First Time Farming At Bissel Gardens

The Oldest Community Garden in the Northeast Bronx

by Genesis MD & Taja D.  May 2018

Bissel Gardens is a blissful urban spot in the Bronx where life flourishes and the ambiance is welcoming. The Garden Manager, Charles Vasser leads the gardeners with a firm but gentle hand as they care for an array of plants. This beautiful garden grows pepper, eggplant, watermelon, onion, cabbage, anise, basil, other herbs and plants that attract butterflies.

“The Bissel Veterans Learning Garden welcomes volunteers to come and help as it is a humbling, delightful experience. I highly recommend Bissel to anyone who wants to experience cradling and guiding life into blossoming.” – Taja D

Tucked neatly away at the end of Bissel Avenue is where we found this peaceful urban garden. Greeted by Delores Bryant aka the lovely “Ms. Pepper” (known for her peppers and tomatoes, of course), she immediately gave us “the tour” where we learned about future projects for Butterflies, plot allocations and the location of tools and supplies..

Most excitingly, I finally got the opportunity to see the new Garden Towers and find out how they work. After taking in the layout, it was hands-on time! Starting with the bed dedicated to herbs, we began by adding compost and planting anise and tiny leaf basil, but when a flat of herbs and vegetables starts arrived, transplanting began, all the while being given valuable knowledge about growing, soil health, seasonal growing and seeds by everyone there.

Despite having a notebook there was no time to take notes (I would have done more note taking than planting) because there was so much information to absorb. In the end, on our first day at gardening, we stayed for about 4 hours and attempted to help and plant as much as possible, We got plenty dirty and enjoyed every minute.

Normally it would be practically impossible to get us to the Bronx but after hearing more about this urban oasis from Charles Vasser at the Risse Community Garden Intro to Beekeeping, we had to take the journey, We are glad we did. We will be sharing our journey as we learn, plant and help to complete other projects in the near future, so stay tuned to see more gardening progress at the Bissel Veterans Learning Garden in the north Bronx.

To volunteer or visit contact Chuck Vasser

Check out more: Prodigy House Journey

The Prodigy House Project
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Bissel Newsletter 01 PDF


Tomato Pruning

Ms. Pepper’s latest post in The Tomato Diaries”.

Community Greens

The Tomato Diaries

Most plants will require some pruning during the growing season. A plant that’s pruned of excess growth is more likely to direct its energies to producing flowers and fruit more quickly, and the results will usually be larger than otherwise. Furthermore, the leaves of a pruned and supported plant dry faster, so they’re less susceptible to pathogens like bacteria and fungus. The leaves also tend to be denser, which protect fruit more effectively. This is especially true for tomatoes.

Prune only when the foliage is dry; that is, avoid pruning early in the morning when plants have dew, or after rainfall. In particular, check for discolored and damaged or diseased stems and leaves; prune out the unhealthy growth, and tend to any pests you discover immediately. Always prune flush with the stem, if possible. For tomatoes, look for the stems that grow between the main stem and another…

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