Community Garden @ NPC
What is the Community Garden at NPC?
The Community Garden at NPC (“CGN”) exists to carry out God’s plan by restoring nature on the church grounds, fostering community among and between gardeners and NPC’s neighbors, and providing fresh fruits and vegetables to area residents in need. The CGN seeks to increase sustainability and health by educating gardeners on organic gardening, sustainability best practices, and the health benefits of a diet rich in locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Do I have to attend Nehemiah Project Church to have a plot?
The CGN welcomes all gardeners regardless of faith or affiliation. We hope as you garden with us you will have the common interest in creation care, sustainability, and giving back to the Avon community.
How do I reserve a plot?
In order to reserve a plot you must submit a filled out application and plot fee. The number of plots available will determine the number of applicants accepted. The coordinator will contact you with confirmation that you have a plot and your plot number. If you have requested additional spaces, these will be assigned as second tier. Priority given to initial plots, if there are excess plots after the first wave of applicants then additional plots can be assigned per person.
Can I pick my plot?
Plots will initially be assigned by a lottery system; however, when renewing membership the following year, you may request the same plot.
Is the Community Garden at NPC organic?
Yes. Much of the CGN’s funding is based on our adoption of organic gardening principles. As such, the application of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and/or fertilizers is prohibited in the garden.
What tools are provided? What must I do myself?
Prior to the opening of our initial growing season, we have arranged for plots to be plowed into predetermined, uniform sizes. As the garden grows and develops, we may create raised beds; however, plots are currently at ground height. A limited number of tools, hoses and equipment will be available for use. If you have quality tools or other personal belongings, we recommend you take those home with you to ensure their security.
Can I bring my kids to help me garden?
We welcome the involvement of children. What better way for them to learn than being actively involved in planting and watch the full circle of growth! Always keep an eye on them as some tools can be dangerous in the untrained hand. Also teach them to only eat out of your garden plot.
What does this commitment look like for me? How often must I garden?
A garden needs to be tended at least once a week. If you do need help (e.g., during vacation or illness), ask another gardener to assist with caring for your plot. If you realize that the garden is too much of a time commitment, inform the coordinator so they can help you plan accordingly.
What is the growing season?
Plots will be open to gardeners from March 1 to October 31. At the end of the growing season, each plot should be cleared and returned to its natural state as it existed prior to the start of the growing season.
Are there educational opportunities?
Yes. CGN will host classes guest speakers to educate gardeners on a range of topics, including organic gardening and sustainability.
Do we give back to the community?
The CGN is currently working to coordinate the donation of fresh produce to local organizations providing for those in need.
What does the plot fee cover?
The plot fee covers your access to a garden plot, community garden tools, compost facilities, and water. It does not cover registration fees for educational seminars.
Can I participate in gardening even if I don’t want my own plot?
Yes! We will have some “public” plots with the produce going to Kingsway Care Center. These will need to be weeded, watered, harvested, etc and we welcome volunteers for that.
The National Organic Standards Board defines organic gardening as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”
Organic gardening emphasizes working with nature, soil building, preventing problems before they occur, and using only natural, non-toxic or minimally toxic substances if intervention is required.
The best fertilizer money can buy is made in our gardens. Organic compost is truly a revitalizing and magical gardening mixture. It provides nitorgen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as other elements (calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and micronutrients). Furthermore, compost aerates soil, breaks up clay, binds together sand, improves drainage, prevents erosion, neutralizes toxins, holds precious mositure, releases essential nutrients, and feeds the microbiotic life of the soil. No chemical or additive comes close to providing so many benefits.
Below are recommended fertilizers (followed by N-nitrogen, P-phosphorus, or K-potassium representing the three major plant nturients provided by each fertilizer) that may be used, followed by a list of prohibited fertilizers.
- compost from the garden (N, P, K)
- animal manures (ideally composted or aged before use)(N)
- alfalfa meal (N)
- blood meal (N)
- hoof and horn meal (N)
- kelp or seaweed (liquid or powder)(N)
- fish emulsion (N, P)
- rock phosphate (P)
- soft phosphate (colloidal)(P)
- bone meal (P)
- wood ashes (K)
- granite or feldspar dust (K)
- greensand (K)
- synthetic fertilizers of any kind (e.g. Miracle Gro)
- any formulations containing sewage sludge (e.g. Milorganite)
- DAP and MAP (ammonium phosphates)
- Chilean nitrate
- superphosphate (acidulated phosphates)
- Chilean nitrate of potash (15-0-14)
- Muriate of potash, KCl (0-0-60)
- charcoal ashes (from BBQ, stove, etc.)
- cigarette ashes
Organic methods promote a healthy ecosystem where birds, insects, plants, microorganisms, and people all reach a natural balance that is beneficial for all. The first line of pest control for the organic grower should be a careful evaluation and maximization of the soil and nutrients for a plant. Good compost and loose, rich soil are often the best solutions for pests. Make sure your plants receive enough water and sunlight, you choose plants that grow well in this part of the world, you utilize companion plantings and you rotate your crops. All of these considerations can help prevent insect problems.
Below are recommended and not recommended (but permitted, with caution) pest controls that may be used when there are still problems despite trying the methods listed above, followed by prohibited pest control substances.
- beneficial insects (ladybugs, praying mantids, trichogramma wasps, lacewings, tachinid and syrphid flies, etc.)
- traps (pheromone, sticky, water, food, etc.)
- row covers
- spraying with garlic, onion or vegetable oil, and pepper sprays
- insecticidal soaps (preferably biodegradable soap solutions)
- BT (bacillus thuringiensis)
- diatomaceous earth
- bicarbonates (sodium bicarbonate-baking soda, and potassium bicarbonate)
- isopropyl alcohol
- hydrogen peroxide
- synthetic pesticides, insecticides or fungicides of any kind (Bug B Gon, Captan, Diazinon, Insectagon, Kelthane, Lindane, malathion, Permethrin, Sevin, Thuricide, etc.)
- nicotine in any form
- formulations containing copper (e.g. Bordeaux Mix)
- Pyrethroids (synthetic pyrethrum)
Synthetic herbicides of any kind are prohibited (Preen ‘n Green, Roundup, Weed-B-Gon, etc.)