RE: creating 4X6 raised gardens for Habitat housing
Here's how we do it at the Clinton Community Garden ("CCG")
(http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org ) in NYC. Fortunately, you will not
be building on rubble, expended ammunition, lead paint. It's small world
time here because Howard Maloney, who works for " Country Living Gardener",
has a 4' X 6' plot a few yards from mine in the CCG.
For vegetable gardening we've found that we get the best results with
French Market Garden bioenergetic raised bed ( the Irish have called these
"easy beds'" for years. They were popularized by a Brit associated with the
University of California in the 50's and 60's. He was also into stuff like
planting around the phases of the moon which we generally don't observe.
What we do is dig down about 3 feet and sift out all of the large rocks,
debris, bricks and leaving very small pebbles and gravel on the bottom and
loosely sifting the original soil into the plot. We then use UNTREATED
wooden boards about 2 feet wide to frame the above ground portion of the
bed. My mixture is a combination of no more than 25% peat moss and and
admixture of topsoil, chicken manure, compost and other organic matter. I
usually add two quarts of redworms and castings to the soil at the beginning
of every season ( although my annual sifting usually shows that my plot is
worm rich - the more the worms work at aeration, the easier it is on my
back). During the season, I fertilize the roots of my plants with bi-weekly
fish emulsion waterings. I grow mainly tomatoes, peppers, basil, pole beans,
spinach & lettuces( in the early and late cooler months) and eggplants.
Squash does well but the plant is such a space eater that I grow them
towards the front of the plot and keep them tied up to a cage to resist
their spreading. Recently, I've started growing some root vegetables like
carrots, radishes and beets because my plot is testing lead-free ( mainly
due to all of the organic matter I've pumped into it over the years.
If there is any chance of there being lead or heavy metal pollution in your
garden, do not let small children work in it or eat from it.
My ideas for you in Florida:
1) Check out these websites: the American Community Gardening
Association website: http://www.communitygarden.org/index.html ; the Trust
for Public Land website: http://igc.apc.org/tpl ; and the archives of this
web server at http://email@example.com for lead on Florida
community/organic gardens. Often community gardeners learn by trial and
error, if someone else has invented the wheel. it saves time not to reinvent
2) Contact the Florida Dept of Agriculture for:
a) directions on where to get your soil tested
b) leads on who the local organic farming organizations are and how
to contact them
c) ideas on best agricultural practices for your part of Florida
3) If your municipality permits it I'd suggest that you keep a bee
hive for pollination.
4) Bring your local municipality and surrounding neighborhood into
the process from the creation. The more friends that you have, the better.
Especially when it comes to Florida water issues.
Best wishes, please let me know how it works out.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: MVHM@aol.com [SMTP:MVHM@aol.com]
> Sent: Monday, March 27, 2000 7:47 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [cg] creating 4X6 raised gardens for Habitat housing
> I am proposing that our Jacksonville, Florida community add 4X6 raised
> gardens to our "HabiJax" Project (our term for the Housing project begun
> Jimmy Carter). Our year 2000 plans include a 100 house blitz. I made a
> model of the raised garden. Now I need some data to present at the next
> 1. possible vegetable / flower combinations and expected crop yeild
> 2. amount of "fill" (compost, soil, small rock) for these dimensions
> I got this idea from the community gardens article in the Jan/Feb issue of
> Country Living Gardener. The inital response has been encouraging.
> community_garden maillist - email@example.com
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org