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Garden value in terms of money


I am not sure where you are located but here are examples of some
possibilities:

In the book One Circle by David Duhon,  he designed a garden that will
will supply all a  person's nutrients in 1400 square feet of growing space
if the food is grown biointensively.  With paths, this would be a plot of
about 75 feet by 30 feet or 2250 square feet.  An acre has about 43, 265
square feet, so you could grow a complete diet for 19 people on one
acre.  This particular book has gardens designed for the growing
conditions of the US Pacific Northwest or similar climates like England.
However there are also plans worked out for a Mexican style diet or
a Kenyan diet either of which has a lot of the favorite foods of 2/3 of the
US.  Or you can use the One Circle book to plan your own in conjunction
with How to Grow More vegetables than you ever thought possible on
less land than you can imagine, 5th ed by John Jeavons.

As to how much it costs to do this, for biointensive growing, all you
need is a flat bladed D-handled shovel (can be shared), food seeds, cover 
crop seeds and
some compost.  If you get open pollinated seeds in bulk and share them,
the seeds would be around $15-20 per person the first year.  Then they
could save seeds and the second year they would only need seeds for
the items that don't set seed the first year like carrots.  For more efficient
growing it would be helpful to have seed flats made out of rot-resistant
wood like cedar.  How many a person would need would depend on what
they were growing, but you would only need these once.   And people
could plant some of their crops directly until they could afford enough
flats.  It would be good
to have water spigots at regular intervals and hoses to reach all the gardens.

 From an aesthetic point of view it's good to have a small garden at the 
front with
perennials, annuals, and herbs as a sort of welcome to the garden that
volunteers keep looking really good.  There's a little over 500 square feet
extra from the 19 people on the acre so there's room for that as well.

If you want to look at it from another angle, here is a plan for growing
lots of food in a 4x6 space.  It was designed for a group in Florida.
If you are in a place where you can't garden year round,  use the
info for one cool season crop rather than two, but if you are willing to
hoop beds in plastic for the winter, you could get 2 cool crops.  See
Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest for details.  You could figure out how
much the crops in the 4x6 are worth by looking at the average price of
organic produce for each item in your area.

In either case it's hard to put a value on the social aspects of community
gardening, but you can mention
People getting to know each other
Extra eyes outside keeping an eye on the property and children
Healthy unpoisoned food which is likely to lead to greater health and
       greatly reduced medical costs as a result of eating healthy food
        and the exercise from the gardening
Fun, frugal activity
Good PR for the development if you invite the media out to do stories
        occasionally.

Below is the post with the plan I designed for the 4x6s for the
Florida Habitat group:

Here is a possible plan for your Florida 4x6 beds below.  It's planned for
2 plantings of cool season crops and one planting of warm season crops.
An excellent book for planning gardens like this is How to Grow More
Vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land than you
can imagine, 5th ed by John Jeavons.  It will help you figure out
a design and planting schedule that will work well in your area.  It's
been my experience that raised beds with good soil can usually
achieve the medium levels of yields the first year.

Also, I would urge you to do as much edible landscaping as possible
for the yard in general.  For this year you may wind up with smaller
fruit trees, and shrubs(fruit or herbal).  What would be great is if you can
find several people who will grow trees now for the houses the group
builds in 2004 and beyond.  Then you could have larger trees to go
in the yards at less expense.  If you can get someone to do perennials
for flower beds too, that would add to the beauty of the houses.

You may want to design several different plans based on the
cultural food preferences of your habitat families.  And also
choose favorite varieties of plants.  If you plant edible flowers
they can be used in salads, desserts, and rice dishes.  If you plant
nonedible ones, avoid the super toxic ones or sweet pea flowers
that might be confused with garden peas.

Cool season--plant this in the spring and the fall
********************************************************
                            1 planting yield         total yield/year in pounds
2  Cabbages                4                                   8
4   Collards                  8                                  16
32  Carrots                 16                                  32 (large 
yield carrots)
2    Chard, Swiss          4                                    8
2    Kale                       4                                    8
8    Lettuce, leaf            4                                    8
8     Mustard                 4.5                                  9
18   Onions                   4                                    8
18  Peas, bush             1                                      2(more if 
edible pod)
288 Radishes(72/month) 16                                 32
8     Spinach                 4.5                                   9
4  Pansies(spring)           - -(pansies edible, don't
       or 
Stocks(fall)                                                     know about 
stocks)
                                                                    -------- 
-------- -----------------------------------------
Total cool season yields                                 140 lbs plus flowers


Warm season--plant this once in the summer
*********************************************************************
24   Beans, green snap    6
2     Cucumbers               6
8     Lettuce, leaf              4 (See Cooks summer leaf mix)
288 Radishes (72/month) 16
4     Peppers                    4
1     Squash, zucchini       3(put at one end of bed)
2      Tomatoes                4(put in 2x1 at end of bed)
1-2    Nasturtium               -  (pretty flowers, tasty in salads)
1      Herb square              .5  (1 plant each of basil, parsley, 
oregano & dill)

                                 *******************************************
Total warm season yield    43.5 lbs plus flowers

Total for year = 183.5 pounds of vegetables plus flowers

With careful timing there could be  something to eat fresh everyday
except for the first month.  Although if you could plan well it might be
possible to plant the gardens even before the house is done as long
as the grading  is finished so that there will be a good garden by the
time the house is finished.  The homeowners will need flats to keep
a steady supply of transplants coming along for when a plant or crop
is finished and removed.  It would be helpful to include a hose,
nozzle, ruler, trowel and copy of Jeavons' book as well.  The bottom end of 
an old toothbrush works well as a dibble.  Each pack of many of the seeds
will provide enough seeds for 25 or so houses.  Exceptions for most
packs would be beans and radishes.  Jeavons' book has info so you
can figure out the seeds from the weight of the package if the catalog
doesn't tell the number of seeds per package.


For the homeowners who would like to save more money and have
seeds better adapted to their location, you could have a seed saving
class and later a seed swap.  Please use heirloom/open-pollinated
seeds to make this possible.

Sharon
gordonse@one.net
_______________________________________________
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_______________________________________________
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