Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sustainable Saturday - Dinosaur at the Community Garden

Have you ever seen a community garden?  Allow me to give you a brief tour of the one my spouse gardens at.  It is located at Otsiningo Park, a county park near Binghamton, New York.

People can rent 20 x 25 plots for $20/year.  The annual rent includes a spring plowing and water. We rent two, because we have a small home plot and and a lot of shade.  Next year, we may cut it down to one plot.

The first several photos are of our plot, taken on July 4.  The first picture is of Lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan or "dinosaur" kale. Looks unusual, doesn't it?  Not all supermarkets (or farmers markets) sell this but it is a very good tasting variety.

Next, a patch of Jade bush green beans.  You'll note from both pictures that our community garden ground is quite rocky. The soil is far from the best, although we have tried to work organic matter into it over the years. (We can keep our plots from previous years.)  This September, the garden will be closed down around the 16th and a one-time cover crop will be planted.  The governing organization has never done this before and it is hoped it will help to improve our soil.
We have various other crops growing, including carrots, summer squashes, pole beans (which animals have been picnicking on), tomatoes and peppers. (The weeds are doing great, too, thank you.)  For the pole beans (which we usually don't grow) we are growing Fortex, Kentucky Wonder Wax, and a Romano type.  We have very good luck with onions and usually grow three varieties.

Our favorite bean, Sequoia, has been a total bust this year, with constant animal attacks.

We use the raised bed method and have for many years now.

Our community garden always had a problem with unrented plots going to weed.  For the first time, it seems like almost all of the plots have been rented (or, at least, donated). 
One of our neighbors uses plastic mulches extensively.  It makes for a very neat garden but, unfortunately, our garden is going to ban the practice in the next year or so.  I plan to blog about that as the gardening season progresses.
This is another garden plot, featuring both vegetables and flowers.

We haven't planted sunflowers in years, as they reseed. (these are the Mammoth sunflowers, grown for seed, but we have so many we use them for bouquets, too).  We are very close to having sunflowers.  I can't wait!

Is our community garden organic?  Not yet, but this is another change coming,  And I wonder how some of our neighbors will adjust.  I will blog about that in the near future, too.

Community gardens can be found in many settings. Does your city/town have one?


  1. Hi Alana. Nice to see you involved with the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

    I enjoyed the tour of your community garden! I think they are so important for a number of reasons - and everyone should have access to a bit of "real garden" food! I live in the country now, but when I lived in town I certainly wished there were more community gardens available.

    What originally caught my eye was your picture of the dinosaur kale. I just had a conversation about it earlier this week - talking with someone about a memory of his grandmother's dinosaur kale in her garden. Funny that such relatively unusual veggie would come up twice in conversation in less than a week! Maybe it's some kind of reminder for me to get some in for the fall garden?

    Thanks again for the post!

  2. Hi Doll! Yes, they do! We don't participate, because we have enough trouble keeping up with our own. I won't say I am Lady Agent Orange, but my thumb is still more black than green... :-)


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