Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

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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!
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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, , ,

The Tomato Diaries

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Tomato Tips

The first thing you will want to know is whether your tomato plant is determinate or indeterminate. Determinate tomato are bushier, have fruit that typically ripens around the same time and have a shorter growing season.

Indeterminate tomatoes are vining, have fruit that ripens throughout the season and will typically grow until the first frost. Pick what’s best for you based on your reason for growing, available space (indeterminate tomatoes can climb to great heights!) and the length of your season.

Tip One

Soil has a great impact on how your tomatoes will turn out. The better you prepare the soil, the better they will grow. Consider Double Digging. Remove the top layer of soil and loosen the next layer with a garden fork. Mix compost into the top layer and return it to the top of the bed. Add compost as a top dressing before you plant. You should also side dress your tomatoes with compost near the base every few weeks.

Tip Two

Add calcium to the soil by adding egg shells. You can do this before planting. Save eggshells, let them dry, crush them and add them into the soil. After planting, sprinkle them on the ground to either side-dress existing tomato plants or bury in the soil before planting new seeds or transplants. The calcium in the eggshells provides nutrients to your plants keeping them healthy and protecting against blossom end rot. The eggshells can also help other members of the Nightshade family like peppers and eggplant.

Tip Three

You want your tomato plant to develop a strong and deep root system. To help with this, bury the transplant on its side. You will see little hairs on the plant near the soil line. All of these will develop into more roots for your plant. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the bottom of the hole and cover with an inch of soil when you plant.

Tip Four

When you start to see little, tiny tomatoes sprouting, prune your plants. Prune from the bottom up, removing all the leaves below the first set of fruit. Remember most fungi, disease and pests attack the leaves and leaves near the bottom of the plant are most susceptible.

Tip Five

Prune on sunny days, during the hottest part of the day. The sun will help the plant to heal the wound faster, lessening the chance of disease and pest. Only prune your plants once a week, so they don’t get stressed.

Tip Six

Basil and tomatoes taste delicious when eaten together, but they also help each other out in the garden. Plant tomatoes next to basil, peppers, borage and marigolds for better flavor and pest protection.

Tip Seven

Feed your tomato plants weekly or bi-weekly starting as soon as they have their first set of true leaves (the leaves that look like tomato leaves; they will start forming right after the first two leaves sprout). If your tomatoes aren’t ripening, they are most likely hungry and need to be fed.

Tip Eight

Harvest the unripe tomatoes before pulling out your tomato plants at the end of the season. You can let your tomatoes ripen sitting next to a sunny window or make fried green tomatoes!

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

The Tomato Diaries – About Tomatoes

2394629_240624_tomato20for20letterheadWelcome to the Tomato Diaries:

There are hundreds of tomato varieties from tiny cherry to huge beefsteaks. Tomatoes are America’s favorite garden vegetable. Tomatoes are either indeterminate or determinate.  Indeterminate tomatoes sprawl but you will have to prune them or they will put too much energy into vine production. Indeterminate tomatoes produce until stopped by frost, disease, or lack of nutrients. Determinate or bush tomatoes set fruit over two-week period and stop. Tomato varieties are developed for slicing, canning, juicing, or stuffing and some produce extra early. There are varieties resistant to common tomato diseases and every type of climate.

Planting

If you grow tomatoes from seeds, they will germinate in about 1 week when the soil temperature is 75° – 85°. It will take 2 weeks at 60° for germination. Lots of folks start seeds indoors in a sunny spot near a south-facing window. Low light will make seedlings leggy and weak. Once seedlings emerge, water regularly  and keep the temperature no higher than 70°F.  Once a week feed with compost tea or fish emulsion.

When the first true leaves appear, transplant the seedlings to individual pots (plastic cups), burying the stems deeper than they stood previously. After transplanting, give the seedlings more sun and less water. Harden off the plants before planting them in the garden. Plant them where they will get full sun. When you transplant. do it on a cloudy day to lessen shock.

Make the planting holes larger than normal. Put several inches of sifted compost mixed with a handful of bonemeal in the bottom of the hole. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts into each hole for magnesium which promotes plant vitality and productivity. Try not to disturb the soil around seedling roots when you set them in the hole. Set the lowest set of leaves at soil level and fill the hole with a mix of compost and soil. Many gardeners like to plant the stem horizontally in a shallow trench so that only the top leaves show. Strip off the leaves along the part of the stem that will be buried. This may produce more fruit. Read the rest of this entry »

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

CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute is an academic research and action center at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy located in Harlem, NYC. They provide evidence to inform municipal policies that promote equitable access to healthy, affordable food.

They have several informative seminars and discussions coming up. Get on their email list and stay informed.

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Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food, Health, 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.

CGFROG

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!

Bisselsign
Bronx River Sankofa

Morgan Powell

Smiling Bellies
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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“Even though this planet is round, there are just too many spots where you can find yourself hanging onto the edge, unless there’s some space, some place to take a breather for a while.” –Gloria Naylor

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