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Teaching organic gardening

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Verin" <jverin@pennhort.org>
To: "listserv cg" <community_garden@mallorn.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 2:34 PM
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
> http://www.libertynet.org/phs
Your post was forwarded by several members of the Seattle P-Patch community.
As Co-Site Coordinator of the Interbay P-Patch Community Garden where we
have a successful community soil building program and where we conduct a
number of soil building and organic gardening workshops over the course of
the year, I offer my .02 worth of suggestions, observations  and comments as
1.Suggest establishing clear goals and objectives for garden. If you mandate
an organic garden, you eliminate the inevitable problems  between gardeners
that use chems and those who don't.

2. Create a written agreement between garden and gardeners when plots are
issued.  Gardeners agree to  use organic gardening practices and whatever
other conditions you decide are appropriate in your garden.

3. Set the garden up as a year around garden with the garden year ending on
Oct 31 and beginning with soil building/replenishing on Nov. 1.

4.  Soil Building.  We have a multi-faceted Soil Building Paradigm with this
prelude, "Decomposing organic matter is the underlying tenet of organic
gardening. At Interbay everything we do emanates from community
soil-building activities. Healthy lush gardens make for happy gardeners and
pride in community.
5. Every Saturday morning 52 weeks a year we have "Compost Socials" (the
idea is to make composting fun). One of the garden slogans is "Mulch
everywhere, always." We even have Celebrity Compost; a celebrity turns a bin
we install a bin board with their name on it. Wendell Berry was the most
recent of 22 celebrity compost turners. This kind of thing gives compost and
composting status in the garden and beyond.
6. Schedule food and fun along with work. We serve soup and bread 52
Saturdays a year at noon. Gardeners sign up for making soup ahead of time;
an Italian bakery donates the bread.
7. Here is a list of classes and workshops at Interbay over this past
 *Barn Owls
*Growing Peas and Potatoes
* Building Natural Immunity in a Garden
* The ABCs of Hot Composting
*Attracting Beneficial Insects
*Growing Dynamite Tomatoes
*Growing a Weedless Garden
* Mulching with Grass Clippings
* Growing Beans, Corn & Squash
*"Beneficial Gardening"
* Growing Great  Garlic
* Using a Refractometer to Measure Plant and Soil Success
* Growing Winter Greens
* Native Plants
* Preparing a Winter Garden:  The "Interbay Mulch"
*Preparing a Winter Garden: Cover crops
*Making and Using Leaf Mold

8.  Above all, plant lots of laughter; make the  garden fun; a place people
want to come to and be in.

Hope these ideas helped.
Jon Rowley
Interbay P-Patch

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