Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Community Greens Garden

The Veterans Garden @Bissel is a more than a garden. It is a community activity that engages local veterans, community residents and young gardeners that covers several garden areas and activities as an overall exposure to urban gardening and techniques.

  • Greens, nothing but greens, in the Brassica/Cabbage Family: collard greens, kale, cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Experience and enjoy green, leafy, vegetables, some with heads and some without.

How to Grow
Choose a location in full sun with a rich, well-drained soil.
Space plants 1-2 feet apart in rows 2 feet apart.
Dig a hole for each plant large enough to accommodate the root ball.
Place the top of the root ball so that it is level with the surrounding soil.
Backfill the hole and press the soil down and firm with your hand. Water deeply.

Cultivate or mulch to control weeds.
Fertilize at least once during the growing season.
Plants are able to tolerate a light frost.
Use floating row covers to deter pests and protect from extreme cold.

A black man planting seeds

Growing Tips
Harvest after first frost if you prefer a sweeter flavor.
Pick the outer leaves as needed once they reach 6-8 inches long about 55-60 days after transplanting.
Leave the central bud since it will grow new leaves.
Use cabbage and collards as a substitute for lettuce.
Can be eaten raw or cooked.

Common Problems
Diseases: Bacterial Leaf Spot, Downy Mildew, Clubroot, Powdery Mildew
Insects: Aphids, Cabbage Looper, Flea Beetles, Leafminers, Slugs

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Filed under: CGGrows, Community Green, Cooking, Food, Gardening, Healthy Eating,

Greenlight-GrowNYC

Our mission is to improve New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
GrowNYC was originally created in 1970 as the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC). Born out of the spirit of the first Earth Day, CENYC was initially a policy-based organization, writing comprehensive reports about quality of life issues like air quality, traffic, and noise. Over the past 45 years we’ve become a service organization: whether it’s operating the world famous Union Square Greenmarket, building a new community garden, teaching young people about the environment, or improving recycling awareness, if you’re a New Yorker, GrowNYC is working near you!

Filed under: CGGrows, Community Gardens, Community Green, Environment, Food, Gardening, ,

Hole-Nesting Bees

North America is home to about 4,000 different species of bees. At least 90% of bee species live a solitary, independent lifestyle. Most bees don’t actually live in or build a hive. Native, hive-less, solitary, alternative, and hole-nesting are all terms to describe bees that don’t dwell in a colony – they are lone bees that pollinate 100 times more powerfully than the honey bee.

Honey bees aren’t native, build hives and were brought from Europe for their honey & wax. Native bees are better pollinators because they carry their pollen on their dry bellies versus wet and sticky on hind legs like the honey bee. With each bellyflop landing onto a flower, more pollen is left behind.

Fertile female bees do it all: build nests, lay eggs, gather nectar and pollen, and seal the nest before their short life is over. Between 15-30% of bee species nest in holes. A hole-nesting bee starts building nesting chambers at the back of the hole. Each chamber is in a line and includes a pollen loaf made of pollen and nectar, a single egg, and a protective wall between chambers.

Both Mason and Leafcutter bees are hole-nesting bees that overwinter in cocoons, which also makes them easy to raise in your garden. Mason bees emerge from their brown waterproof cocoons when fruit and berry plants bloom in the Spring and prefers to nest in 8mm sized holes. Summer leafcutter bees emerge from their non-waterproof leafy cocoons in warmer summer weather, when your vegetable garden is blooming and prefer to nest in 6mm sized holes.

Bees are vital pollinators for 1/3 of our food supply and 1/3 of the feed for our livestock. When there are mason and leafcutter bees in gardens, orchards, or fields, often 2-3 times more food is produced. Mason and leafcutter bees are easy to raise. Solitary bees generally have a very mild venom that does not induce anaphylactic shock and they are not aggressive. All you need is the right bee habitat, house, bee cocoons, and some know-how.logohori

We added mason and leafcutter bees to Bissel Veterans Garden last year and we are happy with our decision!

Filed under: Bissel Gardens, CGGrows, Community Green, Environment, Food, , ,

Hydration Is Crucial In Cold Climates

“People become dehydrated if they drink less than six eight-ounce glasses of water a day. With less blood volume the heart has to beat faster to keep up.” -William A. Tansey, III, MD, an expert in cardiovascular disease at Summit Medical Group

brittany_rayMany people often associate dehydration with humidity and dreadful amounts of summer heat. And yes, dehydration cases are very prevalent in those instances, but rarely do people think about suffering from dehydration in the winter months. In my opinion, the winter months are the months where most people can get in the habit of becoming dehydrated without actually being aware of it! For instance, in winter, people feel about 40 % less thirsty, even though the body’s need for water is unchanged all year round. That’s a big number, so I wanted to make you more aware of the other reasons you can become dehydrated in the winter months, so here are a few more things you should think about.
When you wrap yourself in heavy clothing, you sweat more than usual. Fire fighters are known to suffer from dehydration often because of the heavy clothing they have to wear.
Certain fluids dehydrate the body (alcohol, carbonated drinks, sugary drinks, caffeinated drinks).
Monitor the color and smell of your urine. Light yellow or clear with little smell is the goal. Anything darker and more smelly signals dehydration.
There is always natural loss of fluid during the day from perspiration. If you exercise, more water intake is required.
Be more mindful of these things and you will be helping to maintain your health and your heart.

All I ask is that we continue to grow and seek abundance as well as enlightenment. Stay well, stay healthy and be blessed.

#EATFEELPERFORMBETTER

Filed under: Community Green, Food, Fttness, Health,

Buying Fresh Vegetables

 

I am a gardener and have been lucky enough to enjoy fresh garden grown vegetables for years. Fresh, as in just picked from the garden. Each harvested vegetable bring back memories of my childhood. I learned to garden as a kid in a NYC garden in Crotona Park in the ’60s. My brother and I spent several enjoyable summers growing, picking and eating just about anything that could be grown. The double benefit was I also learned to cook fresh food because of it. In season, we would each come home with two shopping bags full of fresh fruits and vegetables. What wasn’t eaten raw, my grandmother would prepare for dinner so we learned how to shuck, simmer and sauté a whole host of things.

Here are some tips on buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, apples and most things are easy, just check for bruises and firmness. Take a good sniff. Does it smell earthy or fragrant? Look at the stem (many places remove them). If the stem appears old or shriveled, it hasn’t been freshly picked. Kiwis past their prime will be bald and dark brown while still being firm. Avocados will be very soft. Mangos will be soft and wrinkled. Greens (mustard/turnip/spinach) will have slimy leaves in the bunch, yellowing leaves, and the stems will be trimmed very short. Lettuces/cabbages (red leaf, green, endive, etc) will have a lot of dark spots on the edges of the leaves, browning on the stems, and the root stump will be trimmed very short.

Always wash your produce no matter where you get it. Even if it’s organic, free range or GMO-free. Wash it and, if appropriate, throw it in your refrigerator.  Some things, like green tomatoes, will continue to ripen on your counter. Unfortunately, my green tomatoes don’t last long  because I love fried green tomatoes, grits and scrambled eggs. Store bought stuff is usually just picked and packed. So you may want to soak it to remove as much bugs and dirt as you can.

Sometimes over-sized produce isn’t always a good buy. Larger produce that’s normally solid inside will become hollow due to the size and when it does, the cavity begins to rot. This is fairly common during a rainier seasons. The two worst offenders are strawberries and potatoes.

CornucopiaSure, you can buy canned but why should you when you can get fresh (frozen clearly a second choice).  There is usually some place in the world  growing what you want, so you can get it at the local market. With that said, be price conscious. Do you really need watermelon in December when it’s half that price in-season. Best to buy local and in-season. Learn to adjust your tastes a bit. It also supports the local economy and you know, a rising tide raises all boats.

Filed under: CGCooks, CGGrows, Community Green, Food, Healthy Eating,

About Community Greens

It takes more than a village to raise a child in today's world. The world is more than flat or round or sun and moon. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are different from that view. Community Greens, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to share my view.

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Chuck Vasser

Blacks In Green

There are more of us people of color out there than you realize and we are coming together to express our concerns, ideas and sit at the table!

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Morgan Powell

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The First Day of SpringMarch 20th, 2018
30 days to go.

Upcoming Events

  • BRONX PARKS SPEAK UP • BRONX COALITION FOR PARKS AND GREEN SPACES February 24, 2018 at 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd W, Bronx, NY 10468, USA http://bronxspeakup.org/
  • Starting Seeds in a Greenhouse or Indoors March 3, 2018 at 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Praxis Warren Residence, Bronx Get gardening early by starting your seeds in a greenhouse or sunny window. We’ll…
  • Bronx Master Composter Certificate Program March 27, 2018 at 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Applications due February 20. 8 Tuesdays, March 27–May 15, 6–9 p.m., 2 Saturdays in April, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (TBD), New York Botanical Garden • Watson Education BuildingA train-the-trainer course that is designed to promote the practice of composting. Deadline is February 20. Apply here.
  • GreenThumb Grow Together March 31, 2018 at 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007, USA
  • Fruit Tree Care April 7, 2018 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Little Green Garden/Rock Garden, Bronx Have you ever wondered what you can do to get a great harvest from fruit trees in your…
  • NYCHA 16th Annual Garden Conference April 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm – 1:30 am Johnson Community Center, 1833 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA
  • Beekeeping: An Introduction (Bronx) April 24, 2018 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Risse Street Community Garden, Bronx Curious about bees for honey and pollination in your community garden? Join Liane Newton…
  • Tropical Accent Design May 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Edith Community Garden, Bronx In this workshop, we will use our warm growing season to cultivate fast growing tropical…
  • Direct Sow and Transplant May 19, 2018 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm River Garden, Bronx Want to grow more food in less space? Tired of struggling or having stunted transplants?…

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