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RE: RE: RE: Mulching, composting & manure


Don,

The site we're on is the area that 4 tenement buildings occupied, including
their back yards, on 48th street between 9th & Tenth Avenues. We have a
playground called "Hell's Kitchen Park" on Tenth Avenue. Rats usually come
out of the sewers or the back lots of buildings. NYC has been doing some
major baiting in adjacent back yards and in the sewers. Folks are cleaning
up their back yards and being conscientious about reporting sitings to the
dept of health. The garden gets rats passing through, but no permanent
residents, thank goodness; but we also get feral cats who like to hunt here
nocturnally.

With compost getting the right amount of air to work there has to be
ventilation. Rats, I'm convinced, if hungry enough can get into a bank safe.
The idea is to clean up as much of the surrounding area as possible. 

When working with urban community gardeners, teach then that the operative
idea is community. Without the political and real support of folks in the
3-5 blocks around the garden, there will never be a community garden, just a
place where hobbyists garden on squatted land. Get community activists
involved, get gardeners involved in painting over graffiti, and cleaning up
those back yards adjacent to the gardens where rats occur. 

If folks realize that you really care, that you're real, even if they just
come into the garden to sit on a bench and smoke cigarettes, they'll be part
of your support in the area. The idea is to create as much good will as
possible. It's always people before plants.

Adam


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Dboek@aol.com [SMTP:Dboek@aol.com]
> Sent:	Wednesday, February 16, 2000 10:53 PM
> To:	Adam.Honigman@bowne.com; community_garden-admin@mallorn.com;
> Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net; community_garden@mallorn.com
> Subject:	Re:  RE: RE: [cg] 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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