Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creating Drainage

Water pipes run through three raised garden beds, and planning for the drainage was the second step after welding the metal railings up. The garden walls needed to create a seal to capture the rain water, as it is not possible to off load soiled water run-off into the surrounding river estuaries. With some simple wood working and the help of master cody with plumbing, we were able to epoxy pipes and cover them with measurable inches of rock to create a slope that would create the lowest point for successful drainage. More details to come as the drainage "lasagna" was extremely effective and a great use of recycled materials.

Friday, June 5, 2009

harvesting greywater plants

-two pairs of lent wellies
-thermos of coffee
-4 bananas
-cell phone
-ranger john's cellphone
-GPS to Floyd Bennett field
-two spades
-contractors bags
-small converted bus
-gardening scissors

Ranger Jose told us life firefighting stories and we shook off soil and found two earthworms and one beetle larvae.

let's wish the plants luck in their new home.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

chicken coop!

We have invited Genevieve from Montreal to create the chicken coop for the waterpod. She has proposed a favela. Aside from the fact that chickens like to "bunk" together, her urban mock of a home, is exciting.
We have selected materials for her to use and the challenge becomes, can you build a chicken coop with what materials we have foraged on site? The crate being the best structure, with little labor.

let's see what she comes up with.

the crew

soil on site

With a generous donation of soil from the parks department, we are beginning our on site garden. Mary brought her plants first. We are all impressed! Mary's tomatoes are TOUGH she said. They could withstand 3 days of no watering and then lots of love. Sometime half of the battle, is plants learning how to live like you do, on your cycle, on your rhythm. The soil on the other hand is 100% compost, which is amazing and we found out after the first rain storm, that the compost helps to absorb water. Drainage however is a challenge, and we are looking at supplementing the soil with a mineral base.

Friday, May 22, 2009

temporary living systems

Just because the barge doesn't have anyone living on it yet, doesn't mean we don't have to start worksite living system.
One bucket is sawdust the other compost and some fruit albeit pesticided covered grapes, taught us the hard way that we can't wait to be eating our own home grown food!

on site!

Getting dirty, using our hands as tools of the earth to move large amounts of materials to change space, and enjoying the vision of sunsets on the cranes that will lift soil for us...come out and PLAY!

plants in places all over the city!

garden fence

The best part of working on a barge is the air, the sun, the cool breeze and getting to feel tough about working with metal. The garden railings are going up slowly but surely and sloping with the arcs of this salvaged stage that we are reinventing. Inside these sloped areas will be mountains of sloping soil.

Our welds are beautiful, strong and torched into place alongside some soft beaming sun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Growing with the ladies

A little help from our friends

Ed Russel's tags speaks for itself...but what you wont know that is that he is a master grower! Strawberries and all.
Wait to see.

seedlings in May

seedlings in May

Thursday, March 26, 2009

chicken coop updates

Building a chicken coop are you? Are we? What should it look like? for 6 chickens we should have and 8' x 4' coop and a 8' x 4' run. This can happen in many ways and for wind and design purposes should be a bit lower to the ground.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

external greenhouse

The greenhouse I used to work out had a black shade cloth that we would use every summer, to prevent the greenhouse with exploding from direct sun and high humidity. we also had fans and I would spray the floor so it would feel like a jungle and satiate the plants with moisture.
With simple systems, we are evolving into a natural shade cloth, which will be vining plants that will quickly grow and wrap up along the outside of the sphere. The sphere is now however a half dome and may be easier to design a system to install plants in, instead of this fabric soil hanging container. Still the concept is the same. Create trellising string that will rise 1-3" from the infrastructure poles and lace string so the trellising plants have somewhere to go.
the plants must be SUN- LOVING! with suggestions for grapes, morning glory, peas........other perrenials, which is not a priority. Annuals should do fine, but having it edible would be quite a feat pending it is not too high, or a ladder will be in order.

Irrigation System

The irrigation system is a 5 gallon square restaurant bucket. One will rest on the top of each mound and be outfitted with Drip tape that will gravity fill the mound with enough weekly water. Gardens in NYC have a general water requirement of 1' per week, which is 2 waterings 2 times per week. Of course, that is rain dependant.


There will also be a greenhouse on board, which is being outfitted with a hydroponics system designed by the engineering class in Northern Californian. For now the design specs are created so that the structure appromiately 20' x 20' will be a half dome. There will be an opening at the very top in the shape of a circle and a "cap" of sorts that will be the lid of the greenhouse. The lid of the greenhouse roof wil allow for ventilation, and will also serve as a rainwater catch system. the rainwater catch system will run directly down into the planters down below.
Inside the greenhouse will be a structure that is welded to fit the circular shape of the inside measurements and provide a hanging rack for the buckets of container plants that will fill it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chickens in the city!

In New York City, senior gardener Abu Talib oversees the Taqwa Community Farm and its 13 chickens.
In 19th-century Manhattan, hogs roamed the streets and cattle grazed in public parks. Today, chickens are the urban livestock of choice, and not just in New York. City dwellers across the U.S. are adding hens to their yards and gardens, garnering fresh eggs, fertilizer, and community ties, with localities debating and updating their ordinances accordingly.

Urban chickens fell out of favor in the last century because of industrialization and other factors. In the 1990s, though, they enjoyed a renaissance in the local-food-loving Pacific Northwest. The current recession and farm-to-table movement have taken the trend further still. “Just get a few chickens and you can feed yourself,” says AbuTalib of the Bronx’s Taqwa Community Farm. “He who controls your breadbasket controls your destiny.”
—Winona Dimeo-Ediger
Photo: Ira Block
Posted by National Geographic Staff | Comments (0)Filed Under: Culture, Wide Angle

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Seed Kits for seed growers all over NYC

Developing seed kits is a small feet for extending the growth of tons of seeds

I must admit, featuring a wildly outrageous selection of greens,

tomatoes, 5 different varieties and tastes of basil is quite a treat.

Growing all of these different varieties is a whole other process.

We created 8 kits and are in the process of selecting people to nurture

these seeds.

Funny how seed sorting in the city, sometimes ends up on the empty desk at a fed-ex kinkos.

We have our first call out to sowers all over NYC.

seed starting 101

There is so much info about seed starting, books, courses at the local botanical garden and through places like the lower east side ecology center, it is such a relief to come across these simple guides, and even more fun when they end up on your gardening pal's kitchen table in the Ukranian village in Chicago.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

7 days after sowing

The Calendula, Arugula and Onions have started to show themselves just 7 days after sowing. I have placed the started seeds in the window sills and in spaces receiving sunlight but away from the windows. The plants that have started to sprout are not in the window sill, so I'm wondering if its still too cold near the window for the seeds to germinate. The length of time to germination varies with plants so they could just need more time.

The 6 packs and oatmeal containers are holding up fine for now. The toilet paper roll, on the other hand, is starting to feel pretty soft. They have all held their moisture pretty well, so I've only watered twice since planting them.

I'm collecting more waxed 1/2 gallon milk containers for my next seed starting day. They can be used for individual plants by cutting in half when vertical, or can be turned on their side and used for lettuce/greens starting beds.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Water estimations

What do you think? how do you measure how much garden a garden will need? We have a landscape architect on board getting specs. Often with hoses in our backyards, we don't have to think of emptying a tank. When having to estimate and take the options of resourcing water the factor becomes crucial, not just for the garden but for the crew of students at Humbolt University designing the water filtration system.

Here is the first attempt! Luckily with suggestion from scientist and permaculture consultant Andrew Faust we have two things on our side: A reminder that the average summer rainfall in NYC is a plentiful amount. Hard to depend on and often in downpours that drainage and flooding becomes a concern, but plentiful, if predictions can allow for it.
Also: the three sister's garden is the BEST for drought tolerant features. Meaning that once established, it needs little to no water (irrigation that is).

Here however are some speculations of water calculation.

Case 1: Using the landscape irrigation formulas that I calculate with at my job, I figured that if a vegetable garden consumed as much water as a lawn, exposed to full sun in New York City, that it would consume 4,040 gallons of water per month if it used drip irrigation. Spray irrigation was even less efficient.
Assumptions:1600 ft2 of garden full sun / maximum exposure New York City regional evapotranspiration rate for the month of July - 4.34Drip irrigation

Case 2: Using the same formulas, my other estimates involved converting units from metric to standard, but i was unsure of some other values. Assuming the worst with a best guess, i calculated that if a garden was equally divided up amongst cabbage, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, 2 kinds of onions, peppers, onions and tomatoes, that it would consume 8,773 gallons per month (I found crop evapotranspiration data for these plants in metric units online).
Assumptions:1600 ft2 of garden full sun / maximum exposure New York City regional evapotranspiration rate for the month of July - 4.34Drip irrigation

Case 3: I looked for another way to figure out the water use consumptions, so I took it back to the basics and tried to find an online resource that talked about inches of water applied when irrigating. This case assumes a traditional spray irrigation - I found one website that said apply 2" of water "often" to vegetables during peak growth. I know that you have to water vegetables AT LEAST every other day during the height of the summer, so i figured conservatively - 2" of water over 1600 ft2, 15x per month equals 29,995 gallons. That seems way too high.
Assumptions:1600 ft2 of garden2" water per irrigation Water applied every other day (15x per month)Spray irrigation

still yet to be finalized...each answer varies the water supply so heavily!
we'll keep you posted

sowing wildly

With a crew of us planters, visionaries and artists who are passionate about edible creations..we would like to share with you an update of the garden planning:

This is the list of goods that we have planned into our garden plan:

These are the list of seeds from my archived collection

giant grey stripe sunflowers
deep orange safflower
supermane sunflower
torch sunflower
fuji dawn
Hollyhock seeds
mini loofah
african Marigolds
deep purple hollyhocks
yellow hollyhocks
Tall amaranth
Pink Hollyhock
Tomato Heirloom Mix
Yellow Bell Pepper
tennis ball lettuce
Forellesnschluss lettuce
arugula Heirloom
Loiusianna Green Velvet Okra
afphan sesame
arugula roquette heirloom
red rocoto pepper
Super Red HYB Cabbage
pan de zucchero chicory
rat tails podding radish
Weeks NC Giant Watermelon
Weeks NC Giant cantaloupe

Seeds just recently bought at BBG and whose care they are now in:

Flying Saucer Morning Glory


Red Onion

Yellow Onion


One meal Cucumber

Planning: the Feat of 1/4 year system

Every year, there seems to be a seed RUSH! it feels like tomatoes must be sown now, eggplants now and onions, last month...oh my!

The waterpod has been through a range of changes. The garden is changing size and shape, weekly. Water systems are being designed and altered to scale, the structural componants change the artistis vision get to amalgamate to take form.

Trying to plan for an early harvest because the waterpod is launching in may is tricky.What will artists eat for the first 6 weeks while the tomatoes are growing from green to red, when tomatillos are like pea size in their husks and while corn has little sparks of silk and not a kernal more. It makes sense that living off of the land is a year endeavor. Last summer while at an artist residency we ate from the demonstration garden, almost 1/4 acres of rows of delicious produce. There were times when the production levels of some was so great we could have the tomatoe squash fest of spain, or can tomatillos till our eyes turned green. Swiss chard became apart of every meal, and even snack, crunchy in the oven or tucked in between filo dough. This is a larger challenge. There are no cans of tomato sauce canned from October, no pickles jarred and in the pantry. We are living in NYC trying to sustain. In my gypsy life at present, rich with artist opportunities, I have not a window sill that I can water every morning, nor a radiator that I can call my own to get the warm of tricking spring into plants.

Another call of force and community arises from this opportunity. Meg, the co-manager of Living Systems ingeniously foraged through recycling bins, gathering containers of all shapes and sizes. Mary and Mira and Derek have devised a system, as artists, sculptors and inventors, I am sure theirs is equally as inventive. I am going upstate to a friends greenhouse later this week to sow her seeds and have a mini-exchange, hoping to get some carrot chilies and her best squash or rhubarb, although a perrennial is so desireable.

In the meantime resourcefulness is at it's best. There are Greenhouses all over the city, believe it or not, at places that aren't just botanical gardens. People invent coldframes, have window sill systems....plant in old waterbottles and have winter tales to teach you!

This is where you might come in! You as a grower, as an artist who wants to grow, as a scientist, teacher, supporter of the arts.....We have a larger mission in the 1/4 system of a NYC garden. We want you to collaborate with us.

Just when you thought building a community of gardeners in the greatest city in the world couldn't happen, it is! Across all boroughs, through subways, and brownstones, 6th floor walkups and sunny morning window sills, department of agriculture cold frames and kitchen counters.....

Monday, March 2, 2009

surprises of the seed exchange

What do you do with amazing seeds besides ogle at how amazing they are!!!

First of all, we sorted them in the craft aisle at Pearl paint, next to the elevator! Mary took a handful of exciting varieties to start at home and deliver to Mira and Derek.

There is so much to look forward to!

Suyo Long Cucumber to Green Zebra Tomatoes.......just to tempt you.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Seeds of the Season

Here I have just planted a some veggies and flowers in my newly found containers. I started arugula, onions, calendula, broccoli, swiss chard, morning glories, and grape tomatoes. It may be a bit early for tomatoes, but I thought I would give it a try and see how they take.

I started these all on March 1 and plan to have them in these containers for the next month and a half. The tomatoes are in plastic containers because I expect they will need a little extra time.

Seed Starting Containers

Today I began gathering containers for the Seed Starting Kits and quickly found myself rummaging through the neighbor's recycling bin. I found oatmeal containers, milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, various plastic dairy containers, and my personal favorite - 6 pack carriers.

I brought them in, washed them out, cut many in half, poked holes and filled with store bought compost. The 6 packs only needed a small modification. I decided to use those for the greens and lettuces, and simply cut out the dividers on each half and created two small rows.

I like the 6 packs because they are portable, already divided into smaller compartments and easy to find. I'm curious to see how well they will hold up with all the watering. I plan to use a variety of containers in the Seed Starting Kits.