continues as an open space location next to Argonne Children' s Center where 50 families garden and gardening needs of the surrounding community are tended to.