Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Spring

I’ve just begun to explore edible and medicinal plants beyond the usual herbs and will include them in Bissel Gardens in the future.

Mark All My Words

by Mark Miles

I’ve been fascinated with plants since I was a child. From my earliest memories, I can recall exploring in the woods, traipsing through undergrowth, building forts with sticks and twigs, admiring wildflowers, and feeling a profound sense of peace and tranquility in the presence of plants. They’ve always been a part of my life to one degree or another, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate their role not only in my own life but in human society in general.

One aspect of my appreciation has increased recently, and that is the health benefits of plants. I’ve discussed in a prior article (which you can read here) how I’ve dealt with prediabetes, obesity, and progressive cognitive decline after a period of poor diet in my twenties. Recently I’ve been beset with health issues relating to nascent food allergies, circulatory inflammation, and perforation of the…

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BBQ Area-Removing Mugwort

by Genesis MD & Taja D. – May 18, 2018

Today Paul and I cleared quite a large area of weeds in the Bissel Veterans Gardens Barbeque Area. While getting a lesson from Paul Kittas about garden weeds we removed Mugwort, Wild scallions, Sticky weed (annoying!) and Dandelions. Now the area is cleared & ready for grilling!

Mugwort: Also known as Artemisia Vulgaris, often grows in compacted soil and grows extremely quickly. It can be identified by its furry light green stem, however, when in its mature stages, the stem is less furry and has more of a purple-ish hue. Commonly found on the Eastern coast of North America, certain types of Mugwort are edible and high in vitamins.

Makin’ Berry Moves – Transplanting 101

Charles, I transplanted a large raspberry bush because the roots had overgrown its pot. We mixed compost and vermiculite in the new container about eight inches deep. We placed the plant on the soil and then buried the roots of the plant so that it sat evenly. It was a fairly large plant so the amount of soil was proportionate to its size. I have learned that a potted plant will, sooner or later, have to be transplanted later, so that the plants roots have space.

Prodigy Corner – Growth Developments
After 3 weeks of Mother nature’s tears, what started as a well seeded GardenTower, has developed beautifully into plenty curly lettuce. Thanks Earth! Time and time again we have a great and incredibly informational time learning, hands on, what plants we should avoid and how to use others.

Prodigy House Journals

Learning To Grow At Bissel Gardens

The latest Prodigy House Project post to Bissel Gardens by Genesis MD & Taja D. Read and enjoy their gardening adventures.

Community Greens

The Oldest Community Garden in the North Bronx
by Genesis MD & Taja D.  May 2018

Starting Seeds
The Earth is ripe after all of this rain and I am told that this is the best time to grow. As I become more interested in the weeds and trees that grow in the city it is impossible to ignore the amount of weeds that have quadrupled in volume and size over these days of sky tears.  Today we were given a lesson on Starting Seeds by Delores Bryant aka the lovely “Ms. Pepper”.

Seeds can be planted into the soil directly or they can be started in seedling trays. We used a 1 to 1 blend of compost and vermiculite as potting soil.  Vermiculite is used to soak up and store water. After mixing the two together in a wheelbarrow, we filled 6 seeding trays.

Organizing & Planting

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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
New York

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