Learning Garden

Learning Garden – Propagation

The Learning Garden @ Bissel in the Propagation Area is a more than a garden. It is a community activity that engages local veterans, community residents and young gardeners that covers several garden areas and activities as an overall exposure to urban gardening and techniques.

·        GARDEN TOWERS – A unique gardening experience – using 5’ cylindrical, rotating towers to start and grow as many as 60 plants in one 4’ square area. We look forward to use of the towers for our Propagation Program. CITIZENS COMMITTEE AWARD

·        EARTH BOXES – This is another way to maximize space and water in the garden. We use it to demonstrate alternative ways to grow garden vegetable in more compact area. We also use Milk Box Gardens to demonstrate a similar technique.

·        MONARCH WAYSTATION – This will be a nationally certified area that grows milkweed and other native plants that insure habitat for monarch butterflies and other beneficial pollinators.

Sunflower Garden – Some folks don’t know that sunflowers were often cultivated as the “Forth Sister” in Native American cultivation. From native perennials to gigantic annuals to dwarf teddy bears, we’ll explore some of the varieties that make them garden favorites.
·        SQUARE FOOT GARDEN – Using Mel Bartholomew’s techniques, this garden explores how to maximize gardening in raised boxes. Using Mel’s proven methods including grid layouts, and enriched soil, this area looks to maximize vegetable yield in a small space.

·      THREE SISTERS – Corn, beans and squash. We may even throw a small fish (ok, fish emulsion) in the planting hole as fertilizer as Native Americans did. The Three Sister Garden gives us an opportunity to discuss basic agriculture and well as how plants and people can be Good Garden Neighbors.

·        Cucumber Garden – What’s a garden without cucumbers? We look to grow zucchini, summer AND winter squash, pumpkins and melons.

·        Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant – As the name suggests, this area emphasizes Tomato, Pepper & Eggplant; plants in the nightshade family. From beefsteak to cherries, the garden grows a ½ dozen types of tomatoes. They are accompanied by several varieties of peppers including habanero, poblano, banana and sweet and Italian, Japanese and white eggplants.

·        Herb Garden – Mostly culinary, but also some medicinal herbs grown to use and introduce gardeners to the herbs available to them on a grow your own basis. Gardeners will also learn to harvest, dry herbs and collect seeds.

·        Green Houses – This is the Propagation Area. Vegetables and flowers for the garden are started from seed in the 2 20’ X 30’ poly covered hoop houses. This area gives us a start on the growing season as well as an educational area where gardeners and kids can start their own plant projects. We are going to use the Garden Towers this year for seed starts.

·        Fruit Garden – The several apples and pear accompany the raspberry and blueberry bushes in the garden. We hope to add strawberries, and figs next year.

·        Community Greens – Greens and more greens. Representing the Brassica or Cabbage Family: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards.

·        Garlic Garden – Things garlic, allium and onion related!


·        HOLE-NESTING BEES – The garden includes a habitat for carpenter and leafcutter bees – Hole-Nesting Bees. CROWN BEES

·        Composting –  The garden includes a Master Composter, active composting, and in-season Compost Workshops.

·        Green Roof*  – There will be a demonstration Green Roof on one of our utility sheds where sedum will happily grow and bloom.

·        Solar Cube*  – We’ll use a Solar Cube to meet our occasional electrical needs.

·        Public School Outreach (PSO) – Beginning with PS 87, we will begin a public school outreach program to introduce kids to urban gardening. This connects to our Jr. Forester Program and the American Chestnuts.

·        Food Demo Area – OK, it’s the BBQ area, but we will be demoing healthy items fresh from the garden.

The Propagation Area is located at one end of the garden pathway at the intersection of Barnes and Bruner Avenues. Bissel currently operates 2 – 24x 20 hothouses. Monthly volunteer clean up and propagation events are scheduled throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. Garden members, friends of the gardens and NY Cares volunteers rigorously clear, weed-wack and organize the area. Volunteers are always welcome.


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