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Re: A Challenge for 2003

Thanks Sharon for sharing this "challenge" with us.  I'd love to see pictures of this small garden throughout the growing season to view its plant design and progress. Quite a challenge!  Not sure how you going to incorporate all those plantings into such a small space.  

Is there such a gardening technique as "Bonsai biointensive gardening" (just kidding :) ?  

Good luck with your efforts,   Jim

Oh yeah, many of you may wish to visit the website...


Great site.  This family shows you how to grow your own organic garden in a small yard.   Very informative.  

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Sharon Gordon <gordonse@one.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 09:17:51 -0400

>Each year I like to challenge myself to learn something new, make better use
>of my garden space, or experiment with new varieties or techniques,
>or...being a person with irrepressible gardening tendencies...all of the
>above :-).  So this year I've decided to challenge my gardening skills with
>***Clinton Corner -- Ecology Action Internship Challenge*** .
>***How the Challenge is Set UP***
>As far as I know, the community gardeners with the most challenging
>conditions with respect to space are the NY Clinton Community Gardeners.
>The majority of the plots seem to be 5 feet by 7 feet (35 square feet),
>about the size of a queen size bed.  Many people have wondered just what you
>can produce in a garden space that small.  From experience with biointensive
>gardening techniques, I've seen that 100 - 200 pounds of produce is
>possible, depending on what is grown and if you can get in two or three
>crops during the area's growing season.  Still, I wondered what would happen
>if that were all the space I had.  How would it work if in order to get a
>variety of produce, I had just one plant of a particular vegetable for
>instance rather than an entire biointensive bed?  Could I use a few
>permaculture techniques to make more use of the space? In order to find out,
>I'm reserving a space in my plot to find out.  In my case the beds are four
>feet wide, and I'm using 9 feet of length for 36 square feet.
>In the meanwhile, a gardener I know is working to raise and save the money
>to take the third level of biointensive gardening training which is a full
>time internship.  So to help make that possible, I thought I'd figure out
>what I would have spent on the produce from my CC--EAIC bed, and send that
>amount to the gardener for the internship fund.
>***What I'm Planning to Grow***
>I'm still working on the plan, but so far I've worked out a way to plant:
>22 different vegetables
>10 different flowers
>10 different herbs
>3 different grains/seeds
>***If you'd like to do a similar challenge***
>1) Select a portion of your plot of the approximate size to focus on.  If
>one side is near the north border of your plot, this provides a great
>opportunity to take advantage of vertical space without shading the rest of
>your plot.
>Possible plot sizes in feet:
>6x6  (36 square feet)
>5x7  (35 square feet), Clinton configuration
>4x9  (36 square feet), 4 feet wide allows most people to reach into the bed
>without stepping into it
>3x12 (36 square feet), 3 feet wide allows shorter people and most children
>to reach all parts of the bed
>2x18 (36 square feet), good strategy if you have a border bed against a
>fence or wall
>1x35 (35 square feet), this provides the square footage, but pretty much
>turns the bed into a row garden and loses the advantages of a biointensive
>2) Plan an intensive planting and when to start seeds in flats so that the
>bed can be kept fully planted.  Information to help with this is available
>in Jeavons' book on biointensive planting.  If you'd like to grow a portion
>of a nutritionally complete diet and keep soil fertility in good shape, One
>Circle by Duhon and some nutrition software are helpful additions.
>3) Plant seed flats and prepare garden bed.  Plant plants when appropriate.
>4) Collect harvest data.
>5) If you'd like to make this a double challenge similar to what I am doing,
>you could donate equivalent money to setting up more community gardens,
>gardener training, groups that work to end hunger, or designate the actual
>produce from the bed to a food bank, soup kitchen, house for victims of
>domestic violence, or person who is no longer able to garden.  Or if you are
>an actual NY gardener and 5x7 IS your entire plot, you could help show what
>is possible on these parcels of treasured land.
>6) Share your results with others in ways that might encourage others to
>garden and/or create more garden plots.
>   Bountiful Gardens.  http://www.bountifulgardens.org .  Has Duhon book,
>Jeavons book, One Circle example booklets, information on learning to grow
>biointensively, information on Ecology Action training and internships in
>addition to other information, tools, and open pollinated seeds.
>   Duhon, David, 1985. One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less Than
>1000 Square Feet.
>   Ecology Action. http://www.growbiointensive.org .  Workshops on
>biointensive gardening and other resources.
>   Jeavons, John, 2002. How to Grow More Vegetables than You Ever Thought
>Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine, 6th ed.
>   Nutrition Software.  Best resource is if you have access to an online
>nutritionists software.  Many universities have this for staff and students.
>Less complete information on main nutrients can be calculated using
>MasterCook or Dietpower software or similar software.  First use the Jeavons
>book to calculate your expected yields from your challenge plot. Secondly,
>estimate how many days of food that would be if you are doing a One Circle
>style portion of a complete diet challenge.  If it's 20 days for example,
>then divide each vegetable yield by 20 to get the average amount of each
>vegetable you would eat per day.  10 pounds of tomatoes divided by 20 days
>equals 1/2 pound of tomatoes per day for example (enough for a tomato
>sandwich for lunch AND pizza sauce for dinner :-) ).  If you are using
>recipe software, create a new recipe called something like 2003 Challenge
>Plot.  Then enter .5 pounds tomatoes and the daily amounts of all the other
>vegetables.  Choose the recipe to Serve 1.  Then check the nutritional
>analysis of the recipe.  For a Dietpower type program, create a fake person
>with your age and height who wants to maintain current weight or a standard
>healthy weight.  Type in the .5 pounds of tomatoes plus all the other
>vegetables as one day's daily intake.  Then check the nutritional analysis.
>Or alternatively make the day's intake a recipe that serves one, and have
>the fake person eat one serving.
>   Permaculture.  If you'd like to figure out ways to increase the use of
>multiple levels of gardening space, permaculture books are helful.  See
>especially ones by Mollison or Hemenway.
>***Want to Do a Challenge?***
>If so, I'd enjoy hearing about what you choose for yourself and the
>abundance your challenge plot produces.
>The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
>To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com
>To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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