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Gardening and Composting

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 7 months ago

Gardening and Composting

 

One of the most exciting parts of living in the ICC is the opportunity to do whatever you want with your house and the surrounding land.  Many houses have taken advantage of this green space to plant flowers, fruits and vegetables.  Also, maintenance will pay for landscaping materials (including plants) up to a certain amount, as long as they are bought from a store with an existing ICC account (such as Lowe's).

"Landscaping should be done with the intent of maintaining, beautifying or improving the exterior of a house.  Houses may spend up to their allotted amount for each FW and again for SS term on landscaping from Minor Maintenance.  Escher is allotted $300.  Black Elk, Gregory, Jones, King, Luther, Owen, Truth, and Vail are each entitled to $150.  Lester, Minnie’s, Debs, Linder, Michigan, Nakamura, Osterweil, Ruths’, Rochdale and the ED-Center each are allotted $100.  Landscaping funds do not accrue over time."

 

http://icc.coop/maintenance/maint_funding.php

 

 

Vegetable Garden

 

The thought of a vegetable garden meshes so well with the ideals of the ICC as a whole.  Shared resources, cooperation, and communical benefits are all present in a well-kept garden.  Many houses - such as North Campus, Vail, and Black Elk have had sucessful gardens for years.  Others such as Truth are just getting started.  When starting or upkeeping a house garden, many considerations should be in mind.

 

  • Sunlight - Ann Arbor certainly has its share of trees, and these can hog sunlight in the spot you have designated for your garden.  Make note of how much sunlight different parts of your property lot gets during the day.  Some plants require only a few hours of sunlight a day, while others need as much as they can get.
  • Soil - If the spot you like for your garden has been well-trafficed, or used as a gravel driveway recently, the ground may not be very suitable for growing.  Even if the area you were planning on using was previously a lawn, overgrown grass can be difficult to till.  If no suitable soil is found nearby, a raised bed garden may be more suitable.
  • Water - Because we cannot always depend on rain, gardens should be within reach of garden hoses (or better yet, within reach of rain barrels.)  It is also recommended to plant at least 15 ft from the nearest tree, as their roots can suck a lot of water during the day.
  • Plants - When selecting what to plant, be sure to consult a local nursery or website to see what is suitable given your garden location and provided sunlight. 
  • Harvest - Be sure to plan your garden so your harvest will yield all summer long, and not provide too much food in one week.

 

The considerations can seem overwhelming, however keep in mind these plants are very resiliant and should be able to overcome a few obstacles.  Just be sure to consult your nursery or website and have fun!

 

Flower Garden

 

Flower gardens are a great way to make your house stand out against others on the block.  The use of perennial flowers, bushes and shrubs are particularly advantageous in the ICC due to their low upkeep.  Wood chips, gardening fabric, and stone can be used to prevent weeds from growing in-between plants.  Nurseries should be able to help in the selection and design of your flower garden, or you can check this website or others.

 

Herb Garden

 

If your house has limited land, work hours, or just wish to start on a small scale, and herb garden could be an excellent choice.  Herbs can be planted outside, or indoors in pots for conveinience and year-round harvest.  Again, consult your nursery or website to determine which setup is best for your house.

 

Composting

 

A great way to both reduce your trash output and to generate quality soil for your garden.  There is a wealth of information on how to compost, available both on the internet and at the ICC office.  However, for simplicity's sake, here is a basic guide.

 

  1. Designate a location for your compost site.  It should be close to your garden for ease of use, and far enough away from the house or front porch in case of bad odors.
  2. Construct a bin.  This can be as simple as a wire fence forming a circle, or as eleborate as a multi-chamered box.  Many resources are available here and other websites.
  3. Start saving compost.  Anything organic and free of protein can be composted.  Vegetable oil, eggshells, potato peels, banana peels, apple cores, etc. are all acceptable.  Fat, egg yolks, and meat are not.
  4. Cover.  This can be done with wire mesh in the bin design, or simply with leaves in a heap design.
  5. Turn.  Use a pitchfork to turn the pile once a week or so.
  6. Collect.  Once the pile has been converted into a soily-type material, it can be used in your garden.

 

Keep in mind adding more food-scraps will slow the time it takes to be able to use your compost.  If you wish to use your compost this season but still have more to add, start a second pile or use a multi-chamered system.

 

 

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