Ending Type 2 Diabetes One Exercise, Nutrition, and Gardening Class at a Time

Posts Tagged ‘Greenhouse’

Donations Make The Garden Go Round

In Community Garden on February 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM

High Mowing Seeds!

High Mowing Seeds!

High Mowing Seeds!

Rah Rah!

High Mowing Seeds!

The Diabetes Prevention Program just received a major donation from High Mowing Seeds, a small but extraordinarily generous organic seed production company in northern Vermont. Needless to say, we are overjoyed, and simply moved by the gift. Next week we will begin our tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli, cukes, and herbs in Fair Haven K-8 School’s rooftop glass greenhouse. Off to another miraculous growing season. Stay tuned!

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Garden Miracle #18274649830

In Community Garden on January 24, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Two weeks ago, we walked into the garden expecting the usual – in 50 degree recycled heat, collards fighting to grow just a little wider, kale a little greener, lettuce a little softer. Instead, our breath froze just as quickly as it had outside the plastic walls. A quick, panicked glance at the thermometer indicated below-freezing temperatures. We made a b-line to the spinach patch, a particularly hearty crop this winter, and it was frozen solid. Crystalized like the head of lettuce that got too close to the back of the refrigerator when the rest of the veggie crisper was empty. Cracking like potato chips, frozen frozen frozen. I called the operations director in my dismay, who quickly discovered that indeed the oven heat was not pumping into our greenhouse. For how many days, nobody knew.

They fixed the problem, and I spent the week hoping, wishing, and wondering how I would secure a new army of seeds.

Alas the miracle: our vegetables did not die. The following week, with the greenhouse back up to it’s 50-degree onion-ciabatta-loaf fragrance, the greens were as soft and perky as usual. Turns out they had been bracing themselves, not unlike the fetal position we find ourselves in on these frigid New England nights, and were ready to spread out and keep growing when some additional heat arrived.

DPP Program and Garden Component Featured in CT Department of Public Health Newsletter!

In About the Program, Community Garden on December 14, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Oven Heat Warming Greenhouse

In Community Garden on November 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Winter descended last week, settling in like an overly enthusiastic sports fan shimmying between two obviously annoyed onlookers on either side. We at the garden, however, were not fazed. Number one, we have a stellar greenhouse. The dark afternoons are no deterrent, what with a little electricity, nor are the threatening winds skimming off the Long Island Sound and through the largely hollow Fair Haven streets.

The real prize, though, is our newest innovation.

This week the Chabaso Bakery staff installed a pipe that connects an oven vent to our greenhouse. The oven heat hovers around 80 degrees as it leaves the bakery walls, and has succeeded in maintaining a growing environment that rivals warmer CT falls. A fringe benefit is the flavor of garlic ciabatta in the air. Everything is warm and growing, including the summer turnips we ever so gingerly planted out of season.

The truth is that growing in a heated greenhouse 12 months per year is unnatural, and poses some complications, as Eliot Coleman pointed out to us last week in his visit to New Haven. He loved that we were capturing oven heat, but warned without enough sun, nitrates are not processed and could remain in the plants. Nitrates are dangerous to human health. Needless to say, we will have our leafy greens tested before dividing the harvest for our participating growers.

The metal piece was installed over the oven vent. The wooden box contains a silver pipe moving the heat.

The metal pipe ends when it enters the greenhouse. We open the doors to move the heat around.

Greenhouse Construction!

In Community Garden on October 15, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Mike Tripodina and his staff at GroWell in Cheshire, CT, generously donated a greenhouse last week. Novels are made of these stories. For weeks I spoke with growers around Connecticut. Small growers, big commercial operations – all recommended Mike Tripodina. Meanwhile, there was no money falling off the Fair Haven trees for this project. The week before I expected a group of Yale Graduate students in the garden, I took a deep breath and made the call.

‘Hi! Is this Rebecca Kline, and I am calling for Mike.’

‘Not here right now. What can I help you with? This is Ray.’

I proceeded to talk Ray’s ear off. I don’t think I stopped for literally five minutes straight. Diabetes, prediabetes, low-income neighborhood, health clinic, Chabaso bakery, veggies for the winter, etc. etc. etc.

‘I’ll write a note for Mike to call you back. You can send an email about your program now if you want.’

10 mins later I clicked send, and the email bounced right back into my inbox. When I called GroWell back to confirm the email address, none but Mike himself picked up the phone.

‘This is Rebecca Kline. I just spoke to Ray – I’m calling from the Fair Haven Community Health Center.’

‘Oh yes – I saw the note. You want a bunch of stuff for free.’

And that was the beginning of the Fair Haven Community Health Center and Chabaso Bakery’s relationship with Mike Tripodina and Growell.

Mike offered us a barely-used commercial size greenhouse, that happened to be the exact size of our garden at Chabaso. Charles Negaro, owner and champion of the Chabaso Garden, set up his trucks to pick up the materials the next day and assigned his head of operations to research and ready himself for building the structure.

Below you can see some before and during construction pictures.

To be clear, a greenhouse means that our Diabetes Prevention Program participants can continue to grow their own fresh, organic vegetables through the winter. Heat from the bakery’s ovens will warm the structure day and night, boilers’ water will provide ongoing irrigation, and we will buy seeds using the money we made from the garden’s pesto sale last week.

Greenhouse materials

Yale Graduate students and Chabaso employees bang in the greenhouse foundation poles

Using a plastic water pipe to ensure that the foundation stakes are level

The hoops are up!

The plastic is draped over the hoops

Chabaso employees are extremely talented (and camera-shy:)

Dr. Anne Camp and the proud lead Chabaso employees after draping the plastic

This is looking just like a greenhouse. What a miracle.

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