Up the street from our apartment in Brooklyn is a community garden I have admired for awhile called 6/15 Green. Several community gardens are located throughout the New York area and it is always a delightful surprise to see them tucked in between tall buildings. This one has some fruit trees and many irregular-shaped garden plots focused on food production. (Click on the picture below for a larger view)

I was lucky enough to pass by recently when they were having an open house potluck. We didn’t stay to eat, but I did take a nice long walk through the winding paths to admire the plants I know and love. While there, I noticed some interesting gardening techniques.

A friend of mine actually did a major research project on community gardens of the US and shared some of her research with me recently. She mentioned that gardens in ethnically diverse areas will incorporate strategies people brought from this original homes outside the US.

This picture below was something she mentioned is common with community gardeners from Asia, although I know word has gotten out to the masses as well. It is a squash plant that is being trellised up over some Asian greens. The squash can grow bigger without taking up valuable ground space, while shading the Asian greens which would otherwise bolt in the direct hot sun.

Another cool thing that I am no stranger to is the three-bin compost system. We have a much more rustic version with ten bins at the Urban Farm, but this is a very tidy, well crafted design. The newest compost goes into the covered bin. Once it has partially broken down, it gets tossed into the middle bin. That aerates the compost, so it breaks down faster. It sits there for awhile until it is almost completely finished, then gets tossed into the furthest bin to finish up.

The great thing about a three-bin system is that you have three constant stages of compost: unfinished, partially finished, and fully finished. When you need compost for the garden, you empty that last bin and move the other two over into new bins. That first bin is then empty again and ready for a new compost pile.

They have wood slates on the front of their structure, which allows them to make the opening as high or low as they need based on the size of the pile and whether they need to get in there with a pitch fork.

Good ideas for just around the corner and a very productive garden for such a small space. It makes us look like land hogs out west!

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