Isak took these pictures of the garden. The purple flowers on the Mohawk Vermont beans. These beans are called half runners. The have both a bush and pole habit. They are just starting their run up the fence. The beans will have red striped pods. Isak got a good shot of the majestic Lenape blues and our freshly mulched pathway. Squash is in the middle. Wildflowers on the back wall. The bee balm is in bloom. According to Isak the flowers are peppery and good in salad. Seneca sunflowers along the north gate.
People are starting to notice the garden and are enjoying it.
Isak and I tried transplanting some squash today. We'll see if they'll take. They got a nice ride down to E 91st on the bike. Unfortunately bags of mulch are too heavy for a bike. Ted, a photographer for Courier Life newspaper, came to take pictures of the corn today. He was nice enough to drive me to the garden shop to pick up some bags of mulch for the pathway.
Today I rode out to Brooklyn College to drop a soil sample from the Canarsie garden off at the soil testing service in the Geology Department. We'll see if we can get to the bottom of why the corn had such a tough time germinating. It's going to be tested for everything - organic content, heavy metals, pH and more. I'm really looking forward to the results. Seeing I was already more than halfway to Canarsie I decided to swing by the garden and check on the Lenape blues. And I'm happy to report that they look great! Hardly a trace of purple can be seen on their leaves. No one has been knocked over or devoured. I am feeling hopeful again. Rode back to Carroll Gardens under the hot Brooklyn sun. 88 degrees today and humid. After the ride I treated myself to an ice cold beer.
Rode down to Canarsie with Isak and his friend Jesse to plant some beans. When we arrived the kids were lined up along the garden to cheer on the principal who was doing laps on his bike! Seedlings still look ok. No signs of distress. The few squash plants that have poked up now have three leaves.
I practiced giving my "bike tour" from Boerum Hill to Canarsie with Janet. Escorted by the sound distinct sound of vuvuzelas coming from houses, bars and restaurants along the way (Brazil v Ivory Coast). As part of my tour we rode by Magguy's house (the "corn house" on E 85th). Last year her yard was full of corn, which I loved. A couple months ago I rode by and she was out clearing her yard. She told me she wasn't if she wanted to plant corn again. Looks like she decided to go for it. Her corn looks great. I had offered to give her native squash seeds for her garden but she decided to companion plant with tomatoes.
The project is nearly a month old and until now there have been no incidents with the corn. The corn patch has been respected beyond my expectations even. However Sunday morning I found a felled corn stalk. It looked like a clean cut. It could have been an accident. I also found two cigarette butts put out IN the garden. Another first. Finally, that newspaper dispenser has become a garbage can right next to the patch. A real eyesore. I tried to move it but it's too heavy. I'm going to call 311 to see if they can do something about it.
At 7:15 am the last of the Lenape Blues were placed in a car service trunk in Carroll Gardens. The car then proceeded to speed and weave down the Brooklyn coastline. Why didn't I just hold them on my lap for the ride down to Canarsie? It must be because I just love to feel anxious about things. When we popped the trunk on E 91st street I expected to see them flipped over and tossed about. But they were fine. Isak showed up at 8am and we gingerly eased the blue beauties into the new mounds. Today we have 32 Lenape Blues planted on their historical planting grounds. It was a great day. Of course we can't catch a total break because it was also windy as hell at the garden. The wind wasted no time flattening our new seedlings to the ground. We put up some burlap around the edge of the garden as an added buffer. I affixed a new makeshift sign (none of the laminated signs lasted). The Canarsee Planting land is up and running again. I even got a few compliments from people passing by the garden. The new seedlings will need at least a week to adjust and hopefully will get past any transplant shock. Stay tuned to see how they fare.
These Lenape beauties are going in the ground tomorrow. I really hope they will survive the transplant shock. This picture was taken yesterday and all seedlings were nice and green. This morning there was a purple tinge to their leaves. Are they stressed? I definitely am. This is my last shot at an authentic Lenape garden on the historic planting grounds. Stay tuned.
Even though the garden is Canarsie isn't going exactly as planned, I love riding my bike down to visit it. I'm still working on my bike map that will take a rider from one garden to the other. The cool thing is that part of the route I take -- Bedford Ave to Clarendon and Clarendon into Canarsie -- roughly follows two documented Indian pathways. Stay tuned for more on the map.
A kindergarden class from PS 261 came by to help plant the beans. We planted Indian Hannah, also known as Lenape cutshort beans. These are rare heirloom beans from the Lenape/Deleware nation. The Lenape Indians were the original inhabitants of this are of New York.
It seems that I got it all wrong. I thought the garden at Smith and Bergen was going to be the problematic one. I assumed because it was so exposed on such a busy corner that it would be vandalized. In fact it's been largely respected and embraced. On the other hand I imagined that in Canarsie the plot on East 91st street would grow without a hitch. I thought it would enliven the residential block--engaging the neighbors, passerbys, as well as the kids from PS 115, their families and teachers. And perhaps it would, if the corn would grow! I haven't given up hope yet but for sure things are not going as planned on East 91st and I don't know if it's due to bad luck, my stupidity, or the hubris of the project. Lenape corn on historical Lenape planting lands! Who am I?
The three mounds of Lenape Blues are still hanging in there. I raked in some more compost in preparation for the transplants (I'm thinking they'll go in the week of June 21st, hopefully).
Another sunny day today down at the Smith and Bergen plot. There was talk of a tornado and thunderstorms this week, but nothing panned out. Thank goodness for our amazing partner up the street at 51 Bergen -- the Invisible Dog Art Center. They have generously helped us with the water for the garden which is keeping those corn stalks and leaves looking good. Check out all the cool stuff they have going on this month at: http://theinvisibledog.org/
Isak drove us to Canarsie (again). I don't drive and this project can't be done without using a car sometimes. We picked up some peat moss and more organic compost. I'm hoping if we can improve the soil a bit then the corn that has popped up and the transplants I've got going at home will do ok.
There are three "protected" mounds with corn growing. Our original Lenape Blues.
We also picked up some mulch for the pathways and planted some squash.