Re: beds and planters/non-homed gardens
- Subject: Re: [cg] beds and planters/non-homed gardens
- From: "Jim Call" email@example.com
- Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 20:04:28 -0500
Always enjoy your views from NC.
Funny you should mention a garden for the homeless. I'm leading an effort
this weekend involving Master Gardeners and some of my dedicated CASA
Community Garden volunteers (maybe I'm some type of Pied Piper for
volunteers). We are installing some raised bed gardens for a facility that
houses homeless women (and their children) who have experienced spousal
abuse or other hardships.
We will be installing this small vegetable/flower garden for them. A one
time project committment by the MGers. The clients of this facility will be
maintaining it thoughout the season. I will stop by once a week to help and
advise as needed. This garden will be an extension of the one I created for
them last year (see http://www.casagarden.com/mgform.htm).
This small area (maybe 30' by 30') will be a peaceful place for them to pick
a few vegetables/flowers and to help take their minds off their unfortunate
My local MG association is paying for the garden (<$200.00). The cost of
operating this garden is only the water consumption. We plan to provide
everything including a hose, centrally located sprinkler and timer.
Basically, every other day or so in the heat of summer, they just twist the
timer (10 bucks) to water the garden.
Advice: Do not plant high maintanence vegetables such as Okra. I did last
year. Not this year.
Use leaf mulch extensively to retain moisture and to cut
down on weeding.
Typically, a good MG organization will fund such a project
and provide initial installation
volunteers, but you will be pressed to get long term committments.
I have done some research on homeless gardens and there are not many success
Remember, the word homeless and the word structure typically are not found
in the same sentence. In our case, the clients, as part of their regular
chores or assignments for staying at the facility will be required to
maintain the garden. This represents a committment from the organization.
Do not enter into a situation where you as a volunteer do all the work when
there are able-bodied individuals capable of maintaining the project.
With the CASA Community Garden, volunteers plant/maintain the garden and
receive none of its harvest for their efforts. The harvest goes to the
elderly and homebound. Unique situation for a unique project.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your efforts, Jim
----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Boekelheide" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 1:59 PM
Subject: [cg] beds and planters/non-homed gardens
> Hi, all,
> It is too hot to go shuffle the peppers that a school
> group planted 4" apart this morning, so instead I've
> got a question and a comment:
> Comment first: I'm reading once again the discussion
> of raised beds and candidates for enclosing them -
> tires, treated wood, who knows what all. Maybe a quick
> clarification might be in order.
> A 'bed' is an area set aside for growing plants. A
> 'raised bed', particularly if you follow the
> terminology of Alan Chadwick and John Jeavons who
> popularized the idea in the US, is simply a bed where
> the soil is mounded up. It doesn't need to be
> 'enclosed' by _anything_. Usually, in my experience,
> it works _better_ if not enclosed by anything and
> simply borders mulched or grassed paths. If I do use a
> border, it tends to be rock, which is cheap and
> readily available (concrete chunks also work). Both
> treated (or untreated) lumber and tires have the
> disadvantage, from my perspective, of having a fixed
> shape that makes it very hard to create a organic flow
> in your garden's design. A good example of such flow
> is the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, where David
> Hawkins had children hold hands to create the shapes
> of beds, which were then outlined in rock and rubble.
> Btw, excellent design doesn't necessarily cost a penny
> 'Planters' are another story. A planter is a container
> or walled structure for growing plants. A clay pot is
> a small planter, a big cement-edged box for a street
> tree is big container. I think when people say 'raised
> bed' they are often talking about 'raised planters' or
> 'large open-bottom planters'. The first question a
> community garden might ask is 'do we need to grow in
> planters?' If the answer is yes (for drainage, or
> handicapped access, or because of contaminated soil),
> the next question is what is the best material to
> create the planter with? Ideally, it will be free or
> cheap, readily available, durable and won't release
> toxics into the garden environment. For me, this rules
> out cca treated lumber, and leaves the jury out on
> tires (I don't much like 'em, but we've got to do
> something with them, and I've seen 'em look pretty
> cool, I must admit, with potatoes.)
> But all you need is compost, soil and digging tools to
> create the best raised beds you'll ever dig. Echoes of
> Dave Mallet's Garden Song "Inch by inch, row by row
> ... all you need is a rake and a hoe..."
> Now, my question. I'm working with a garden for
> homeless folks. The typical rules and dues structure
> that works quite well for many community gardens (see
> the by-laws on the ACGA website) won't work here.
> Anybody got any ideas to share on how to structure the
> organization and encourage 'buy-in' in a garden where
> people have no home? There is no doubt in my mind,
> though, that this garden fills a very important need,
> giving folks a place to connect with the soil. For
> some, expecially immigrants from farm backgrounds, it
> is a godsend.
> Well, it looks a bit cooler out there, guess I'd
> better get back to work.
> Don Boekelheide
> Charlotte, NC
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