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RE: Mulching, composting & manure


The attached paragraphs are from a grant application we're running for the
21 year old Clinton Community Garden in NYC
(http://clintoncommunitygarden.org). We're working for a state-of-the-art
composting  system that will hopefully be a model for other NYC community
gardens and will aide us in NYC wide educational efforts. Our issues are
co-existance with neighbors in a densely populated urban area, so we have to
run a composting system that is virtually smell and rodent free while still
producing high quality compost  for our organic community garden. In
addition to our 21 plus years of collected experience, we've consulted with
folks from the Lower East Side Composting Cooperative, The NYC Parks Dept.,
Green Thumb, and have drawn many of our design ideas from natural gardening
periodicals like Organic Gardener. 

The attached proposal excerpt is from  a composting/storage system with all
the bells and whistles and is on the pricey side because we have chosen to
take bids from neighborhood contractors rather than build the thing
ourselves over several weekends. Working it out with a calculator,  we
decided that  with the construction materials, rental of cement mixers (and
all the pizza and beer for volunteers) it would be cheaper to go with the
pros on this one.

You probably want to go with something less elaborate, and I'd suggest that
you look at composting systems in your neck of the woods. I'd check out the
American Community Gardening Association  website thoroughly for gardens
near you  http://communitygarden.org as well as your local parks dept &
botanical societies.

In Manhattan, we,"don't have a cow, man., " but we do have fresh horse
manure from our local tourist carriage & police horse stables. A shovel and
a wheelbarrow usually does it. All other manure is pre-packaged like cow and
chicken manure in bags, but we wan't to use it less and less, hence our
composting plan. Chicken manure is great for tomatoes, however.

Here goes:

At present we have a very small wooden crudely built composting  area
comprised  of two bins (roughly 4'wide x 4'deep x 5' in height) made of 2" x
8" inch wooden planks and posts, and an additional small bin 3'wide x 4'deep
x 4'in height also made of 2" x 8" planks. Soil amendments, peat moss, and
other bulk items are currently piled above the compost area in a jerrybuilt
fashion . It is a temporary accomodation which had unfortunately lasted too
long.  It is a hazard to climb on and almost impossible to store anything

Truly, our basic composting system needs major improvements. Currently, any
well-meaning person  in our garden can add anything to the compost. Despite
signage and attempts at educating our gardeners,  is impossible to control
the mix of the compost, with correct greens and browns. It is also
impossible for anyone to mix the compost without first sifting through the
entire compost and rearranging the mix. Thus, we can not control the quality
or quantity of the output.  We can not control the rodent population in our
garden because they can easily make a home in our compost area by burrowing
into our compost area from beneath the compost. This is currently our
garden's most serious problem. 

Our new compost/storage area design (please see enclosed) would  allow us to
create four secure compost bins, each with a locked gate. They will each be
3'wide x 3'deep by 6' in height. This will allow us to create the most
ideally suited 3'by 3' by 3' compost pile in each of our bins. Each of the
bins will be rodent secured and yet allow free airflow and enhanced
decomposition of our mix. We can easily control the mix, quality of our
compost and greatly increase our output and ability to recycle plant and
vegetable waste from the surrounding neighborhood. We will also create a
storage area above these bins which will allow us to have approximately 500
square feet of soil amendments and supplies readily on hand for any

The combination compost/storage area will be built on a solid 10"reenforced
concrete base using readily available fencing construction for durability
and strength. It will be approximately 20 feet tall in the rear, sloping
down to 18 feet in the front.  The roof will be constructed of durable
corrugated aluminum for long life. The approximate cost will be $8,000 of
which we are currently seeking bids from contractors. 

Great luck to you with your composting efforts.

Adam Honigman
Bowne Publishing Division
345 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
Tel: (212) 414-8933
Fax: (212) 229-3421
email: adam.honigman@bowne.com


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	James Rushton I Foundation [SMTP:Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net]
> Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2000 11:22 AM
> To:	'community_garden@mallorn.com'
> Subject:	[cg] Mulching, composting & manure
> We have a community garden.  What do you think about composting products?
> What about cow manure?  Also what about the mulching?
> Bself
> bevself@bellsouth.net
> _______________________________________________
> community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
> https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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