RE: teaching organic gardening
John et al.:
Again, this is from the Clinton Community Garden, a CG within walking
distance of the Broadway Theaters, Radio City Music Hall & the Rockefeller
Center X-Mas tree on that odd off-shore island known as Manhattan.
1) We practice organic gardening as a whole at the CCG, though some of our
Urban Pioneer seniors still like Miracle Grow & Round-Up. So be it.
Community Gardening is about community and some folks are dead set in their
ways. There aren't many "NPK"ers here anyway.
2) We encourage neighborhood composting: When folks fill out out our gardens
key agreement, they are shown our 4 front garden compost bins and told,
"Listen, remember that stuff in your vegetable crisper that you throw out
every week? We want you to trot down with the veggie scrapings, egg shells
and put them in here. You'll be doing us all a big favor if you do. Just
remember, no meat, dairy, grain ( the rats) etc.....Thanks alot, enjoy the
3) During clean up we encourage gardeners to chop up their pulled up plants,
4) We post notices about when we have finished compost.
5) We get bi-annual deliveries of finished compost from a local recycling
group. We sell t-shirts, hats & tschotkes ( junk) to buy soil amendments in
bulk for gardeners building up their individual plots and front garden
communtal flower and herb beds.
6) We have police and carriage horse stables near us that let us fetch
wheelbarrows of manure. The gardening community gets the idea that this is
the way to do things. And of course, it's cheaper.
7) The general operating principle is that we try to lead and teach by
example: we're all primates - monkey see, monkey do.
My sneaky personal tactics:
a) I have these sweet tomatos which pass out to new gardeners from my plot
when I have them, "See, they don't get this sweet unless you grow organic.
Raised bed, no chemicals, make you live longer. Organic veggies, that's why
the big deal chefs buy them directly from farmers, leave the watery crap for
b) While hauling in a steaming wheelbarrow of "stable gold" a few weeks ago
past some rookies, "I know what's in the compost bins and this wheelbarrow.
G-d knows what's in that store bought chemical stuff. I know they get some
weird cancers out in Farm Country from them pesticides and that nitrogen run
off into the water supply." I see a young guy, " You know that Bob Dole
likes viagra so much because that those factory farms in his native state, I
know it hasn't come out in the journals yet, but I betcha that all them
chemicals take a man's edge off."
c) The fall before this I volunteer with a young guy who still has a back
to prepare a senior's bed for the winter. She's been using Miracle Grow for
years and not rotating and her stuff so her veggies that year looked kinda
sickly. She buys the beer and sandwiches. As she's on an limited income, we
don't build a wooden frame but surround her plot with rocks and double dig.
We get more rocks to surround her plot. We add manure, compost and 4 bags
of soil for every bag of peat moss. Her plot produced better last year ( she
only used MG once because she was skeptical; we asked her to lay off to see
and boy was she surprised. I saw her in there this fall throwing in compost,
turning in manure, asking questions about fish emulsion.) A good example
d) We have all those nifty books and magazines in the shed and organic
charts and all. It's the education ( and sneakiness that gets folks to read
them, use them.)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Verin [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 5:35 PM
> To: listserv cg
> Subject: [cg] teaching organic gardening
> Howdy, folks!
> We have many "NPK" gardeners who aren't growing soil, rotating crops, who
> resort to Sevin to kill bugs, etc. I'm interested in knowing who among you
> are specifically teaching organic gardening workshops. I assume most/all
> you promote and encourage organic, yet what I what to know about is your
> actual organic curriculum or fact sheets. Also, any tales from the field
> what worked, what didn't in terms of people getting it/employing it (i.e.
> letting go of the NPK fertilizer route).
> Happy gardening,
> John E. Verin
> City Wide Coordinator - Philadelphia Green
> The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
> 100 North 20th Street, 5th floor
> Philadelphia, PA 19103-1495
> Phone: 215-988-8885; Fax 215-988-8810
> community_garden maillist - email@example.com
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org