Tag Archives: gourd tunnel

It Takes Almost A Village

By Phyllis Odessey
I wasn’t sure it could be done.
Were we being too ambitious?
Was it to much to ask?
Could 21 volunteers of unknown skill build the following in less than 6 hours?
a rice paddy
a gourd tunnel
a corn crib
a melon trellis
6 raised beds

ADD
soil
mulch
8 ft. fence
around the entire garden?
YES! YES!  YES! YES! 
Goldman Sachs Community Teamwork volunteers built all of the above, creating our new garden.

I want to share a few photos from the day with you.
Starting with “fort knox”,our corn crib.
Why do we need a corn crib?
To keep a pest out, who keeps eating our corn.
I believe we have built the best mousetrap possible.

The rice paddy was built brick by brick, course by course.
A plastic liner added.
Next, volunteers added soil.
In the photo Eunyoung stomps the soil.  Next the propagation of 300 cups of  rice.

The gourd tunnel started with some posts in the ground.  The “tunnel” idea came from a similiar structure I saw in the UK.  Kids walk under the gourds, its a playspace and a growing structure.

Volunteers add the strapping and the “roof” boards.  In this photo, Goldman Sachs volunteers add the wire fencing for the vines to grow up.  It  is being stapled in place.

Planter boxes for the gourds to grow up and cover the tunnel were also built.
Amazing!

The melon trellis.

The western part of the garden is sloped. What could be built there?
A trellis which would work on uneven ground.
In this photo, volunteers add chicken wire which will allow the melon vine to cover the trellis .The raised beds are carried into place.  It was hard going. The beds are made of TREX, a dense recycled plastic material.  We went through all the battery packs we had for our 4 drills.  We use TREX because it’s a green material and unlike wood, kids can’t get splinters when leaning over the beds to plant.

It was getting late.  We started mulching.  3,000 sq. ft. is a huge area and requires  a lot of trips with wheelbarrows and buckets.

Another group worked on the fence, they finished before the day was over.

This is what can happen in a day… when you have  almost a  village

made up of dedicated, hard-working volunteers.

We thank all the volunteers from Goldman Sachs from coming out and making  this new space.  We will keep you posted on how its being used.

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In the Beginning…

By Phyllis Odessey

This is an update on the transformation of The Learning Garden.  Tomorrow we will be constructing  6 raised beds, a gourd tunnel, adding to our bitter melon trellis, creating the second rice paddy and fencing in the entire garden with volunteers from Community Team Works.

Pictured left is the beginning of the gourd tunnel, which will be 16 ft. long.  Kids from our Edible Education Program will be able to walk under the gourds and other flowers growing up the tunnel structure.
This new space is over 3,000 square feet and brings the total area of The Learning Garden to 15,000 sq. ft..  The pink paint is the outline for the raised beds.  The beds are far enough apart to provide access for kids and any disabled visitors.
The rice paddy (see photo below) proved the most challenging.  The ground is uneven in all parts of the garden but the first course of the rice paddy we wanted to be level.
James Burns, Nick Storrs, Anil Chandrakumar, Jean Hurkin-Torres and Fred Mark worked on the first brick course yesterday and  succeeded in leveling the ground below.
Besides  construction projects, we will be filling the beds with soil, planting new veg and adding mulch to all the areas where you see landscape fabric.

The second expansion of The Learning Garden in two years is a testament to the popularity of the program on Randall’s Island.   We now have a waiting list of teachers and students that want to participate.  We are making every effort to accommodate everyone.

Standing still  is not one of the characteristics of The Learning Garden staff.  We are constantly in motion.  The new section will feature a “cranberry bog and new system of growing vegetables in milk crates.  An innovative method of growing vegs   from Zach Pickens at Riverpark Farm.

“A journey of thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu
We are on the second step.

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