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Re: Community Garden

Hi, Birmingham,
As always, listen to Adam! I'd add that you might be especially wise to 
rotate where you grow your brassicas (like collards, cabbage, broccoli...). 
Here, we can grow them in the early spring and the fall, but not in the 
summer (like Birmingham, I reckon?). This makes a rotation a little more 
complicated, but still easy to manage. I leave at least two years before 
replanting brassicas in a bed (some recommend 4 years, but my space is 
limited). Try the cooperative extension there for veggie recommendations 
(they are usually listed under county government). I use a very simple 
'quadrant system' personally, which works well enough. Aside from brassicas, 
I generally don't repeat the same crop in the same place for two years in a 
row, and leave it at that. I'm not superpicky about some things (lettuce and 
flowers I stick in everywhere as intercrops, I'll grow legumes (peas, 
blackeyes, crowders, beans) right and left). But rotation is a good practice, 
not just because of plant diseases but because different crops use different 
nutrients and thus you don't deplete your soil. Last thought, I include a 
soil building crop in my rotation one year in 4 or so, either a cool weather 
type (annual rye, crimson clover (beautiful)) or warm (buckwheat). This 
builds soil health. 

I work with home composting and school gardens both. About kids and manures, 
just be prudent but not paranoid. Washing hands is very very important, as 
Adam says. If manure has been composted properly using a 'hot' system, it 
should be reasonably safe. I don't think I'd let young kids (less than 11 or 
12, say-that's arbitrary) work closely with raw manures, especially moist 
ones, or with dusty manures (frequently the case with poultry manures) 
regardless of age. Be cautious, though-an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease 
in Australia recently was traced to a batch of poorly processed _commercial_  
compost, and many of those infected were gardeners. Know your supplier (or do 
it right by doing the research and doing it yourself).

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte NC USA

In a message dated 2/18/00 1:16:17 PM, Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net wrote:

>We have had a community garden for the past several years in a public 
>housing community in Birmingham, AL.   We have recently read that rotating 
>the planting of vegetables is very beneficial.  What are your thoughts on 
>this subject of rotating?  In particular, how many years should you wait 
>before it is necessary to change the location of planting of the 
>What are your thoughts on the safety of kids handling manure in working in 
>the garden?

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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