Reminder: Please clean your plots by December 3, 2108 to get ready for winter

If you still need to complete work hours for 2017, gardeners should concentrate on the following:

  1. Weed exterior perimeter
  2. Dismantle water barrel stands and move debris to the patio
  3. Move debris from NE corner to patio debris pile (be careful of nails)
  4. Clear plots with red flags. These gardeners are not returning


We need your help this week and on Saturday, April 22nd from 8am to 12noon, weeding and mulching the garden.
Weeding – Please help weed the garden any time before April 22nd.  If you missed our all hands work day last weekend, please pitch in! You can log your hours on the website.  Gardeners should focus on weeding pathways surrounding their plots and near the water barrels.  As a reminder, the HECG rules require gardeners to care for the pathways around their plots.
Mulching – Come to the garden any time from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, April 22nd for an ALL HANDS WORK DAY to lay mulch in the garden.  This is an important work day, so please try to make it.
We’re looking forward to a great growing season!

Calendar Update

New Board meeting dates have been added to the calendar. The meetings will take place on the second Thursday of the month beginning January 12, 2017. All gardeners are welcome to join or submit items/suggestions/issues for discussion. Winter locations TBD. Check garden communications prior to each meeting.

Upcoming Board Meeting 10/17/16

Please join us for the October 17 Board meeting. We will be reviewing gardener work hours (must have 4 garden work hours before end of the season in order to stay in good standing as a gardener).

We will also go over work day (see below), overgrown plots and a review of last meeting’s notes.

Please join if you can.


  • Sat., November 5, 9AM-12Noon
  • Rain Date: Sat. Nov 12, 9AM-12Noon

Winter Garden Prep: Tender Plant Care — Empress of Dirt

To protect what you have achieved in your garden and avoid costly mistakes, it’s worth the time and effort to protect tender plants before harsh winter weather sets in. This collection of winter garden prep tips comes from dedicated organic gardeners. You can find all of the tips here. Protect Your Tender Plants With These…

via Winter Garden Prep: Tender Plant Care — Empress of Dirt

Work Day Tomorrow, Saturday, September 10


We have a garden work day coming up tomorrow, September 10, 2016, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  The garden needs your help! Please come out to help tame the Bermuda grass and the weeds around the perimeter of the garden.

If you have not logged any work hours for this year yet, this is a great way to get your hours in.  And don’t forget to log your work hours on the website.

July Board Meeting Minutes

HECG Board Meeting Minutes July 2016

July 18, 2016, 7PM at HECG

In Attendance:

Brenda Dunlap, Secretary

Joan Gregory Saenz, President

Erin Harms, Treasurer/Membership

Katie Lefeber Donahue, Garden Events Coordinator

Luke Manion, Vice President

Garden Members:

Nicole Shank

Absent: Matt Bradley, Web & IT Coordinator

Officer Reports:


  • Joan is updating the perimeter map: Gardeners who would like to adopt a section of exterior perimeter to plant should contact the Board ( and gardeners who are already managing sections of it should notify the board.

Vice President:

  • Luke: Luke followed HECG formal procedures and contacted Plot #4C three times by email and attempted to contact the gardener by phone twice. Plot 4C’s membership was terminated due to non-compliance. Thanks to Joan Gregory and Stephanie Spahlinger for cleaning Plot #4C and to Matt for removing the bags of weeds!
  • Brenda suggested the Board develop 3 boilerplate letters with wording that follows HECG rules and processes that can be sent to non-compliant gardeners. Board members agreed that this could simplify the reminder/notification process for Board members. Joan volunteered to draft the letters and Katie volunteered to review them.
  • Luke reported that he saw a fire engine one night when a gardener was using the fire pit. No one in attendance knew about this or had details.
    • Brenda thought that it was possible there is an ordinance against using a fire pit like this and Katie volunteered to research it.
  • Luke volunteered to fire dragon the perimeter and patio weeds wherever possible.
  • Luke will email Plot #4E and #3F to weed their plots because the weeds are seeding and spilling over.


  • Brenda trimmed the hibiscus and variegated tree and will continue to trim them since the fledglings moved. Someone taller would need to trim above her reach. She reported that the second Saturday workday lead by Abby Pound went great. 3 gardeners weeded a section of exterior and interior perimeter and straightened shed.


  • Erin and Stephanie completed transfer of financial items, and Erin can now administer the HECG PayPal account.
  • Contessa Riggs has agreed to repaint the HECG sign in August.

Garden Events Coordinator:

  • Katie is planning a social for August and a weekend cook-off on a weekend after Labor Day.
  • Katie will email gardeners who have not logged work hours and ask them to participate in an August workday.
  • The workday goal for Thurs Jul 21 work eve: removing vines from fence. Weeding was completed along the southeast perimeter, including removal of several trees of heaven. Thank you Amy!
  • Katie to purchase a few bags for weeds at Fragers for upcoming workdays. Erin will purchase them in bulk from Costco to ensure we have bags on hand for future workdays.
  • The Board authorized the purchase of five chairs to replace five damaged chairs. Amy, Matt, and Beth Baldwin led workdays in July and August. One leader is still needed for first workday in August.

General Business

Water discussion:

  • Katie reported that Charles Allen’s staff suggested contacting Capitol Hill Community Foundation for grant opportunities to raise money for an HECG water line (or other project) and knew of no other resources.
  • Katie noticed that Greenseed has a cistern and suggested investigating if it (or something else) might be an option.
  • Brenda volunteered to research whether or not drilling a well is a viable option.
  • Erin reported that Joanna (Greenseed) went to a water meeting recently and plans to post information about it. The Board will discuss the information Joanna posts.
  • Erin emailed Daniel Ridge to invite him to tour the garden and meet the gardeners, the ANC rep twice to talk with him about the garden and the process of obtaining a permanent water source someday and other issues related to the garden, for example how to get a physical address for HECG.
  • There was a discussion about whether or not grants are needed for any special projects for HECG.
  • Gardeners with ideas on improvements needed at HECG should email
  • Brenda suggested non-toxic options for weed control or paying to install landscape fabric on exterior perimeter to make weeding easier since maintaining it hasn’t been a priority for gardeners. Erin thought the fabric would not be helpful in the long term (there are already several layers under the mulch within the fenced area) and Brenda suggested trying it in 1 section for comparison.

Web/IT (Matt via email):

  • Matt will demonstrate at an upcoming meeting how the Board might use the suite of Google Apps.
  • Removed Plot 4C former members from HECG Google Group
  • Volunteered to give water barrel training upon request
  • Purchased the new grill cover, refilled a propane canister, and volunteered to clean the grill.
  • Reported that Behrad Mahdi refilled a propane canister! (Behrad, please forward a receipt to to be reimbursed).

Other Business

  • The Board agreed that effective August 1, 2016, HECG primary gardeners must reside in zip codes 20002 or 20003 unless they are already on the wait list. An individual may sign-up on the wait list if they reside in a different zip code, but must reside in 20002 or 20003 to become a primary gardener. Secondary gardeners are not required to reside in zip 20002 or 20003.
  • Brenda reported an infestation of spider mites and aphids that ruined most of her vegetables and suggested HECG might benefit from releasing ladybugs and green lacewings, which are known to reduce spider mite and aphid populations. The Board agreed to a purchase for now and spring. However, the high temperatures are problematic and Brenda now suggests delaying purchase until spring.

Action Items:

For 8/2016:

  • Joan to draft boilerplate letters; update perimeter map
  • Luke to fire dragon the perimeter and patio weeds as possible; email #4E and #3F to weed their plots
  • Matt to demo and give on how to directly post on site and access shared Google Drive
  • Katie to purchase 5 chairs and bags for weeds; remove 5 broken chairs; seek Aug workday leader; announce Aug garden social, contact CHCF, research fire pit ordinances, review Joan’s draft boilerplates.
  • Erin to re-invite ANC rep to HECG and to debrief with Greenseed on the water meeting fallout.
  • Brenda to investigate wells

For 9/2016: Erin to purchase nematodes (in the fall) and weed bags (Costco).

For 11/2016: Revisit garden taking over its own insurance policy.

For 2/2017: Brenda research free wood chips from reliable source.

For 3/2017 (spring): Brenda information on beneficial insects; Erin to purchase nematodes.

NEXT BOARD MEETING: August 15, 7PM at HECG (all gardeners welcome)

NEXT COMMUNITY WORK DAYS: Aug. 13, 9AM-12N & Aug. 18, 2016 6:30PM-8:30PM

Goals: (1) remove vines on fence, (2) weed exterior perimeter

Log your hours:

June Board Meeting Minutes

HECG Board Meeting Minutes June 2016

June 20, 2016, 7PM at HECG

In Attendance:

Joan Gregory, President

Luke Manion, Vice President

Brenda Dunlap, Secretary

Erin Harms, Treasurer/Membership


Matt Bradley, Web & IT Coordinator

Katie Lefeber Donahue, Garden Events Coordinator

Officer Reports:

President: Nothing to report

Vice President:

  • Luke purchased a fire dragon and torched the patio weeds. It worked well although weeds on runners are stubborn. He will store it at home as requested by the Board, because it poses a safety hazard in the shed.
  • Chris Forney weeded his plot as requested.
  • Gene Kim has been notified in writing twice that his plot violates the Rules and Terms of Membership and Plot Maintenance Rules. The weeds are seeding, creating nuisance, and impacting other gardeners. A red flag will be placed in his plot.


  • Brenda suggested that future minutes should contain Action Items. Board members who miss a meeting should email updates on their activities to the Board prior to the meeting and for inclusion in the Minutes. Board members agreed that we should do this for continuity and reporting.


  • Stephanie and Erin have almost completed transfer of financial items.
  • Erin is still having trouble accessing the PayPal account and is working with Stephanie to resolve.
  • Debit cards have been issued to the President and the Treasurer
  • All plots are filled for the 2016 garden season
  • Erin responded to Mrs. Gold about posting a gardening link to our website. Because of the concern that this was spam, we decided against a shout-out or a post

Garden Events Coordinator (via email):

  • Katie removed old boards from garden beds, which were picked up by DC bulk pick-up.
  • Katie contacted several gardeners to lead workdays – many have signed up! One workday in June was covered by a non-Board member. July workdays will be lead by non-Board members. Many thanks to the gardeners who volunteered to lead work days: Amy Searight, Angie Cecil, Abby Pound, Amy Caspari, and Matthew Caspari.
  • Nice turn out at first social events of the year on June 9th (happy hour/water training) and June 19 (homebrew day).
  • Katie is planning additional events, including a garden cook-off in August.
  • Katie replenished the weed bags in the garden for the June workdays.
  • Katie is emailing reminders to gardeners. Reminders are sent 1 week and also 1 day in advance of garden community activities.
  • Katie volunteered to replace our old unreadable sign with a new sign if Contessa is not able to repaint it. Signs should also list our webpage,,
  • Katie logged in hours for the sign-in sheets she had. Members are now logging in their own work hours.

Web/IT (via email):

  • The web site is now set up to provide Board members and gardeners the option to publish a link to the story on our FB page
  • Matt’s waiting on a response on merging our FB page with the separate FB “place” that people find if they search for the Hill East Community Garden. With no more effort than it takes to update our web site, we’ll be able to inform anyone in the garden who follows us on FB of pertinent news, and anyone who finds us through FB searching for us.
  • There is a document shared with the Board of the technical configurations around the list consolidation and setup. Matt offered to provide assistance to Board members, too.

Other Business

  • The Board reviewed plot maintenance compliance in the “Terms of Membership” which has been signed by every HECG gardener and posted on
  • The Board checked plots to see if they are in compliance with the rules. Luke will contact gardeners who are not in compliance with the rules.
  • Joan asked Brenda to include a reminder in future minutes for gardeners to log their own work hours.
  • The Board will identify goals for the following month’s workdays and these will be communicated to the gardeners in the reminders.
  • Joan brought up capital planning. She suggested we set up a plan to obtain water. Erin noted we need a physical address for a water line and doesn’t know the process for getting the street(s) in the alley named. We agreed to contact our ANC Commissioner.
  • The Board agreed that we do not need more mulch this year.
  • We noted there is food and sauce on HECG tables. Gardeners should remember to wipe tables after eating.

Action Items:

  • For 7/2016: Matt to give Board members intro/demo/notes to directly post to the web site and access shared Google Drive items to update/manage and share with the Board and post to the web site to compliment their notes to the listserv.
  • For 7/2016: Matt to purchase new grill cover
  • For 7/2016: Katie to research replacing the chairs in the garden.
  • For 7/2016: Katie to ask gardeners to lead 2 August workdays.
  • For 7/2016: Erin to invite new ANC rep to HECG Board meeting or for a tour of the garden to discuss water issues and acquiring a name for the alley
  • For 7/2016: Erin to contact Contessa Riggs regarding the sign.
  • For 7/2016: Luke to email Gene Forney regarding plot
  • For 8/2016: Katie planning garden social.
  • For 9/2016: Revisit nematode purchase.
  • For 11/2016: Revisit garden taking over its own insurance policy.
  • For 2/2017: Brenda to research free wood chips from reliable source
  • Ongoing: Katie and Erin researching possible grants for HECG.

NEXT BOARD MEETING: July 18, 7PM at HECG (all gardeners welcome)

NEXT COMMUNITY WORK DAYS: July 9, 9AM-12N and July 21, 2016 6:30PM-8:30PM

Goals: (1) shed cleanout, (2) weed exterior perimeter from sign to shed, (3) weed exterior

perimeter from shed to NW gate.

Log your hours:

Flashback Friday: Photos from the before the beginning

Many thanks to our friend Pat Taylor, who shared these photos from way back when from before the Hill East Community Garden was formed.

Many more thanks to our founding members and neighbors involved in bringing the garden to fruition — we’ve come a long way, and we’ve got something valuable to keep.

(Speaking of which: we’re out here, right now this evening, socializing and weeding.)


*It would help if it were actually Friday, but oh well.