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Re: late into the garden

  • Subject: Re: [cg] late into the garden
  • From: Don Lambert <grower@flash.net>
  • Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002 10:57:26 -0500


Can you tell us where you are located?  In our program in Dallas, we 
must have plots utilized year around, or we loose soil quality, have 
weed invasions, and other problems that would make the garden 
unsustainable.  For us, year round use is so closely related to soil 
type, rainfall, winter temps., type of perennial weeds, and so on, that 
there are people that garden all year, and then there are people without 

The kind of gardeners, and their cultural and traditional orientation to 
gardening, importance in their everyday life, is most important.  With 
regular suburban (Americanized) gardeners who want to garden only in the 
mild spring season, we simply loose soil structure and have unsolvable 
weed problems during the summer and winter. Winter tilling and 
preparation for a spring opening each year will not work because heavy 
clay and wet years delay starting the garden until early summer.

With Southeast Asian folks, who are eager to garden year around, will 
aggressively and efficiently use space so that weeds can not grow in any 
season, and will adapt their gardening techniques to garden in all 
seasons (if we let them, and maybe provide some technical support such 
as cold frame and greenhouse ideas, support) it would be nuts to kick 
them out of the garden for a few months each year.

Maybe you could negotiate to have half the garden plots left to the 
gardeners to continue working as an experiment, so everyone can see that 
your Hmong gardeners really know what they are doing.

Don Lambert
Gardeners in Community Development

Harmon Seaver wrote:

>    We were only allowed into the community gardens this year last 
> weekend, May 25. The excuse was that the ground was too wet to plow 
> until then. Normally here peas, potatoes, and cabbage family should be 
> planted by May 1st. Obviously the people who are running this, county 
> employees, are not gardeners. We don't want them to plow at all in the 
> first place. At least 95% of the gardeners are Hmong, most of whom go in 
> and till up their plots with hoes anyway, and the rest either have 
> rototillers or can rent one.
>     Is anyone else having to deal with such ignorance, and what are they 
> doing about it? We've tried reasoning with the powers that be, even 
> serve on the "guidance committee" to which they pay absolutely no heed.
> Not only do they open the gardens too late, but they want to close them 
> right after the first frost, totally ignoring the fact that many crops, 
> especially root crops, keep right on growing, and shouldn't be harvested 
> until much later. This is the first year, in fact, that we got them to 
> stop applying chemical fertilizers, and allowing people to keep the same 
> plot from year to year, however, it's very frustrating to build raised 
> beds (what works best here in the heavy clay and what most Hmong do 
> anyway) and then have them plowed away.
>     I'm wanting to start writing letters to the editor, publicizing 
> their stupidity, but my wife, who serves on the committee, wants to 
> continue to try to reason with them -- but so far that fails to work. 
> Has anyone been through this and know the answer?

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