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Re: Community Garden

Hi Birmingham from Springville AL.  In Alabama, plant disease
is more of a problem than other places so rotating crops is
especially important.  You'll be best off by rotating them
yearly. One system that seems to work is to put leafy vegies in
a bed one year, then viney vegies in it the next year, then
root vegies in the next year. Or you can rotate for each
season's crop.  A bed might be winter greens, summer tomatoes
and fall English peas.  Or you can plant Pole Beans one year,
Tomatoes the next, then Carrots that last year.  There's a book
in the Birmingham public library called Natural Gardening
(Fukuoka I think is the author's last name) that is good to
read and the library (Central Library) has a few Eliot Coleman
books that are excellent!

 To help combat disease use lots of compost. The beneficial
microbes in the compost will combat disease AND pest problems.

Compost is fine for kids to handle IF it doesn't contain animal
waste.  Otherwise, I'd be cautious because the worm medicine
and other chemicals in chicken and horse manure is not the best
thing for kids to handle and of course you need to wonder about
how well aged the manure is in case of bacterial contamination.
If you do use manure, let it age a year.  In Alamaba a year
will cook most of the bad stuff right out!
  To be honest, I grow my own manure... GREEN MANURE.   Vetch
(all kinds) love to grow here from October through May.  The
roots fix nitrogen in the soil and the vines pull up easily and
compost very quickly or make a nice mulch.   I've found that
clover is good here too (red clover) and I like using oats (you
can find whole oats at the Golden Temple Health Food store)
with vetch. The oats also grow all winter. The oats condition
our yucky clay and also pull up and compost easily.  You can
buy vetch at any of the farmer's co-op stores.   I can get it
for you and let you pick it up at my husband's work if you
like. (He works on 11th AVe South   Alabama Public TV)
   For other material to compost, drive around local
neighborhoods in Novemeber and pick up the bags of leaves
everyone leaves on the curb.  We go to Trussville to do that.
I don't like using grass clippings though. It seems most folks
use loads of herbicides on their lawns around here and Diazanon
for the ants.   Using grass clippings would work if you could
let them compost TWO years. Otherwise the herbicides in them
would keep the garden from growing well and the pesticides
would be UNSAFE for the kids to handle OR eat.
     By the way, if you want a good, cheap source for seeds try
the golden temple. You can get all kinds of cool bean seeds
there for the kids to try.  Right now they can plant Fava
beans. The plants have really pretty white and BLACK spotted
flowers.  You eat them like you would lima beans.
   One last thing. Fire ants love compost....  Be careful!  I
keep adding ashes and lime to the compost pile to combat the

    WRite me if you want to know more! I'll be glad to help

Laura McKenzie

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

>We have had a community garden for the past several years in a
>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
>What are your thoughts on the safety of kids handling manure
in working in
>the garden?

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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