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Plant identification for teenagers

  • Subject: [cg] Plant identification for teenagers
  • From: "Karen Jones" k.jones@uwinnipeg.ca
  • Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 12:20:20 -0500

Hello All,  Here in Winnipeg there is a provincially sponsored make-work
programme for young people called the 'green team'. These young people
are meant to help out in community enviro efforts. But with ferns like
that who needs anemones? Recently they went to our community garden with
the objective of string trimming the verges. Unfortunately they string
trimmed over $1,000 of perennials. In an effort to make lemonade out of
lemons I have offered to do a small workshop for them on plant id. This
is a tough crowd to play to because, being 15-17 years old they are at
the stage where they know everything. For instance they know that there
are 3 kinds of plants, flowers,trees and grasses. Only flowers have
flowers, if trees and grasses had flowers they would be called flowers.
I just want to give these kids a bit of respect for our gardeners
knowledge and to lead them to suspect that there might be more to it
than string trimming everything that does not look like a petunia.Any
ideas? For now I have asked their supervisor to keep them out of the
garden with any mechanical tools. This workshop is scheduled for next
week. Any suggestions at all greatly appreciated.  Thanks    Karen   
>>> community_garden-admin@mallorn.com 06/01/06 12:00 PM >>>

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Today's Topics:

  1. LA ACGA Convention: August 10-13, 2006: Looking Good
  2. (no subject) (Donald Loggins)
  3. article on rainwater harvesting in community gardens (Lenny


Message: 1
From: Adam36055@aol.com 
Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 19:32:38 EDT
To: community_garden@mallorn.com 
Subject: [cg] LA ACGA Convention: August 10-13, 2006: Looking Good

It looks like it's going to be a  great ACGA Convention in LA this
August - 
the brochure that arrived in the mail  looks splendid, and the
workshops are as good as anything I've  seen.  I hope I can get there
this August. 
The ACGA regional committee has  done a tremendous job of organizing,
As an out-of-towner, I certainly  don't know these gardens, or the
they're listed under, officially.  
I've been hearing a lot about the  "South Central Farmers," of late,
their struggle to save their 14 acre  community garden 
(mip://02bd6238/www.southcentralfarmers.org)  or 
_www.southcentralfarmers.com_ (http://www.southcentralfarmers.com)  . 
I realize that all politics are  local, so I really know only what I've
about the South Central Gardeners in  the press and e-mail blasts.  

As I don't know the various names  that gardens go by in LA,. 
So I'm curious: under what name  are the South Central Farmers  listed
in the 
ACGA's Conference Seminar  or tour circular?  I'd like to sign up, out 
solidarity with them, if  the gardeners haven't been evicted, and the
hasn't been bulldozed  by the time the convention starts.  
Best regards,
Adam Honigman
Hell's Kitchen,  NYC


Message: 2
To: cybergardens@TREEBRANCH.COM, community_garden@mallorn.com 
From: Donald Loggins <dlogg60798@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2006 06:53:21 -0400
Subject: [cg] (no subject)

City Limits WEEKLY
Week of: May 30, 2006
Number: 537


Book salutes the Lower East Side's community gardens. > T. Adams



Loisaida: NYC Community Gardens; By Michela Pasquali; Linaria Books;
Loisaida, the name bestowed upon the Lower East Side by its large
Puerto Rican population, is the site of more than 60 community
gardens. In this new book, Loisaida--NYC Community Gardens, Michela
Pasquali, an Italian landscape architect, traces the life of these
miniature oases from the first vacant lot seized by young activists
in the 1970s to their precarious future thanks to the neighborhood's
hot new status in the real estate world. Pasquali highlights the
largely improvised design and construction of the gardens and shows
how each functions as a cultural and social hub for the residents
that maintain them. Pasquali spent four years researching the book
and took most of its color photos. Her lens penetrates the myriad
lush hideaways where hollyhocks, prune trees and snapdragons brush up
against stuffed animals, bathtubs and Madonna statues. The book, with
parallel columns of English and Italian text, concludes with concise
profiles of groups like Green Guerillas and New York Restoration
Project, which were integral in sustaining the floral spaces, and
essays by two Italian scholars and community garden enthusiasts.
bThus that garden that peeks out from the rubble between two tall
19th-century tenements represents a small (or even tiny) act of
insubordination,b writes Mario Maffi, a professor at the State
University of Milan. bAgainst landlords, real estate, master plans,
the time work (or unemployment) robs day after day from
life.b [05/30/06]


Got comments, tips, questions or corrections for City Limits editors?
Contact editor@citylimits.org.

Donald Loggins


Message: 3
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 10:08:16 -0400
From: "Lenny Librizzi" <llibrizzi@cenyc.org>
To: "community_garden@mallorn.com" <community_garden@mallorn.com>
Reply-to: llibrizzi@cenyc.org 
Subject: [cg] article on rainwater harvesting in community gardens

Gotham Gazette -  

Harvesting the Rain
by Sam Williams
31 May 2006

In 2002, when a severe decline in winter snow and spring rainfall
the city to declare a drought emergency, gardeners throughout New York 

City faced a new twist on an age-old dilemma.

Unable to tap city fire hydrants -- the traditional irrigation source
community gardens -- garden managers looked to the skies for respite. 

Taking a cue from early farmers, they gathered as many jars, barrels
cisterns as they could find and set them out to capture and store a  
portion of every summer downpour that passed over the city. By the end
the year, at least seven gardens had created elaborate rainwater  
harvesting systems channeling water from neighboring rooftops and  
downspouts to 55-gallon drums and underground cisterns.

Four years later, the pressure to capture each precious drop of water
not be as high, but the rainwater harvesting continues. A loose-knit  
coalition of environmental groups calling itself Water Resources Group
helped community gardeners install water retention systems in 25 local 

gardens. The group has even secured a $45,000 grant from the
Protection Agency to finance systems in at least four community
starting with the Bedford Avenue Block Association Garden in Brooklyn
the corner of Bedford and De Kalb avenues.

Some of the larger sites use 1,000 gallon tanks, says project
Lenny Librizzi of the Council on the Environment of New York City, a
member. But others use 55-gallon olive barrels donated by a Queens

As assistant director of the Council on the Environmentbs open space  
greening project, Librizzi sees rainwater collection as an easy way to 

fulfill that projectbs agenda to expand and enhance comunity gardens.
now, most community gardens rely on free city water from fire hydrants.
This makes the gardens beholden to the whims of a city government that,
for at least the last 10 years, has taken note of the value of the land
underlying most community gardens and considered putting the acreage to
more financially profitable use. For security's sake, many of the green
spaces would prefer to have their own back-up water supply, free of

But there are additional environmental benefits. Last yearbs grant from
the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, came about because
group was able to show that recycling rainwater reduces demand on the 

citybs storm sewers and so can help cut water pollution. Although the
is overhauling its aging combined sewer overflow system, many  
neighborhoods still send storm water runoff and household waste into
same sewers. Catching rainwater reduces the demand on the sewers,
city pumps in these neighborhoods more time to work before the sewers 

reach the overflow stage and send untreated sewage into local

bItbs a win-win for the environment and for gardeners,b says Robin
manager of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardenbs GreenBridge horticulture
bFirst of all, rainwater is better for plants than chlorinated tap
so youbll get bigger, healthier plants. Also, by harvesting rainwater,
reduce the amount of storm water that we are currently flooding into
sewer system.b

Or as Librizzi puts it, bIn collecting rainwater, webre not only making
the city greener, webre making it bluer.b

Granted, it takes more than a few dozen community gardens to put a dent
the citybs storm water runoff problem. The Water Resources Group
that its 25-garden network currently captures a little more than
gallons of rainwater annually. Compare that to the average familybs use
an estimated 100,000 gallons a year and itbs hard to resist the punning
drop-in-a-bucket metaphor.

But rainwater harvesting can also produce a change in the way New
think about water. Once New Yorkers stop seeing water as something they
can take for granted, they start appreciating what it truly is: a
resource that takes time to capture.

bWe happen to be kind of lucky in that we just turn on the tap and have
all the fresh water we want, but that may not always be the case,b  
Librizzi says. bThe educational aspect is a big part of this.b

Just as community gardens have taken the lead in bringing nationwide  
issues such as open space preservation and solid waste composting into
five boroughs, so too has the movement played a leadership role in a
where many residents already grasp the common-sense value of rainwater 

recycling but donbt see how to make it work in a heavily urbanized  

bIn a way webre reinventing the wheel,b Simmen says. bMany of the  
immigrant cultures in our city come from places where rainwater
is a way of life. People who come from the Caribbean -- therebs no  
groundwater supply there, every drop of water you use for irrigation
 from the sky, and people know to catch and store the water when it

To further that education, numerous websites offer set up and safe
tips to the aspiring rainfall harvester. For example, the site for Tree
People, a Los Angeles tree-planting group, offers an interactive  
application to help calculate proper cistern size depending on the size
the collecting rooftop and the expected rate of rainfall. A University
Florida Extension site, meanwhile, provides a how-to guide for anyone 

looking to hook up a simple, self-containing 55-gallon rain barrel
to an existing gutter or downspout.

Designing a self-contained system is important. Not only does rainwater
evaporate when left uncovered, it also can be a magnet for mosquitoes, 

rodents and other disease-bearing pests. Finally, there are the issues
drowning risk and potability. Like a backyard pool, a good rainwater  
collection source should we well marked and well-guarded, and it should
abundantly clear to passersby that the water that just flowed in off  
somebodybs rooftop is for plant use only.

bRainwater is generally free of harmful materials and in most cases  
chemicals, but can be adversely affected by air pollutants and/or  
contaminated by animals in the catchment area,b warns the rainwater  
harvesting website Harvest H20.

There are various methods to prevent contamination. Jonah Braverman, an
urban agricultural coordinator with East New York Farms, says his group
uses a bfirst flushb system. This involves a plugged, 10-gallon PVC  
downspout directly adjacent to the collection source - the gutters of a
nearby house. Once the downspout fills completely, remaining water is 

automatically diverted to the main downspout, which flows directly to a
500-gallon tank. After the rainstorm, garden volunteers, remove the
and dispose of the first few gallons of water, and with it, whatever
sediment came washing in off the rooftop. Most research has found that 

filtering the first 10 gallons b as the first flush system does b is  
enough bto protect yourself from bird excrement and other pollutants,b 

Braverman says.

The collection system also includes a direct line to the city sewer, so
that volunteers can shut off and drain the system during the winter
freezing might shatter the permanently filled water lines. So far, the 

only lingering concern with the three year-old irrigation system is
pressure. To address that, the group is planning to purchase a  
solar-powered pump. bWe will also be hooking the system up to a second 

roof,b he says.

Looking down the road, rainwater collection enthusiasts sees
to expand the Water Resources Groupbs efforts to private lots and  
facilities other than community gardens. In early June members of the 

Water Resources Group along with members of the City Councilbs
on Environmental Protection will visit Philadelphia where Philadelphia 

Green, a project funded by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, has 

been working on pilot projects involving permeable paving materials,  
including asphalt. Such projects, if successful, could dramatically  
increase the percentage of rainwater captured and minimize storm runoff
 from parking lots and streets. The newly permeable surfaces can then
planted with trees and other plants, making them cooler and more  
attractive b without consuming additional drinking water.

In a sense such projects hark back to an earlier era. Simmen notes that
that the lots of many Brooklyn brownstones still contain the buried  
backyard cisterns local residents once used to store rainwater during
dry months. bSince the early 20th century, New York has one of the few 

cities that doesnbt exist next to or on top of its water supply,b
says. As a result, many of us havenbt learned the importance of
the local waterways from pollution, something we might have learned  
growing up in another city. Itbs something that we had here and itbs  
something that webve lost.b

Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC)
51 Chambers Street  room 228
New York,  New York 10007
212-788-7927 phone
212-788-7913 fax


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