Friday, May 13, 2011

Community Veggie Plot Plan

Discouraged by the dwindling amount of sunshine in my backyard, I applied for a plot in the Nyack Community Garden.  A few weeks ago I found out that I’ve been assigned a half plot, which amounts to over 100 square feet of sunny space – just about doubling my growing space!   The trick is figuring out what to plant there, and what to plant here.  How do you find the sunniest spots?   

On my first day there, I learned that the side of the garden closest to the trees experiences less sun due to morning shade.  The closer we plant to the fence, the less sun will be available for those plants. 

I had planned to plant squash at that end, so decided to “flip” my design, and plant the squash at the other end where it would get more sun.  I’m putting lettuce, arugula and herbs at the other end. 

Somewhere in the middle will be tomatoes, okra, carrots, peppers and onions.   I’ve installed a cucumber trellis at home, so cukes will be grown there, along with more onions, chard, more lettuce, and garlic. 
Since the plots here are separated only by stakes and twine, there’s also the dilemma of how to get around the plot without trampling the soil. 

I had some marigold seedlings that were started in the school greenhouse.  I scattered these around the plot.    I tried putting in some seedlings that had been thinned from rows of lettuce that were very closely sown by the second graders at the school.  I don’t think they’ll do too well, but we’ll see.  

Mulching is a topic much discussed by these community gardeners.  This plot has lots of weeds and there are several ways to deal with them.  Some choose to use plastic cloth, some use straw and some hoe and weed by hand.  I’m going to try using my “chicken mulch” which is composted chicken bedding (meaning wood shavings mixed with chicken manure).

BTW, if you’re a vegetable gardener, have you checked out the Vegetable Garden Planner offered by Mother Earth News? You can mark out your plot on a grid and then add the vegetables you want to grow with a click.  The amount of space each vegetable needs is immediately visible.   I’m taking advantage of their free trial right now.  (If I can figure out how to get a jpeg of my plot, I’ll post it!)

I think the best part of community gardening is the opportunity to meet and compare techniques with other local gardeners who are experiencing the same soil and weather conditions that I am. 

Does your town have a community garden?


Ashling said...

Years ago I kept a community plot at Stonykill in Fishkill, NY. It was a wonderful experience. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

tut-tut said...

These gardens are so joyful. We are so excited about all the sugar snaps and snow peas that are about to appear. If yesterday's post reappears on my blog (Blogger issues), you'll see the first tiny harvest.

Is this garden the one downtown that Squirrel took me to a few years ago? (ps, does Squirrel still want me to visit? haven't heard a word about it)

Stacey said...

All right! This is the first step in acquiring the Jenny Farm. I started in my community garden with a small plot and now I have the biggest one! Just be a neat and tidy garden and you will be loved.

Shelley Stonebrook said...

Hello there! I'm the gardening editor at Mother Earth News, and it's so cool to hear you're enjoying the Garden Planner. I've been having tons of fun with it. In response to your question about sharing your garden plan, we just added a "Publish Plan to Web" button on the toolbar. This tool basically gives your plan its own unique Web page, so you can share it with others.

Jocelyn said...

I sense an extremely fresh salad in your future. (Or maybe several.) Bravo!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

This is wonderful news. Congratulation on getting a plot in the community garden and growing more vegetables this year.

TALON said...

That is such a fabulous idea. We're very restricted with sunshine here, too - the tree canopy is so dense. I know there is one community garden locally, but it's full up. They are hoping to expand it. I try to tuck things in where I can and the results have been sketchy. I've also done some things in containers so I can move them to the sun throughout the day. I do have a friend with a wonderful garden and he gives me some space and is kind enough to tend it so I don't have to go over too often. I'll be curious to know how your chicken mulch works out!

JGH said...

Ashling, I only know Fishkill as the place where "Splash Down" is! Is Stonykill a park?

Tut, enjoy the peas! I definitely didn't plant enough this year. This probably is the one that you and Squirrel visited - the only other one I know of nearby is in Piermont. I think we should have a girls weekend at her house in the Catskills - will speak to her about it!

Stacey, the plots here are either half or full - next year, maybe a full one. It's based on seniority, so we'll see.

Thanks for stopping by, Shelley and good to know - I'll try it! I really appreciate the emails re: planting times too.

Jocelyn, I hope you're right. Gotta get that lettuce clipped before it turns bitter.

Thanks, Malay Kazadan. More space for okra plants!

Talon, how great to have a friend to share the gardening with! I wouldn't mind having a partner if my plot gets any larger. Especially since I work so much during the week and can't get there to water sometimes.

tina said...

Let us know how it works for you. Our town does have a community garden with tons of sunshine but because it is like 40 minutes from my home I am not involved in it. Every community had them in Germany and they were so super. Such a great get a way to enjoy relaxing and hanging out. You have fun!