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Open house at community garden scheduled for Saturday

By Howard B. Owens

City residents are invited to an open house at the Community Garden from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, 10 MacAruthur Drive (behind the Batavia Youth Center, the former wading pool).

Residents can meet the garden staff and learn about square-foot gardening, which provides a way for people looking for locally, grown fresh fruits and vegetables to grow their own in a way that is easier than digging up a plot of land.

There are more than two dozen beds available for residents to rent and applications can be obtained by calling the Youth Bureau at (585) 345-6420. Prices range from $15 for a 4'x4' plot up to $35 for the one 4' x 12' plot.

Plants that might be grown include tomato, green peppers, winter squash, eggplant, cucumber, green beans, basil, parsley and beets.

A gardner could wind up with more than 50 pounds of produce out of a 4' x 4' box.

The gardner provides the seeds or sprouts, waters and cares for his or her own box and brings his or her own tools.

Pictured: Master Gardner Bob Gray.

Bea McManis

Bob Gray and I introduced the concept of square feet gardening for seniors a few years ago. It requires beds that are elevated so people in wheel chairs or using walkers can work on them. We did have a few hand made, the commercial beds were far too expensive. A 3 foot square can support 3 tomato plants, 3 pepper plants, and 3 snap bean plants, or any combination the gardener prefers. It is a cost effective concept. More important, it stimulates the creatve juices. Planning the bed is half the fun. I wish the community garddn could offer plots for those who are beyond the bend and stretch age.

May 5, 2014, 7:50pm Permalink
Kyle Couchman

Follow the traditional model set before us by the Iroquois. squash, beans and corn can all be planted together for a very large yield from a small space, and they all support each other well. Especially since they are native to the area.

May 6, 2014, 1:27am Permalink
Cory Hawley

Corn is not native to the area. Central & South America. I don't believe any othese are native to our area. Naturalized would be more like it.

May 6, 2014, 12:12pm Permalink
Kyle Couchman

Hmmm well it as native to the area as the Iroquois were there Cory maybe you should brush up on your history a bit.

The Iroquois are a mix of horticulturalists, farmers, fishers, gatherers and hunters, though their main diet traditionally has come from farming. The main crops they cultivated are corn, beans and squash, which were called the three sisters and are considered special gifts from the Creator. These crops are grown strategically. The cornstalks grow, the bean plants climb the stalks, and the squash grow beneath, inhibiting weeds and keeping the soil moist under the shade of their broad leaves. In this combination, the soil remained fertile for several decades. The food was stored during the winter, and it lasted for two to three years. When the soil eventually lost its fertility, the Haudenosaunee migrated.

Gathering is the traditional job of the women and children. Wild roots, greens, berries and nuts were gathered in the summer. During spring, sap is tapped from the maple trees and boiled into maple syrup, and herbs are gathered for medicine.

The Iroquois hunt mostly deer but also other game such as wild turkey and migratory birds. Muskrat and beaver are hunted during the winter. Fishing has also been a significant source of food because the Iroquois are located near the St. Lawrence River. They fished salmon, trout, bass, perch and whitefish until the St. Lawrence became too polluted by industry. In the spring the Iroquois netted, and in the winter fishing holes were made in the ice


May 6, 2014, 12:51pm Permalink
Cory Hawley

Correct Howard, but from what I learned in college (Horticulture/Agriculture major) it was domesticated for use in Mexico & Central America. Corn wasn't what we have today so to speak. It is basically a large somewhat tropical grass. Through breeding & hybridization we now have corn for food & fuel.
Just because someone brought it there to grow does not mean it's native. Silver, Red and Sugar maple are native to our area (as well other area). Norway Maples are NOT, yet they probably make up more than 50% of the maple trees in Batavia.
So Kyle you may want to brush up on your horticulture and what native means in regards to plant species. I know the whole plant the three together so they use each other to grow on thing. Doesn't make them native, nor does bringing seeds from one part of the world to another, trading them and then growing them there. Native is all relative. There are plants native to the US in general, but necessarily WNY or even the northeast maybe. Saguaro cactus are native to Arizona, MX etc. If I have one growing in my greenhouse in NY, is it native to NY? Nope, and it's illegal.

May 6, 2014, 3:33pm Permalink
Kyle Couchman

Yeah Corey I'm sure that Iroquois imported their seedstock from wherever they came from before settling in the genesee valley. So squash, beans and corn were all imported.

Besides once maize and corn came into being by whatever means in Mexico and central america (does this mean that corn is the original GMO grain?) it would be impossible for it to extend it's range and become native anywhere else by natural means huh.

Since the corn here in NYS was developed by the natives for several thousand years I'd say it's as native as any of us born in NYS can claim to be no matter where our ancestors originally came from

After all, native americans are merely immigrants themselves with their genetic ancestry being traced to Northeastern Asia and Various Pacific Island genomes. Yet they are still considered native Americans arent they?

May 6, 2014, 4:22pm Permalink
Scott Ogle

From Wikipedia, which I wish would be more consistently chronological in their approach:

Maize was planted by the Native Americans in hills, in a complex system known to some as the Three Sisters. Maize provided support for beans, and the beans provided nitrogen derived from nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria which live on the roots of beans and other legumes; and squashes provided ground cover to stop weeds and inhibit evaporation by providing shade over the soil.[55] This method was replaced by single species hill planting where each hill 60–120 cm (2.0–3.9 ft) apart was planted with three or four seeds, a method still used by home gardeners. A later technique was "checked maize", where hills were placed 40 inches (1.0 metre) apart in each direction, allowing cultivators to run through the field in two directions. In more arid lands, this was altered and seeds were planted in the bottom of 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in) deep furrows to collect water. Modern technique plants maize in rows which allows for cultivation while the plant is young, although the hill technique is still used in the maize fields of some Native American reservations.

@ Kyle

May 6, 2014, 9:57pm Permalink
Cory Hawley

Kyle seriously if corn was native here, show me somewhere OTHER than a corn field that it is growing. Walk around a forest, an open undisturbed field, swamp county park and you will not see "Corn" growing. You will see maples and dogwoods and willows, asters, and beech and oak and a lot of other stuff. But you will not see corn. For a plant species to be native, it has nothing to do with a human being. Once a human or possibly animal or natural event interacts it becomes a naturalized species or an invasive species. Not native. Just because a "Native American" grew corn, the label "native" is not passed on to everything they did or planted.
I'm not saying the Iroquois imported anything. But they did trade.
Also you may want to know what a GMO is. A GMO is: A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Yea those Iroquois were busy in there labs splicing genes and creating new species. GMO species, for example, would be "Round-Up Ready" Corn. The corn has been genetically modified so it can withstand round-up spray and not die while the other weeds competing in the same field die. What happened with corn is it was cross pollinated/hybridized (which does not require a lab or genetic engineering) which cause one plant to pass on it's traits to another species.
Bottom line. Corn is not native to WNY. Hell, not NY or even the Northeast. It was brought here, planted here and grow as a crop. Period. It is not even naturalized here BECAUSE you don't see corn growing in the wild. Norway Maple is a good example of a naturalized species, or even invasive species if you have one growing nearby like I do. It was brought here for it's qualities as a faster growing maple and has been thought to be a good street tree. But the seeds are relentless and come up everywhere and live without a human having to help it do so.

May 7, 2014, 8:47am Permalink

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