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Hugelkultur Organic Community Garden Sprayed

 
Posts: 26
Location: Amory, MS
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I have been the organic garden coordinator for our local community garden for 3 years.  Recently,  the traditional, "chemical", garden coordinator received complaints from the city and neighbors because the grass was too high in our area.  This coordinator got with the city and they sprayed roundup or some other weed killer on the organic section a couple weeks ago.

We have been working on this organic section for 3 years and granted, most people fall out in the heat of Mississippi summers, but we had built an impressive Hugelkultur mound system in a 40'×60' area.  The entire organic section is about 200'×200'.

Question, Can we remediate the area or should we just abandon it?  I have a fig tree, apple tree, herbs, comfrey, all are showing signs of being poisoned.  Any help is appreciated.
 
steward
Posts: 1390
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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I am really sorry to hear about that, Chris. Actually, I am flabbergasted that they would do that without so much as a "hey, we're gonna wipe out your organic crap unless you clean it up." Not that it really makes a difference at this point. The only thing I can think of to do would be to wash down everything with a lot of water, maybe mixed in with some organic soap. But a lot of water for sure. See what survives and move it away. I don't think that site is going to be good for much for a long while. Better to start in some place that understands the process you are using.
 
Chris Smaglick
Posts: 26
Location: Amory, MS
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Thanks for the response Bill, exactly what I thought.  I've been in this city 12 years and all ventures but two have been torn down or poisoned.
 
Chris Smaglick
Posts: 26
Location: Amory, MS
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Sad really,  to see the potential and so many hours in building a great hugelkultur example only to see it killed.  I'm am partly responsible for my inactivity over the last year, though I continued to haul mulch to the site and layout walking paths with cardboard and covering. I'm resigned to just work on my homestead at this point, shotgun in hand for any sprayers or city officials.
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I'm resigned to just work on my homestead at this point...


As nice as it is to get involved in community projects, when the community begins working against you, I feel that it is time to move on to things they cannot undo.  You tried.  But, if they cannot understand your goals, it is wiser to devote your resources where they will endure.
 
gardener
Posts: 6349
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Chris Smaglick wrote:I have been the organic garden coordinator for our local community garden for 3 years.  Recently,  the traditional, "chemical", garden coordinator received complaints from the city and neighbors because the grass was too high in our area.  This coordinator got with the city and they sprayed roundup or some other weed killer on the organic section a couple weeks ago.

We have been working on this organic section for 3 years and granted, most people fall out in the heat of Mississippi summers, but we had built an impressive Hugelkultur mound system in a 40'×60' area.  The entire organic section is about 200'×200'.

Question, Can we remediate the area or should we just abandon it?  I have a fig tree, apple tree, herbs, comfrey, all are showing signs of being poisoned.  Any help is appreciated.



First I would talk to a lawyer!

You can remediate the area (not fast but rather quickly) with mycorrhizal fungi and oyster spawn, The two together will do wonders quite quickly (should be testing mostly clear in two years.

The other thing to do is find a space they will not be able to poison. Get some Organic signage up too, that will hopefully make them think before they spray.
Going to City Planning meetings, City Council meetings and having dialogs with both about the need for community gardens that provide healthy food for all that work the garden is usually a good thing too.
Detroit, NYC, Chicago are all cities that have jumped on this bandwagon over the past 5-10 years. If you can show the need and provide the means (people power and seeds) then they should be willing to at least not be a hindrance.
 
Chris Smaglick
Posts: 26
Location: Amory, MS
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Thanks for the responses and input.  We have no legal recourse as the property is privately owned by a benefactor that has actually been against my hugel mounds, trees, etc, from the start.  The city provides liability insurance for the property and assistsee in the water bill.  I believe I will focus efforts at the homestead, look for some country property and just pull out of the community effort.  I have tried too many years in this city and it is definitely a losing battle.  Another town, different open minded permits folks, the story would be one of success not death to our efforts.

The city or whoever will definitely have a task in tearing down the huge hugelkultur mounds.   This garden was named the tetrad... one massive 20' circular mound in the center and four flanking mounds at the corners, arched mounds in between. .. to commemorate the four blood moons and solar eclipse. It was an awesome, extremely productive site.

Thanks guys, gals,  just knocked down, reinvigorated to the next focus.
 
Posts: 115
Location: Pennsylvania, Dauphin County
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Your community is the one that you build and people build with you.  Not one that tolerates and takes from you.

You will soon be in a happier community that will be home.  I am sorry the government cares not but I do appreciate that you tried and cared.

So, I sincerely thank you for our efforts.  Perhaps it helped inspire others in their ideas for how they manage their yards and gardens.  It may be all baby steps but steps non the less.  I know it got me to write this.
 
master pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Chris Smaglick wrote:the property is privately owned by a benefactor that has actually been against my hugel mounds, trees, etc, from the start.



I think this is important.  I think some of these concepts and practices of permaculture, especially hugelkultur, can be challenging even for people who are in favor of the idea of them.  
 
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