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Mike_Lowery
February 3rd, 2009, 03:44 PM
Hello HT. :cool:

We are starting a sustainable garden with a group of kids at a public housing project. Does anyone have some pointers that they can offer in starting such a thing?

We're looking at growing carrots, broccoli, oranges, lemons, papaya, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon, etc.

what's a good way to mulch? build a cheap, easy water catchment?



Thanks.

helen
February 3rd, 2009, 03:56 PM
Oranges, lemons and papaya come from trees so that is going to take some time grow from a seed unless you are trying to transplant trees to your garden area. Also you are going to need a lot of land, wide and deep for these trees.

Carrots, lettuce, cabbage, as well as spinach, peas and corn grow within a year's time or less.

Mike_Lowery
February 3rd, 2009, 04:02 PM
Oranges, lemons and papaya come from trees so that is going to take some time grow from a seed unless you are trying to transplant trees to your garden area. Also you are going to need a lot of land, wide and deep for these trees.

Carrots, lettuce, cabbage, as well as spinach, peas and corn grow within a year's time or less.

seeds, land, air, wind, and sun--no problem. we have an existing greenhouse to work with.

what's a good way to mulch without having to purchase a mulcher?

joshuatree
February 3rd, 2009, 04:08 PM
I've only grown tomatoes. Be sure to space out the seeds or seedlings so you can put a cage around each one when they grow out. Given the wonderful weather and soil, you'll get multiple crops easy.

SusieMisajon
February 3rd, 2009, 04:26 PM
Two words: RUTH STOUT

snowbird
February 4th, 2009, 04:52 PM
Two words: RUTH STOUT

Susie's right. Ruth Stout. Go to your library. Maybe they have her book.

A few questions: Sorry, Mike, I don't know where you live. I live in Cali. Is your garden going to be run as a community garden, where families or will each kid be having their own plot? My mom ran the local one here for many years. Lots of fun! And hard work.

Yeah, the trees. I get mine from HD, as starting from seed takes forever. Find out what everybody likes to eat, and then plan what is most practical.

Sustainable. wow. That means trees, berries, artichokes,papaya, asparagus, rhubarb, grapes... most everything else dies off after its season, but you can seed-save, unless you buy hybrids. Composting is important.

After Ms. Stouts book, I recommend reading Mother Earth News. It's also available at the library, and you can get the last 10 years of it on CD now.

It will tell you how to build the water catchment system, and anything else you EVER wanted to know about a sustainable garden... Those kids gonna love you! Good times.

Mike_Lowery
February 4th, 2009, 05:41 PM
Susie's right. Ruth Stout. Go to your library. Maybe they have her book.

A few questions: Sorry, Mike, I don't know where you live. I live in Cali. Is your garden going to be run as a community garden, where families or will each kid be having their own plot? My mom ran the local one here for many years. Lots of fun! And hard work.

Yeah, the trees. I get mine from HD, as starting from seed takes forever. Find out what everybody likes to eat, and then plan what is most practical.

Sustainable. wow. That means trees, berries, artichokes,papaya, asparagus, rhubarb, grapes... most everything else dies off after its season, but you can seed-save, unless you buy hybrids. Composting is important.

After Ms. Stouts book, I recommend reading Mother Earth News. It's also available at the library, and you can get the last 10 years of it on CD now.

It will tell you how to build the water catchment system, and anything else you EVER wanted to know about a sustainable garden... Those kids gonna love you! Good times.
Thank you, kind stranger from the Internet!

I live on Kauai...there's enough rain in Lihue to build water catchment. The public housing complex where we are starting this has a pretty huge greenhouse and outdoor garden, so we'll section off areas for families who want to be part of the project.

And Susie, thanks for the tip on Ruth Stout. My first reaction was like, why is she suggesting some kind of ale? :D

SusieMisajon
February 4th, 2009, 08:19 PM
A cold beer will be very nice, as you lean against your garden spade and watch your vegetables growing.

Nords
February 5th, 2009, 04:49 AM
what's a good way to mulch without having to purchase a mulcher?
Does Kauai have a program like Oahu, where green waste is mulched and dropped off outside a community garden for free pickup?

SusieMisajon
February 5th, 2009, 05:18 AM
Use whatever you have available.....

Cardboard, straw, clippings, cornhusks, dead leaves newspapers (the weeds will then die under the weight of public opinion), old hay, sawdust, compost....just keep layering it on.

Mike_Lowery
February 5th, 2009, 07:35 AM
Does Kauai have a program like Oahu, where green waste is mulched and dropped off outside a community garden for free pickup?

Naw we don't. As most of Hawaii would say, Kauai's the oldest island and still 100 years behind the rest of the state ;)

Bobinator
February 5th, 2009, 07:47 AM
I think hydroponics is a great way to garden. Constant supply of moisture and fertilizer, and less soil, worm, slug and bug problems to deal with.

For a water catchment system, my dad has a collection of 55-gallon drums that can be used to store water from his rain gutters. There's a flexible hose connected to the gutters to run the water away from the house he can use to fill the barrels. He also has a few barrels on dollies so he can lug them around as needed.

If you guys need barrels, there's a portuguese guy on craigslist (Honolulu) named "Joe" that sells 55-gallon plastic drums for $20 each that were used to store detergent. They're white and very clean (obviously :rolleyes:). We bought a few ourselves, and he delivers free if you buy 5 or more. He brings some in from the outer islands, so there's some hope for you guys out there.

It's a great way to prepare for hard times. Some States are already experience shortfalls in the billions. And there's talk of possible rolling blackouts and shortages on utilities because there's no money to pay for it. If you can imagine Hawaii not being able to pay it's electric bills for all the street lights, causing a ripple effect with HECO not making $. Seems far out, but it may become a reality soon. People in the know are saying things are much worse than it appears on the surface. HGEA is already discussing the possibility of mandating furlows like California to stay within the budget, and Calvin Say is hinting at the March Fiscal report being more bleak than originally projected. And we haven't even seen the commercial real estate bubble burst yet.

spookrepitus
February 14th, 2009, 06:19 PM
Awesome project!

Check out this website:

www.growbiointensive.org

I am going to try some of their methods this spring (already double-dug my veggie beds last fall).

You could also contact your county USDA extension office - they should be able to get you in touch with local resources such as Master Gardeners.

As for mulch, I believe wood chips are best. Some municipalities sell mulch made from recycled yard waste or trees.

Catchment systems are straightforward to build - a google search should yield instructions.

And definitely compost. It makes so much sense, especially in Hawaii where I understand trash disposal is such a big problem.

Good luck!

Amati
February 14th, 2009, 08:56 PM
Also check out "square foot gardening". It is a system of gardening that minimizes the space and care needed to grow a successful garden (including vegetables). The skills learned by the students could be something they could take with them as they go through life and the variety of gardening conditions they will encounter ..... yards, lanais, rooftops gardening, etc.
http://www.squarefootgardening.com/

Composite 2992
February 15th, 2009, 12:34 PM
Be careful where the wood chips come from: avoid sawdust from pressure treated lumber.

A friend set up a water catchment system and uses it to help keep the pool filled. She said she hadn't had to use any additional water in a year. A huge savings in water usage.

There's so much runoff from rain here. Most of it just goes straight to the sea, carrying silt and other pollutants into the coastline. There should be systems in place to capture that water and apply it toward irrigation and similar uses.

GeckoGeek
February 15th, 2009, 04:24 PM
There's so much runoff from rain here. Most of it just goes straight to the sea, [...] There should be systems in place to capture that water and apply it toward irrigation and similar uses.

Except that's the natural ecology of the streams. You alter that and you alter the habitat of the stream critters.

WindwardOahuRN
March 25th, 2009, 09:32 PM
I grow all of my veggies here on Oahu in (huge) containers thanks to the simply awful clay soil in my yard but I had a big garden back in NY.
If you are gardening with kids I would aim for crops that are sure to succeed---the kids will be so proud :).
Cucumbers are ridiculously easy to grow---buy seeds that are resistant to downy and powdery mildew and mosaic. Build inexpensive trellises for them by making wooden frames and stringing fishing line up and down the frames---the cukes will grab onto it and reward you with fat straight veggies by the carload. If space is a problem use a bush variety.
Lettuce is another easy one. I like Manoa (Green Mignonette) lettuce here---easy to grow from seed (you get about 200 seeds per packet), slow to bolt, and can be picked at any time---you can peel the leaves as you want them or let them grow into nice heads.
Tomatoes are pretty easy, especially the cherry varieties, but are prone to lots of mildew/fungus problems because of the humidity here. The birds like them too---all the bulbuls in the neighborhood know where my tomato plants are and I figure we are about one for one on the tomato harvest. I have bird netting but I haven't used it yet. Tomorrow...
Tomato seeds are easily gathered and plants grow incredibly easily from those seeds---in fact, if a fruit rots on the vine and the seeds drop to the ground you are pretty much assured of a baby tomato plant. Scoop it up, put it in a pot, and in a few weeks you have a nice new plant.
The fruit trees are a nice idea but are going to take time to get established. It will cost a bit to buy fruiting-sized citrus but it may be worth it. I have Meyer Lemon, Bearss Lime, and calamansi and they are all in (yes, HUGE) pots but are pretty much trouble free. With papaya you have to make sure that your soil has excellent drainage as they will drop dead within days if their feet get too wet. Spoken from experience. :(
Green beans are another easy crop. You can grow the bush variety of these too, if you don't want to be bothered with bean poles.
Don't forget herbs. Basil is always a favorite and really easy. If you let it go to seed you can collect the seed and just start again.
If you grow mint keep it confined. It will take over your garden, your neighborhood, and will eventually become master of the universe if you let it run wild.
Oh....another thing. Do NOT trust those little plant identifying labels if you get stuff from garden centers.
I usually grow my own veggies from seed but I was seduced by the varieties in the excellent garden department at the Home Depot in town.
Heh heh heh. They saw me coming.
I got one pickling cucumber that was true to its label. I shall be making New York Jewish "new pickles" tomorrow. Just boiled the brine a few minutes ago.
But the "Bush Cucumber"? Well, Jack....these plants are supposed to have vines that only spread about two feet, hence the "bush" moniker. They produce your average everyday cuke, six to eight inches long, green, etc.
The vines on this baby are approaching six feet. The cukes are LONG, spiny, and all weird shapes. Curly. Cute, but definitely not as advertised. I've seen pics of these guys in seed catalogs.
They are Chinese Longs. They also sold these at Home Depot. The old label switcheroo bit me in the butt, as it did a friend who found out her Improved Meyer Lemon tree was a lime tree.
Cheapest mulch? Newspaper. Ugly, yeah, but it does the job.
I like your ideas, especially working with the kids.
Best of luck to you!