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To Dave and interested others re Jeavons/Habitat/CommunityGardens

Dave, sounds as though you have a variety of interesting jobs!

Hope your group will enjoy having John Jeavons do the 3-Day workshop.  He's
a great motivator.

I wasn't sure from your email if the people from the Habitat houses
were also the people doing the community gardens.  If not it could be
helpful to bring some of the Habitat people into the workshop.  John
sometimes has a scholarship or two available to get the workshop at
reduced cost for situations like this.  Or perhaps one or two Habitat people
could be sponsored by a donor in exchange for sharing their new
knowledge with the rest of the group.

For both groups, the One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in
Less than 1000 Square Feet book by Duhon to learn how to plan
a nutritionally complete diet and the Jeavon's book, How to
Grow More Vegetables than you Ever Thought Possible
on Less Land than you can Imagine, 5th ed, to learn how to
grow it most efficiently and sustainably would would be helpful.
And it's also helpful to have a nutrition book or nutrition software
for people that want to get a good balanced diet.  For basic estimates,
you can use Mastercook (recipe) software ($10-50) and make a day's
food intake into one recipe that serves one.  If your university has
a nutrition program, you may be able to work out an arrangement to
have group access to the software their students use which would be
better as the professional nutrition software has more foods and  info
on more nutrients than Mastercook.  Otherwise perhaps you could get
a volunteer nutritionist from a hospital or local food service who has
access to the professional software.
http://www.growbiointensive.org   Jeavons/Ecology Action
http://www.bountifulgardens.org   Heirloom seeds/ books on biointensive and
     the source of Juwarot carrots.  Most of these carrots would feed a
     family of four and they taste incredibly good.  Bountiful also has the
     D-handled flat bladed shovel that is the best for the double digging

Prior to doing the Habitat gardens, it is important to test for toxic
chemicals to 3 feet depth in the yards.  If the yards are contaminated,
depending on what you find, the gardens should be done in raised beds
rather than the double dug variety.  But each case would need to be
individually evaluated for safety.

For the Habitat houses, I would also landscape them with Permaculture
and edible landscaping in mind.  Personally, I'd rather eat a pecan, rather
than an acorn :-).  Though I am happy to have oak trees on a larger
property, for their beauty, benefits to wildlife, and building potential.
And you can landscape with blueberry bushes, currants,
elderberries, etc. rather than nonedible shrubs.  A sweet cherry
tree makes a beautiful addition to a spring yard.  And you can edge beds with
alpine strawberries, globe basil or nasturtiums to provide food and an
elegant appearance.  In a place where you would like lush vines, grapes,
kiwi, or scarlet runner beans (green beans with beautiful scarlet flowers that
hummingbirds also like), are edible choices.

When designing the yard, it helps to consider the whole picture with the
mature shrub/tree in mind.  It can be helpful to make a check list to
watch out for :
Fruit not falling on sidewalk/or pears on swing sets/roof/cars
Vegetable garden still in sun when trees are grown
Mature plants don't hit house, uproot sidewalk, clog septic
Evergreens to north to act as windbreak
Deciduous trees to south to shade in summer, let sun in house in winter
Places for birdhouses
Places to play and protection for more delicate garden plants
If you are doing a Habitat neighborhood rather than houses in different
  neighborhoods, a tree/shrub in one yard can serve as a pollinator for another
  yard.  This way each yard can have more variety.

Jeavons/Ecology Action has discovered that for the biointensive gardens
to be grown most sustainably, they need to be in a ratio of
60% grain/carbon/compost crop
30% root/calorie crop
10% other vegetables for vitamins and minerals
John Verin, a member of cg list has up to date info on this.

Growing the vegetable garden biointensively with the 60-30-10
strategy results in increased yields, improved soil, and little
to no expenditures on outside amendments.  A usual further
bonus is little to no insect damage due to health of the plants.

It can also help to plan the landscaping and gardening according to
what people like and include their favorite ethnic foods.  Also some
people will not have tasted things that they might like, so periodic
tastings and ratings of ripe food may help with that.  For instance,
I recently ran across some people who had never been able to afford
blueberries, so didn't know what they tasted like.  That was easily
fixed with blueberry muffins and now they would like to grow blueberries.

If any of your participants are eligible for food stamps, food stamps
can be used to buy garden seeds.  Not sure about food shrubs and trees.
But in any case, getting the seeds in bulk and sharing packets keeps
the cost down.  One tomato seed packet can be enough of that kind
of tomato for 25 or more gardens.  A bean packet may only plant one
or two gardens.  If you can get participants or Habitat volunteers to
save and donate heirloom seed this would reduce the cost even further.

For the Habitat houses see if you can get people to work ahead propagating
edible trees/shrubs/vines/canes for houses for future years so the
houses can be planted with larger plants.  And also so you can be
sure that the plants survive well in your area.  If you reuse pots, this
can get the plant cost down to the cost of potting soil, though this
could be made as well over time from compost.

One great resource you have in Madison is the Seed Saver's store
on Monroe(I think).  There you can get heirloom seeds.  And Aaron
Whaley who runs it is very knowledgeable in everything from seed saving
to tissue culture.  They also have Suzanne Ashworth's book on
seed saving which could be used to teach seed saving to both groups.
Also check with Aaron about people who may be going to Decorah, Iowa
to meet with Seed Savers people there.  It maybe possible to get them
for speakers/workshops on the same trip.  A person flying in could as
easily come in at Madison as Minneapolis or Des Moines.

Both groups and/or individuals could benefit from joining the Seed Savers
Exchange(SSE).   This would give access to heirloom seeds of even
greater variety than sold in the Seed Savers store.  And one
big help would be to get heirloom Wisconsin seeds that are already
well adapted to the area to grow and also to help maintain.
Once people find out about heirloom seeds and the importance of
saving them, they may find that their relatives or neighbors have some
which can then  be saved and shared.  This situation is a good
opportunity for news articles.

One thing that would help both groups and which a local extension agent
is likely to have good data on is a list of when to plant each fruit or
vegetable for spring and fall gardens.  And a list of ranges of dates would
be most helpful.  This, along with the Jeavons group would allow gardeners
to get the most out of their garden space.

To encourage the community gardeners, you might design an ideal garden
for the average size plot using the favorite foods of local gardeners.  In 
Wisconsin I would expect that you could do one planting of cool vegetables 
and one of warm, though it might also be possible to do two cool and no 
warm for gardeners that had a stronger preference for the cool season 
vegetables.  But for encouragement
and to help people see the possibilities I would design a cool-warm plan.
For illustration purposes, the medium level yields in Jeavons' book are good to
use as most people can get this in a year or two on reasonable soil.

In the second or third year of gardening when people have more experience,
I'd introduce them to Eliot Coleman's method of planting fall crops that
overwinter under row cover.   His book is Four Season Harvest and he also
does presentations and workshops.  Not sure if your community garden
would allow people to put up temporary hoop greenhouses in the late fall
for over wintering their plants, but the row cover alone would give a
number of extra weeks of fresh green vegetables.

Other helps for both groups would be
3 section compost bins and a class on compost making
Class on composting with worms
Class on seed saving
Class on seed germination of seeds that have chilling requirements
Class on tree/shrub/vine care
Class on making nontoxic seedling flats (Instructions in Jeavons' book
       The Backyard Homestead Mini-Farm & Garden Log Book)
Class or Guide sheet on hexagonal spacing of plants--helps to do the
        calculations on the plant spacing distances and give people the
        sheet of distances.
Class in frugal garden methods such as using prunnings to make an
        attractive arbor or how to make a birdbath from a tomato cage
        topped with a plastic pot saucer and vines growing up the cage.
        See: The Frugal Gardener by Catriona Tudor Erler
                Making Rustic Furniture by Daniel Mack.
                The Rustic Furniture Companion : Traditional Techniques and
                 Inspirations  by Daniel Mack
                 1,001 Ingenious Gardening Ideas, Deborah Martin, Editor 
                   I did write a number of sections in this book,  but will 
                   no additional recompense for future copies)
                  Book on making trellises/arbors from natural materials--I 
                   turn up the title on this book.  But it has lots of 
ideas for
                   items similar to those that have been featured in 
                    catalogs.  If someone knows the title of this, please post.
Class in birdhouse/bird feeder making
Tastings of garden food.  Heirloom tomatoes are a favorite and unusual
         foods are fun too.
Classes on edible flowers
Classes on food preservation--canning, jelly making, drying
Classes on other food skills like bread making.  Testing out the bread
         by making tomato sandwiches is an extra treat.


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