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RE: Community Garden


Although we have  roughly a third of an acre for our garden
http://clintoncommunitygarden.org the rear half of the garden is split up
into 108 tiny individual beds. Many of us grow perennial flowers, roses,
phlox etc. the vegetable gardeners like my wife and myself grow generally
aerated veggies in raised beds. The beds/plots are about the width and
length of a queen sized mattress. Generally we use what are known French
market garden bio-intensive gardening beds. Sounds fancy, but it really

I dug down about 3 feet when I got my plot, sifted out the bricks, bullets (
five 45 caliber, ten 38 caliber) and other unmentionable garbage that
accumulates in an empty NYC lot over 50 years. We then built raised frames
about 2 feet high of untreated wood (unfortunately treated wood contains
traces of cyanide and other lovely chemicals) which we filled with 25%
peatmoss, and soil, sawdust, chicken manure and compost. Because of the lead
hazard in Manhattan above 14th street, we did not have our then young son
take part in the deep digging. We were sure to clean out boots, throw our
gardening clothes into the wash before we brought them into the house. Lead
is really harmful to kids under 6 years old ( PICA/learning disorders) and
we were careful. It took about 2 years before we filled the bed up to the
top of the boards. Generally we keep stirring  compost in and a can of live
worms and casings every year. The idea is to keep the soil in a raised bed
friable, so we have stepping stones in it so the soil doesn't get too
compacted. With fish emulsion used in a watering every  two weeks during the
growing season and winter wheat during ( you guessed it)during  the winter
we keep pretty fertile.

Tomatoes, peppers different lettuces, spinach, zuchini's, squash, radishes,
basils, herbs, garlic chives, string beans, pole beans, snap peas and the
like get planted on a rotated basis ( every other year.) I have an Irish
neighbor who does similarly ( my fancy named raised bed is also known as the
"Easy bed" to Irish John)  does everything I do as well as potatoes, he
figures lead isn't a danger in a raised bed & he grows more root vegetable
that we do.

My guess is if you do raised bed gardening, plant rotation is not as huge a
problem as ir your're depleting the soil of a multi-acre farm.

Ever best!


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	kristina & bruce [SMTP:kjwbdw@gateway.net]
> Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2000 3:21 PM
> To:	Dboek@aol.com; Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net;
> community_garden-admin@mallorn.com; community_garden@mallorn.com
> Cc:	drushton@bellsouth.net
> Subject:	Re: [cg] Community Garden
> Hi - Adam and Don have fine advice about rotation, but I've often wondered
> how small plot community gardeners manage it.  My town's community gardens
> have 20 X 20 ft plots for each individual and rotation is simple.  How do
> you rotate, however, when people have much smaller plots, where you your
> broccoli isn't very far from where you or a neighbor had planted it the
> previous year?  It seems to me that when the individual plot size becomes
> too small, gardens are better being more communal (never a bad idea) and
> having everybody grow their brassicas, for example, in one section of the
> garden, which can be rotated.  This is mostly a point of curiousity, but
> I'm
> interested in the contrasts between community gardens of individual plots
> and "communal gardens".  Bruce
>  -----Original Message-----
> From: Dboek@aol.com <Dboek@aol.com>
> To: Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net <Rshtn1fn@bellsouth.net>;
> community_garden-admin@mallorn.com <community_garden-admin@mallorn.com>;
> community_garden@mallorn.com <community_garden@mallorn.com>
> Cc: drushton@bellsouth.net <drushton@bellsouth.net>
> Date: Friday, February 18, 2000 2:32 PM
> Subject: Re: [cg] 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
> >>vegetables?
> >>
> >>What are your thoughts on the safety of kids handling manure in working
> in
> >>the garden?
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
> >https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden
> >
> _______________________________________________
> community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com
> https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden

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