Urban gardens: Healthy or harmful?

Home-grown vegetables are only as good as their soil and environment. For urban gardeners, that can be a challenge.

“In food deserts and other areas where people don’t have access to food, they take matters into their own hands through urban gardening,” said Ahkinyala Cobb-Abdullah, an associate professor of environmental science and ecology at Virginia Union University.

“We encourage people to get out and get into the soil to grow their own food, but there can possibly be metal toxicity in plants grown in urban gardens,” said Cobb-Abdullah, whose doctorate is in environmental science.

Duron Chavis, the manager of community engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, echoed Cobb-Abdullah’s concerns.

“Many Richmond homes that were built in the 1920s and ’30s were torn down,” Chavis said. “They were hauled away, but they may have already leached asbestos and lead into the soil.”

READ THE STORY https://www.richmond.com/life/home-garden/urban-gardens-healthy-or-harmful/article_134cba9d-31fa-514f-ba53-843baf864c9c.html

How urban gardeners can lower their risk of contact with soil contaminants

TEMECULA – City dwellers may once have thought that gardening was a hobby for suburbanites or those living in rural areas. But urban gardening has grown in popularity as more and more city folk have looked for ways to increase their access to healthy, low-cost produce.

Urban agriculture may seem like a relatively new idea, but according to National Geographic, it actually dates back to the 19th century, when former Detroit Mayor Hazen Pingree devised a plan to help the city’s unemployed laborers during a period of economic crisis. Pingree developed an idea to use acres of vacant and idle lands throughout the city to create subsistence gardens. Begun in 1894, the program would peak in 1897 with the participation of more than 1,500 families. The program would taper by 1901 as the economy improved, but there’s no denying the relative success of the mayor’s program.

READ THE STORY https://www.myvalleynews.com/story/2019/03/08/lifestyles/how-urban-gardeners-can-lower-their-risk-of-contact-with-soil-contaminants/64932.html

How urban gardeners can lower their risk of contact with soil contaminants

TEMECULA – City dwellers may once have thought that gardening was a hobby for suburbanites or those living in rural areas. But urban gardening has grown in popularity as more and more city folk have looked for ways to increase their access to healthy, low-cost produce.

Urban agriculture may seem like a relatively new idea, but according to National Geographic, it actually dates back to the 19th century, when former Detroit Mayor Hazen Pingree devised a plan to help the city’s unemployed laborers during a period of economic crisis. Pingree developed an idea to use acres of vacant and idle lands throughout the city to create subsistence gardens. Begun in 1894, the program would peak in 1897 with the participation of more than 1,500 families. The program would taper by 1901 as the economy improved, but there’s no denying the relative success of the mayor’s program.

READ THE STORY https://www.myvalleynews.com/story/2019/03/08/lifestyles/how-urban-gardeners-can-lower-their-risk-of-contact-with-soil-contaminants/64932.html

A Lush Urban Garden or Senior Citizen Housing: Which Would You Choose?

The Elizabeth Street Garden’s paved paths meander around a granite balustrade from the early 20th century, limestone lion statues, benches and beds of roses and daffodils.

For years, the half-acre of green grass and leafy trees, tucked in between Spring and Prince Streets in Manhattan, has been a lush backdrop for fashion shows, photo shoots, games of hopscotch and quiet afternoons.

But the city plans to sell the land soon to build a seven-story, 123-apartment elevator building for low-income seniors.

The plans have spurred a clash in the neighborhood, turning the garden in Little Italy into a quintessential New York City power struggle that pits two of the city’s scarcest resources — affordable housing and green spaces — against each other.

READ THE STORY https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/nyregion/garden-little-italy-senior-housing.html

A Lush Urban Garden or Senior Citizen Housing: Which Would You Choose?

The Elizabeth Street Garden’s paved paths meander around a granite balustrade from the early 20th century, limestone lion statues, benches and beds of roses and daffodils.

For years, the half-acre of green grass and leafy trees, tucked in between Spring and Prince Streets in Manhattan, has been a lush backdrop for fashion shows, photo shoots, games of hopscotch and quiet afternoons.

But the city plans to sell the land soon to build a seven-story, 123-apartment elevator building for low-income seniors.

The plans have spurred a clash in the neighborhood, turning the garden in Little Italy into a quintessential New York City power struggle that pits two of the city’s scarcest resources — affordable housing and green spaces — against each other.

READ THE STORY https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/nyregion/garden-little-italy-senior-housing.html

25 Gardening Tips Every Gardener SHOULD KNOW!

1. If it’s getting cold and you have tomatoes still ripening on the vine — save your tomatoes! Pull the plants up and bring them inside to a warm dry place. Hang them up, and the tomatoes will ripen on the vine.

2. Companion planting is an excellent way to improve your garden. Some plants replenish nutrients lost by another one, and some combinations effectively keep pests away.

3. Paint the handles of your gardens tools a bright, color other than green to help you find them amongst your plants. You can also keep a mailbox in your garden for easy tool storage.

4. Compost needs time to integrate and stabilize in the soil. Apply two to three weeks prior to planting.

5. There is an easy way to mix compost into your soil without a lot of back-breaking work: Spread the compost over your garden in the late fall, after all the harvesting is done. Cover with a winter mulch such as hay or chopped leaves and let nature take its course. By spring, the melting snow and soil organisms will have worked the compost in for you.

READ THE OTHER 20 TIPS HERE: https://www.planetnatural.com/vegetable-gardening-guru/tips/

Growth In Gardening: Companion Gardening

I am jumping on the companion gardening bandwagon with both feet this year. I have experimented with companion planting in small ways in my gardens over the last several seasons and I am 100 percent convinced that the system is the way to go.

The basic idea behind companion planting is as simple as it is sensible: many plants grow better near some comrades than they do near other plants or when alone. By itself companion planting your garden will not work miracles but applied in a well-maintained garden, it can produce startling results. It sure has for me. It can drastically improve the use of space, reduce the number of weeds and garden pests, and provide protection from both heat and wind, two problems I run into every year. So, as far as I am concerned, in my vegetable garden, this all adds up to getting me what I really want: increased yield.

I will be employing companion planting in my vegetable gardens, but it can also be used when flower gardening and in full-scale farm fields. In fact, some of the most familiar examples come from farming, where it’s a long-standing practice to sow vetch or some other legume in the fall after the harvest. This cover crop provides erosion control through storms and supplies both nitrogen and organic material to the soil when it is plowed under in spring. Most such crops themselves need a helper, known as a nurse crop, usually, a grain that is sown along with the legume. The grain provides weed control while the legume gets established, and helps protect the legume from both wind and the weight of snow.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.sanmarcosrecord.com/features/growth-gardening-companion-gardening

Pet-Friendly Indoor Gardening

Houseplants make a wonderful addition to our home’s décor and improve the indoor air quality.  Those with pets, however, may struggle with keeping plants safe from curious pets and the pets safe from indoor greenery.

The good news is you can grow an indoor garden even when you own pets. Yes, some do love to dig in the soil or even eat our favorite houseplants, but with proper plant selection and planning, you can keep your pets safe while enjoying an indoor garden.

Start by selecting plants that are safe for your pets.  Consult the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website for a list of pet-safe plants to grow and toxic plants you should avoid.  This will reduce your anxiety by helping you create an indoor green space safe for your pets.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/belmar-slash-lake-como/articles/pet-friendly-indoor-gardening-477c2881-e5be-4de5-bace-0397f405593c

Urban wasteland into flourishing vegetable garden

COIMBATORE: A piece of open space reserved (OSR) land near a busy residential area at Thudiyalur, which was overgrown with thorny bushes and stinking of garbage, is now producing organic vegetables, thanks to a city-based NGO.
Local residents, who used to avoid the place at any cost, now find a stroll through the vegetable garden refreshing.

NGO Helping Hearts had signed a memorandum of understanding with the city corporation to convert the 50-cent land at VKL Nagar into a vegetable garden one-and-a-half-year ago.

READ THE FULL STORY:  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/ngo-turns-urban-wasteland-into-flourishing-vegetable-garden/articleshow/68143208.cms

Grow Up to 90 Fruits and Vegetables in Your House With This Auto-Watering Indoor Garden

If you’ve always wanted to start your own herb or vegetable garden but don’t have the yard space or the “green thumb” to pull it off, there’s now another option. The OGarden Smart is an indoor gardening system that grows up to 90 plants at one time—20 of which are edible.

Strawberries, celery, kale, bok choy, green beans, cayenne pepper, green onion, and cherry tomatoes are just a few of the fruits and veggies the OGarden can grow. Up to 30 growing cups can be placed in a lower cabinet, where the seeds are allowed to germinate. Once they sprout, the plants can then be transferred to the rotating wheel up above, which holds up to 60 plants at a time. It takes about 30 to 40 days to harvest the produce, depending on the type of plant grown.

The system is self-watering and uses automatic LED lights to provide the right amount of sunlight, no matter what season it is. The only work that’s required is planting the seeds and refilling the water tank once a week.

LEARN MORE: http://mentalfloss.com/article/574691/grow-90-fruits-and-vegetables-your-house-auto-watering-indoor-garden