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Re: RE: RE: Mulching, composting & manure


Adam, 

Thanks very much for the great post! What an image-the pit bull on the 
compost pile! Whew! I see why you're doing what you're doing, and it all 
makes sense. Your concern about tools is right on, too, I know just what you 
mean. I used to live in Manhattan on the westside (on 88th between Central 
Park West and Columbus), so I've got some idea of where you're working, and 
what a great difference a garden can make there. I was a Californian dwelling 
in Gotham, and still remember laboring to get a garden going in the cinders 
and glass behind the youth hostel where I worked. My hat's off to you guys. 
2000 keys! Wow! I bet your garden does look beautiful.

One question. Thanks for the tip on the plastic bins-you say the rats use 'em 
as toothpicks, huh? What are you using to keep rats out in your new system? 
The reason I ask is I'm in the middle of training Charlotte NC's first group 
of Master Composters. We hope to encourage composting (and expand community 
garden options) here, including in neighborhoods where rats are a problem. 
I'd value hearing more about your experiences and the composting stuctures 
and methods you suggest for minimizing rat problems. 

Thanks and good luck,

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte NC

In a message dated 2/16/00 1:41:28 PM, Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com wrote:

>Don:
>
>
>
>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.
>
>
>
>Adam

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