I recently took a tour of New Leaf Urban Garden@ ECDC at Boocoo. Here is a brief conversation I had with Cozeake Nelson about some of the sustainable growing practices they use and a few feaatured pictures of the food that is walked over (zero carbon footprint) to the West End Market. Every Saturday 8:30am-3pm http://westendmarket.org/
Cozeake: So what we have here is 7 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and they range from the cherry tomatoes, which were super sweet, sun gold, beefsteak, Roma's, green zebras, and celebrity tomatoes. These are some of the different varieties that we have.
Those are gonna be sweet, when you try those you won’t eat another tomato from the grocery store in your life. Vine ripen tomatoes are the best tomatoes.
Micah: How long have those been growing?
C: These were actually put these in the ground in early March. We started from seed in March and now its July. Everywhere you see a yellow flower is where a tomatoes going to grow.
The different lettuce that we have hear, the different collard greens that we have here, the turnips. These are called purple top turnips, sweet peas. These are naturally sweet, we don’t put any fertilizers, any chemicals in this garden its all 100% organic practices.
The brussel sprouts that we have here, all the rouge tomatoes that are growing from last year to our lemon basil that’s coming up right now, honeydew melon, more of the herbs, English thyme. We’re always excited about what’s growing on around over here at Boocoo and we always want to show it off.
M: Didn’t you guys get a little bit more land to work with?
C:You see that there; that’s watermelon right there!
Dusty had an idea to use guerrilla garden tactics for this vacant lot here. We were fortunate to have Rev. Zollie Web as a resource. Zollie asked his friend to let us use some of his land for us to plant some more tomatoes in the back of his church. We may also acquired some land over on McCormick - we are still working on that to get that going.
We compost everything. It’s all rich 100% organic compost that we can put back onto the soil. Adds more nitrate and phosphate to the soil.
These are all of our beets, and this is actually a gourmet blend of beets: the red, the orange, the yellow you know the different varieties are sweet like sugar man, you eat those things man I’m telling you’ll never eat another beet from the grocery store in your life.
These are some of the herbs we have here. There is cilantro, dill (smells like a pickle right?), Greek oregano, lemon basil…lemon basil has it’s own unique smell and blend that you can’t get that with a regular basil, with the Genovese basil you can’t get that.
Right behind you is the little patch of spinach we have, that spinach man is delicious. She (Tracy of Boocoo Café) was actually using for the spinach salads - came out delicious man.
This is going to be the last of it, we have another wave of it actually that we are starting to germinate for the fall. Now we are planning all the things we are going to have in our Fall Crops.
The beets are going to be gone after a while. We’ll end up putting our fall crops inside these boxes. Another 20 days and these [beets] will be gone. When they start peeking out the ground like this that’s when you know they are ready for harvest. So we just get them up out the ground and we’ll take them and sell them at the Market on Saturdays.
M: When is the Market?
C: We do the west end market on Saturdays from 8:30 to 3. Pretty much we walk our fresh fruits and vegetables right across the street. So we cut down the carbon footprint - zero carbon foot print. Why ship something in from Texas when you could walk across the street. That concept we like the idea of not adding harmful emissions to the atmosphere. We just keep it all carbon free. That's one of my favorite things to do.
Last time you were here I’m sure this looked a little bit different?
M: It wasn’t as green.
C: Now it’s more green and a couple more things going on right now.
So any time you want to garden come out for the garden walk, come on out back - get your feel of nature.
Let me show you the last thing over here. These carrots we just harvested. These are all heirloom variety of carrots. These are all delicious, right out of the garden. The beautiful thing is that the greens are actually edible also; a lot of vegans use these greens in different salads and different dishes. Take a look at that.
M: Thank you for the tour.
C: Definitely. You’re welcome any time, this is your garden too.