Monday, April 25, 2011

The Compost Has Arrived!

Latest update on Boone Street community garden and urban farm: compost and transplants!

The fine folks at L & J trucking helped us out with a dump truck to bring 20 cubic yards of Recycle Green compost. Thank you! It arrived just in time for us to start spreading it and have the warm weather plants in the ground during the next few weeks.

Last Friday the 22nd Cheryl and I woke up at the crack of dawn to get to the garden by 7 a.m. It was nice that even at that super-early time of morning a neighbor on his way to work came over and said he and his wife had been interested in starting a community garden for some time! Every time I get nervous or overwhelmed with all this garden activity, the neighborhood response keeps me going.

I have to admit, initially I was worried that we would be perceived as a gentrifying force (I dislike the word gentrification because it gets thrown around a lot and its meaning is very muddy, but you know what I mean.) But I needn't have been so worried!

Our very frequent presence in the garden and at community meetings has been a big help in meeting neighbors, and everyone has been so supportive and interested.

People have told us that it's about time someone put the abandoned area to good use, asked about bringing their kids by one day, and mainly are interested in asking questions and learning what we're planting. Kids ride up on their bikes and we'll show them the seedlings, and they share about how much they love beets and carrots.

Once the community beds are actually build and we've put in the transplants, I think there will be even more involvement.

Well, that's enough of the social part of the garden for now.. what about the work that's going on?!

Since rain was predicted every day this weekend, we surrounded the compost heap with straw and tried to cover it with leaves to prevent nutrient erosion. I also laid out a few perennial herb transplants since the seeds seem to be struggling a bit with the newly broken soil.

Here are a few chamomile plants that I dug out of the Remington garden and a strawberry transplant that was gifted to us. The larger plants are more established chamomile planted a few weeks ago:

Since we've got enough soil to till for the food crops, we are taking the easy way out with the perennial transplants and putting them in a "lasagna bed." Cardboard and/or newspaper are laid down directly on top of the grass, then layers of compost, leaves, and straw are added to form the bed. All we have to do is make a hole for the transplanted herb in the bed. You can see the chamomile in their pots ready to be planted.

After laying out the transplants and circling the compost with straw, we went to the Loading Dock to get lumber for the community garden beds.

The Loading Dock is an awesome organization in Baltimore that recycles construction materials. They are such a great resource!

The truck getting loaded up with lumber:

Special thanks to Lowell, Brent, and Jessica for lending a hand on Saturday to build the garden beds, pick up trash, lay down a second 100 foot row of compost, and weed. You guys are amazing!

Lowell took photos of all the action on Saturday so I hope to have those posted soon.

And since this is sort of a compost-themed post, here's a photo of a super awesome looking compost bin setup that some friends of mine just built. So pretty!

1 comment:

Brian said...

Looks like you're off to a good start with your community garden. I've gardened in my backyard for the past few years and will be gardening in a plot at the Parkville Community Garden this year. So excited, just a few more weeks until I start planting.

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