Sunday, August 18, 2013

Larger scale gardening

In late July, while very busy with all of my freelance gardening work, I stumbled upon a very cool larger scale gardening job.

I was hired by a Brooklyn-based food pantry, to run their existing gardens, assist with their education programs, and oversee the building of two very large gardens.  One is a 7,000 square foot garden in a nearby vacant lot, and the other is a 20,000 "mini-farm" in the Rockaways.

I'll create some postings showing the step-by-step construction.  Given that we started the project pretty late in the growing season, I'll also have a lot to post about Fall plantings.  For now, just a quick overview.

Earlier this Spring, a smaller garden was created in the large vacant lot in Bed-Stuy, as a collaboration between my employer and a nearby school.  It consisted of around a dozen 4' x 16' wooden raised bed planters.  The problem was that this left a lot of unused space.  The space actually wasn't just unused, but it took a great effort to keep the lot from just filling up with weeds.

Our goal was to turn most of the space into a vegetable garden.  Rather than create dozens of more wooden raised beds, we instead just added rows of soil and paths, as would be in a farm.  We're also constructing a small greenhouse, soon a three bin composting system, and then some teaching, cooking and other gathering areas. 

This space will be used both as a school garden, and a production garden for the food pantry.  We may even have enough produce to support a small farmer's market.  

soil delivery
The project in the Rockaways is around three times large in scale.  Here, we'll also grow dozens of rows.  Plus, we'll have a larger composting operation, a chicken coup/run, and a dedicated area for a farm stand and some educational activities.  The growing areas will also have a hoop house or another type of construction that will give us some four season farm space. 

This farm will grow produce for some other local food banks, sell at our own farmers market, and maybe sell produce to some local restaurants.

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