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Re: Re: Community Garden


Hi, Bruce,
You are right about tiny plots, they do pose a different set of challenges. 
Conceptually, I suppose small plots, especially in raised beds, start to 
resemble growing things in pots, where typically you toss 'old' soil into the 
potting soil recycling bin or compost and make up a new mix when you repot a 
new plant-just as you mentioned with your tomatoes. The idea of group areas 
sounds interesting-do any American community gardens work that way, in whole 
or part? Another couple of thoughts: Intercropping, growing a number of 
different veggies together (broccoli and lettuce can work well together) 
might lower the risk of disease. After all, rotation presupposes a 
monoculture, as in, worst case, a big farm growing cotton, cotton, cotton 
until the soil is exhausted. We don't need to grow veggies as monocultures, 
though I do tend to group veggies, for practical and habitual reasons.  Folks 
into edible landscaping (Rosalind Creasy) have good combining ideas that look 
good too, and companion planting books are also good references. Two other 
techniques might be useful for small spaces. 'Solarizing' (essentially, 
putting down a sheet of clear plastic over a moistened bed in midsummer, so 
the soil really cooks for a month or more) can eliminate or suppress 
pathogens. The Israelis are the experts on this. And good ol' reliable 
compost. A well made aerobic compost improves plant and soil health in ways 
we're only beginning to understand (one promising line of work has to do with 
white rot fungi in the compost and their ability to produce what amount to 
antibiotics). In any event, as scale shrinks, I suppose you move from 'crop 
rotation' to 'soil rotation'. The trick is in finding ways to create 
conditions of sustainable soil health and fertility, whatever scale you are 
working on.

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte NC USA

In a message dated 2/18/00 4:24:48 PM, kjwbdw@gateway.net wrote:

>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

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