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RE: RE: Mulching, composting & manure


Our community garden serves a huge area on the West side of Manhattan ( from
8th avenue to he Hudson River, from 59th Street ( Columbus Circle) to 34th
Street ( near Madison Square Garden).We have over 2000 keys out in the
community, and despite extensive signage, we get highly inapproptiate things
placed in the compost bins all the time  ( a decomposing pit bull was the
icing on the cake) hence the design of a locked compost area so only our
composting volunteers can add to the piles ( we'll have a collection barrel
of stuff, but despite signage, we'll have to sort through it -pleasant
thought-before we compost it.)We're doing a hot & a green bins, mixing them
and the four bin will be for use by the gardeners. With the size of the
garden, it will certainly be helpful, but will never be completely
sufficient for our needs. We currenly compost year round and will continue
to do so. We get lots of veggie scraps, egg shells and the pulp from juicing
establishments in the area. 

We've used the plastics. The rats (Olympic world -class Norways) use them as
tooth picks. We've used tarps for years, and ladders, after a number of
years of close calls, we've decided to go with something sturdy to help
avoid accidents and liability ( a carelessly left out rake trod upon by an
oblivious barefoot tyke is a recurring nightmare for our steering committee
- hasn't happpened, but we worry). The concrete slab is a necessity.
None of the commercial or police stables near us would help us in
composting, They humorously tolerate us when we come by with wheel barrows.
We occasionally drop by a tin of cookies to the police, a six-pack to the
commercial stables as good neighbors ( cops can't drink on duty.)
The conditions of the Garden
One of our issues is that we are open, by key, in the garden 7days a week,
365 days a year between dawn and dusk. This is our mandate as a NYC Park. We
do not have a 'keeper", only steering committee and garden members who stop
by a part of their daily round. Hence, everything we build is sturdy and
constantly repainted and repaired due to heavy use and  graffiti.

Our garden rules are printed in English, Spanish and Arabic ( we used to
have Russian but they learned English so fast, it was unecessary) and it's
hard explaining that our safe, drug free community is not a playground when
a nice immigrant lady comes in with 7 kids in tow. We have playgrounds in
the area appropriate for running and climbing, but we're perceived as safe
so we get trampled plants and frayed tempers at times.  We try to keep kids
from picking the flowers by getting them involved in gardening, but this
process is ongoing. Although we have clearly marked garbage cans, we end up
with diapers in our collection bin sometimes, a joy in August.

Our garden in the midst of tenements is drop dead gorgeous and our website
needs more pictures.

Thanks for your suggestions, keep 'em coming,visit us sometime.



> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Dboek@aol.com [SMTP:Dboek@aol.com]
> Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2000 11:16 PM
> To:	Adam.Honigman@bowne.com; community_garden-admin@mallorn.com;
> Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net; community_garden@mallorn.com
> Subject:	Re:  RE: [cg] Mulching, composting & manure
> Hi, Adam,
> I noticed the composting plan for your garden grant. Best of luck with
> what 
> you are doing, and I commend you for your work on community gardens, and
> for 
> including composting in your garden. I am a little curious about your 
> composting system, however, and I urge you to contact any of the host of 
> organizations working on small scale composting and vermiculture. There
> must 
> be some working in or near NYC.
> >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. 
> What is the 6' height for? Locked gates? Do you plan to turn the compost 
> regularly by forking it out of bin, then putting it back in? Are you using
> a 
> 'rat proof' wire mesh for the bins, or what material? Is your feedstock
> going 
> to be mostly plant debris from the garden, or do you plan to co-compost 
> manures (you mentioned horse)?
> How long is your composting cycle there in NYC? With a 3x3x3 bin, you'll
> get 
> about 9 ft^3 of finished compost per batch, or about enough to double dig
> a 
> single 3 x 10 raised bed or topdress two beds. Any amount of compost is
> good, 
> but will this provide enough nutrients for your gardeners?
> >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. 
> The 20' tall roof confuses me-why such a big structure? What does a big
> tin 
> roof have to do with rats? 8 grand is a hefty chunk of change.
> Have you considered other options? 2 for instances: Finding a stable owner
> who will compost at their stable, possibly using worms and waste paper
> (and 
> avoiding the powerful and persistent worming poisons many stables now
> use). 
> That might make hauling less of a chore for you, and avoid smells, etc.
> I think you certainly should have composting at the garden site, too-I
> work 
> here in Charlotte to encourage exactly that sort of thing. But for much
> less 
> than $8000, you could set up a simple garden waste composting or 
> vermicomposting system with the same volume (27 * 4 = 108 ft^3) using 
> commercial plastic composters (or a locally produced equivalent). 10 of
> them 
> would give you more capacity, with greater rat protection and flexibility,
> for a max of $500. You might be able to get them for less (or free) by 
> partnering with a public agency encourging waste reductions and
> composting, 
> or from a company like Nordic ('Earth Machine') or Smith and Hawkin (their
> 'BioStack' is a somewhat more expensive but well designed choice). A
> storage 
> area for soil amendments makes sense, too, but I think I'd go with tarps 
> rather than that vast expensive roof.
> Just my opinion. I do urge you to seek out a couple of experienced
> composters 
> for their opinions and suggestions. I'll forward your note to the home 
> compost listserv.
> Good luck and keep up the good work in NYC,
> Don Boekelheide
> Charlotte NC USA
> 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
> gardener.
> These will be imported, no? That's a 3 * 5 * 20 soil amendment area (you
> mean 
> cubic feet, right?). 
> >
> >The combination compost/storage area will be built on a solid
> 10"reenforced
> >concrete base using readily available fencing construction for durability
> >and strength.
> >
> >Great luck to you with your composting efforts.
> >
> >Adam Honigman

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