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Re: seeking advice (Mary Laycock)

>Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 19:27:27 -0700
>From: Mary Laycock <mlaycock@img.net>
>To: "community_garden@mallorn.com" <community_garden@mallorn.com>
>Reply-To: mlaycock@img.net
>Subject: [cg] seeking advice
>Hello!  Jennifer here again looking for yet more advice from all my
>fellow (helpful) gardeners.  We are experiencing a mess in our 
>surrounding each garden plot.  Last year we left them bare, with only
>dirt in them, and it was a mess whenever they got wet from watering.
>They'd turn into rivers of mud, and were very slippery.  So, this 
>we received donated sawdust, and put this in the walkways.  It
>eliminated the mud problem, but some of the gardeners do not like it
>because when wet, it sticks to bags, buckets and shoes.  Does anyone
>have any suggestions that have worked for them?  We've thought of 
>or hay, but of course, not everyone agreed on this either.

I've found that woodchips make a great path mulch. Because the individual
particles are heavier than sawdust, they don't stick to everything as
much. (I would think wet sawdust would act much as wet sand, perhaps even
stickier.) And here in Connecticut, most towns have a Publics Works Dept.
that generates lots of woodchips which are free for the taking. I know
people who've called local tree services and asked them to dump chips on
their property the next time the service is in their neighborhood. Since
the tree service would have to pay a fee for legal dumping, they're
usually glad to have somewhere to dump it for free. 

>And...we have recently experienced a rash of vandalism.  I've posted
>notes here before seeking advice about this topic, and as of yet,
>nothing has really put a dent in the amount of vandalism we have
>experienced.  We are considering putting a raspberry hedge around the
>perimeter of the garden with only a few designated entrances.  I'm
>trying to gather information on this idea, or other ideas that may
>help.  I would greatly appreciate any information that anyone would 
>to share.

In the urban community garden in which I've worked, the following have
helped greatly with vandalism (which is almost non-existent for us now):
1. limited access--one way in and out. This prevents cut through traffic,
and means that anyone who goes in has to do so intentionally. We don't
have a gate; just a complete chain link fence with a single, large
opening on the busiest street.
2. visibility--hence the chain link fence. Some folks wanted to put up
stockade fencing for privacy, but privacy is the last thing we need. We
want EVERYONE to be able to see what's going on in the garden, day and
3. community involvement--an investment worth protecting. Bored kids are
often a major source of vandalism; we get as many neighborhood kids
involved in the garden as possible. We also share produce and flowers
with the non-gardeners who live immediately adjacent to the garden. This
generates good will and gives them a stake in the garden as well. 

I hope this is useful to you.

Jennifer Barricklow
New Haven, CT

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