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Re: community composting

  • Subject: Re: [cg] community composting
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 13:43:27 -0500

 "I'm interested in hearing how other community gardens handle composting,
from getting enough people involved, to maintaining it and keeping up with
inputs, to the materials and space needed. The garden is about 3 acres with
150 gardeners, and so far a couple of us have talked about it and agree
it's a good idea."
 
God bless your three acres and 150 gardeners - getting the garden set up to do composting on a serious level requires technical know how and good people skills/management. 
 
 I dunno my California geography, but the agricultural extension service out of the University of California is amazing, and of course the student organic farm that grew out of Alan Chadwick's work in the '60s at UC Davis is an organic gardening mecca - http://studentfarm.ucdavis.edu/ . 
 
Please read the site, and its compost link - the state-of-the art UC Davis Compost project http://studentfarm.ucdavis.edu/Internships/CompostProject.htm- 
 
It's well worth the trip to tour the farm, talk to the people get composting leads and get a fired up student to come and visit your community garden.  Composting is doable, but the issue always remains people. 

"I'm one of the few gardeners in my community garden who maintains compost
bins, so it may be that there is little interest in composting here, or
people think it's too much work, or don't want to use garden space for
composting. We've recently switched from having a huge (6 cubic yard) bin
to several small wheeled bins for garden waste. We'd still put bermuda
grass and other noxious weeds into the wheeled bins (for the city to
compost), and make sure any moldy and squirrel-bitten tomatoes and other
fruits went into closed bins."
 
You're gonna have to have a garden meeting to discuss composting,  and it may make sense to use a couple of unused plots to set up your composting system on.  If you have an organic garden, having a good composting system is key, but it's work - and you have to get the idea around that its a project that everyone has to pitch into. l

The wheel, in terms of composting in your area has been invented, in terms of chipper shredders, bins, etc - but the real issue is going to be getting your gardeners sold on the cost savings, general garden health and plant health and general benefits of including composting as an integral part of your garden's system of soil amending and care. 
 
Please talk to the nice people at UC Davis, and the California Agricultural extension - like politics, all composting is local. 
 
Regards, 
Adam Honigman
 
-----Original Message-----
From: yarrow@sfo.com
To: community_garden@mallorn.com
Sent: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 15:39:19 -0800
Subject: [cg] community composting


I'm interested in hearing how other community gardens handle composting,
from getting enough people involved, to maintaining it and keeping up with
inputs, to the materials and space needed. The garden is about 3 acres with
150 gardeners, and so far a couple of us have talked about it and agree
it's a good idea.

I'm one of the few gardeners in my community garden who maintains compost
bins, so it may be that there is little interest in composting here, or
people think it's too much work, or don't want to use garden space for
composting. We've recently switched from having a huge (6 cubic yard) bin
to several small wheeled bins for garden waste. We'd still put bermuda
grass and other noxious weeds into the wheeled bins (for the city to
compost), and make sure any moldy and squirrel-bitten tomatoes and other
fruits went into closed bins.

If we composted on site we could use all the slimy lettuce leaves, spent
melon and tomato vines, pruned raspberry canes, etc., but it'd be great to
have a way to chop them up. Has anyone found a good way to do this? A
machete seems too dangerous for a public space, and we don't have
electricity, even if there were a chipper-shredder that could handle garden
waste. I've heard about a bicycle powered chipper-shredder, but I don't
think it's commercially available (anyone have plans for one?).

I think the easiest setup would be a 3-bin system made from wood pallets,
lined with hardware cloth (to keep the rats out), plus a bin to store C
materials (sawdust, corn stalks, etc.). We've found it hard to give away
the garden plots that are in part shade, so this would be a good use for
these areas. The compost could then be used on the community areas we're
developing, and also used for compost demonstrations.

Tanya Kucak
Palo Alto, Calif.


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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:  https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden





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