Archive for May, 2010

May 25, 2010

Using your Cover Crop

It’s spring, and your cover crop has grown! What now? All you do is…


Do a quick turn of the wrist

Plop the upturned cover crop back into the hole where you dug

And give the soil a good shovel hacking to ensure that grasses don’t come back during your growing season.

Now that nutrients in the soil are fixed, beds are ready to go!

May 19, 2010

Organic school gardens positively impact youth

A new study shows the danger of pesticides in our kids food:

“Exposure to pesticides used on common kid-friendly foods — including frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries and celery — appears to boost the chances that children will be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, new research shows.” (MSNBC)

This kind of news grants fresh urgency to the school garden movement. SCLT’s after-school education programs, and other similar programs established or starting across America, empower kids about food through teaching them a lifelong skill – organic food growing practices.

Help your kids: buy (or grow!) organic foods to keep them safe!

May 18, 2010

18th Annual Plant Sale

A note from Rich:

Thanks to all the people who came out to support SCLT’s 18th Annual Plant Sale. It was a great weekend.

I hope your City Farm plants thrive this growing season.

All photos courtesy of Jori Ketten

May 13, 2010

Spring Workshop: Planning and Planting Your Garden

It’s Springtime and everyone is excited to get started with growing food. SCLT, the Community Garden Network, and dozens of other organizations are working together this year to make sure that gardeners of all experience levels have some guidance to make this the most productive growing season yet! You’ll find info about all of the workshops at

The Beginning Grower Series is a three-part workshop series to help new gardeners get started. Leo Pollock and Erika Rumbley, assisted by SCLT’s new Gardener Trainers, trained two dozen Providence residents from every neighborhood of the city on Saturday, May 1 at Davey Lopes Community Garden.

The Planning and Planting workshop attendees learned about the importance of healthy soil and compost, the difference between growing from seeds or transplants, and the best time to water your garden. Other topics, like which plants grow best together (carrots and tomatoes like each other, and nasturtiums help most other vegetable plants).

SCLT’s Gardeer Trainers Pasjib and James of Somerset Community Garden, and Jen of Davis Park Community Garden were on hand to offer some of their experience as gardeners to workshop attendees. The Trainers are a part of SCLT’s new “Train-the-Trainer” program, an initiative that will improve the leadership and teaching skills of experienced gardeners to share their expertise with fellow gardeners.  In the coming months, these Trainers will lead workshops on their own at other community gardeners!

Thanks to everyone who attended. Be on the lookout for more exciting workshops at!

May 12, 2010

La Tomate

Tomate, Tomaattia, Tomaat, Tomaten, Pomodoro, עגבניה, टमाटर, طماطم, 西红柿

Old Growth Forest


No matter how you translate it, everyone knows tomato – but how about all fifty+ varieties featured at the Plant Sale? Early peeks into City Farm’s high octane compound reveal hints that the tomato is this year’s centerfold.

After 2009’s blight killed off all of City Farm’s tomatoes mid-season, the sun-like fruit deserves some extra praise and attention.

So here’s to all the Paul Robinson’s, New Yorkers, Mortgage Lifters, Black Krims, Pales Perfect Purples and many others you’ll see this Saturday at the start of

City Farm’s 18th Annual Plant Sale

May 12, 2010

Insider Tips From the Plant Sale Committee

We’re so excited to have all of you back at City Farm for the 18th Annual Plant Sale. Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of this beloved event.

1.    Sign up for membership before the Plant Sale!
Visit the Southside Community Land Trust Website ( to become a member online. It’s easy! Just use the online donation form and make sure you click “Membership” under the gift designation. As long as you sign up by Friday, May 14th at 12pm (noon), your name will be on our SCLT member list. You’ll receive a 10% discount and you’ll be able to buy plants during the member preview hour, on Saturday from 9am – 10am.
(You can also sign up to become a member at the Plant Sale!)
2.    Plan your Garden!
Think about the spaces you have to plant (backyard, community garden, or window box?) and whether those spots get sun or shade. Do you want to grow certain kinds of vegetables? Do you want to purchase annuals or perennials? If you have a plan, you’ll have a better idea of which plants you want to buy.
3.    Carpool with your neighbors!
On street parking is available in the blocks surrounding City Farm, but there’s a good chance that parking will be limited on Saturday morning. Carpooling with friends and neighbors is environmentally friendly, and will help us cut down on car congestion in the neighborhood. Also, please be mindful not to park in residential driveways or block driveways.
4.   Bring your own boxes!
SCLT’s Plant Sale committee has been working hard to make sure that there are plenty of boxes for Plant Sale customers to carry around their plant starts as they shop. Help us out by bringing a box of your own!
5.    Chat with our Plant Experts!
Over a dozen experienced gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions about perennials, annuals, fruit and veggies, and herb plant starts.
6.    Looking for a more mellow day at the Plant Sale? Visit City Farm on Sunday, May 16th!
The City Farm team has cultivated 18,000 healthy, happy plant starts since February. While the selection might be more limited on Sunday, there will still be a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, annuals, and perennials for you to choose from.

Thank you for your support. The Plant Sale customers make our community programs possible! With your help, SCLT is able to do some pretty amazing things every year:
•    250 local families grow food at one of our 13 community gardens
•    1,000+ youth participate in fun, hands-on environmental and agricultural education throughout the year
•    SCLT and its community partners provide resources, education, and training through food growing workshops, gardener mentoring, and seasonal celebrations.

May 10, 2010

What’s going to live in these Planters?

get ready… the answer revealed, May 15…

May 7, 2010

Two Workshops on May 8th! Learn about Fruit Trees and Water Conservation

As a part of the Plant Providence initiative, two workshops are being offered this weekend:

Fruit Trees: Growing and Maintaining with Liz Downing from the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program

Saturday, May 8th at 10am

City Farm, West Clifford and Dudley Street, Providence

Saving Water in the Garden Workshop with Professor Harold Ward of Brown University

Saturday, May 8th at 10am

Urban Environmental Lab, 135 Angell Street, Providence

Both are FREE and open to the public!

May 6, 2010

Janes Street Community Garden’s First Workday

The area surrounding Rhode Island’s Women’s and Infants Hospital houses a few usual suspects of food insecurity: fast food joints at every corner and not a vegetable in sight. At least, not a vegetable in sight yet.

After May 12th, a little known corner in the Southside will welcome another community garden to its ranks: Janes Street. Off of Alphonso, and across from the Wendy’s, this dead-end haven with Narragansett Bay views is tranquil enough to feel more “country vacation” than urban food producer.

In preparation for its first growing season, Janes Street had a major workday April 24: volunteers of all ages learned how to divide garden beds and lay mulch, brandishing power tools and measuring tape. Rebar was unearthed and hacked away; stakes drilled to secure wood-lined paths; weeds were pulled and laughs were had. Liza Sutton, SCLT Community Gardens Coordinator, could hardly contain her excitement (“beautiful!” “that looks great!” “yaaay!”), and Erika Rumbley, SCLT Community Gardens Network Coordinator, mediated volunteers who were so enthusiastic about the tasks at hand, they’d occasionally forget to share.

There was even a children’s corner, where playing in the dirt with spades and hand rakes provided hours of entertainment as parents carried out tasks of higher industry.

The workday was a huge success thanks to support from over thirty volunteers representing the International Institute, African Alliance, and Janes Street neighbors.

Many students of the International Institute were farmers in their country of origin, and received garden plots for the 2010 season through SCLT. The African Alliance currently has a successful community garden that is part of SCLT’s Community Gardens Network. Five families who live within a short walking distance of Janes Street will be gardening there this season. We’re thrilled!

May 6, 2010

Neighborhood Tree Planting!

On April 24, neighbors gathered to plant fruit trees in the Locust Grove Cemetery, which included nine Bartlett Pear and Anjou Pear trees, and one Black Locust “Purple Robe” tree. This is the first fruit tree planting at a city park that Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP) has sponsored as part of the Neighborhood Street Tree Award program.

“Using city parks as orchard space is a beneficial collaboration for all involved,“ says Liz Downing, Director of the Providence Neighborhood Planting Project. “Trees in the city improve air quality, moderate temperatures, and improve public health. The newly planted trees at the Locust Grove Cemetery will take it a step further by providing healthy fruit to neighborhood residents.”

Providence City Councilman Miguel Luna is enthusiastic that the project will beautify the park and the neighborhood.

“The new Locust Grove orchard is the first of many other improvements–including a new fence and lighting–that are in the works to transform our neighborhood’s park into a safe, welcoming, and beautiful space where people can enjoy each other and nature,” says Councilman Luna.

Other cities have seen success with similar public orchard projects. Philadelphia currently has 17 public orchards at parks around the city. Organizers of the Locust Grove Cemetery project hope the will be many more public orchards planted in the City of Providence.

“We feel it is important for the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program to look beyond street tree planting, and participate in the growing urban agriculture movement,” says Doug Still, City Forester with the Providence Parks and Recreation Department.  “There are underutilized green spaces around the city that are ideal for planting apple, pear and cherry trees – if local constituents agree to care for them.

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