Intervale Green Rooftop Farm

A Bronx Urban Farm Sponsored by Women's Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco)


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Volunteers from Pret A Manger and Green City Force work on our Rooftop Urban Farm

Thank you to Pret A Manger staff and Green City Force, WHEDco’s partners, who volunteered on WHEDco’s Rooftop Urban Farm in October. The volunteers worked tirelessly clearing plots for winter, harvesting fresh herbs and vegetables

including, sage, dill, mint, basil, parsley, rosemary, chives, green peppers, scallions, carrots, and beets, and adding over 100 pounds of garden scraps to compost. The fresh herbs and vegetables were distributed to over a dozen apartments at Intervale Green.

In addition, thank you to Green City Force for volunteering at WHEDco’s greenhouse at Intervale Green, as they planted spinach seeds for winter and harvested collard greens that were distributed to residents.

A great dig!

A great dig!

Two thumbs up from Pret!

Two thumbs up from Pret!

Picking mint leaves!

Picking mint leaves!

Green City Force clearing plots.

Green City Force clearing plots.

Green City Force takes over our urban green house

Green City Force takes over our urban green house

Herb table!

Herb table!


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St. John’s Students prepare the rooftop for the off-season

Thank you to the students of St. John’s University for their service on WHEDco’s Rooftop Urban Farm! The 22 volunteers worked on most of the farm by clearing crops for winter, weeding, and harvesting vegetables that were later distributed to residents. We value our partnership with St. John’s University and we look forward to seeing them again next year!2014 2712014 264


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The rooftop farm gets ready for fall.

We were fortunate to have volunteers from New York Cares come up and help get the rooftop farm ready for fall. Gina, Nana, Thuy, Carina, Justin, and Kiah worked tirelessly in the August heat to ensure the farm continues to produce well into the colder months. We weeded, cleared some space, and planted fall crops.
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We planted the second round of arugula, carrots, peas, and transplanted cabbage and kale.

babyarugula peashoots babykale

We’re not giving up on our late summer crops, even if it is September. The heat continues and the plants keep producing. The okra is about to explode with delicious pods and the strawberries are giving us their last hurrah!

babyokra       babystrawberries

And the rooftop tomatoes are nowhere near done!

tomatoes

Thank you to the New York Cares volunteers for all their hard work. I encourage you all to come back for our Fall Harvest Festival. Please stay tuned for more exciting news from the rooftop farm!


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A Vibrant August Harvest.

After a few weeks of warming up, the plants are churning out produce with an explosion of color. There’s nothing like stepping onto the roof and seeing the pops of color among the shades of green.

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Once harvested and gathered together, the color palette is quite impressive. harvest 1 original tomatoes and cornSometimes, the vibrant colors trigger memories, emotions, and even physical responses.  Just look at these lively scotch bonnet peppers!  They’ll either make you cringe…or drool. scotch bonnet

I would like to thank the Bronx Food and Farm Tour for making the Rooftop Farm at Intervale Green a stop on this year’s tour.  It was great to meet all of you and I’m happy to see so many people involved in urban agriculture and the greening movement in the Bronx.  A special thanks to Ursula and Sara from the New York Botanical Garden and Ray Figueroa from NYC Community Garden Coalition and Friends of Brook Park.  Thank you, Ursula, for the nepeta!

Enjoy the color and bounty of the August harvest!


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It’s been a great July!

corn & skyline

The rooftop farm is bursting with life these days. The tomato plants are heavy with fruit, the corn is high, and the eggplant and cucumber flowers promise delicious offerings.

We planted more watermelon this year, since we had good results last season and it looks like we’ll get a bumper crop.

baby watermelon among the greenery

This season, I also planted the “Three Sisters”: corn, beans, and squash. This is a Native American tradition that has been practiced for centuries before Europeans set foot in the Americas.  The system deals with planting the three crops together. They form a symbiotic relationship and help each other through the growth process. The corn is planted first and once it has grown a few inches, the beans are planted around the base of the corn stalk.  After a week or so, the squash is planted around the beans.  The corn gives support to the bean vine, which in turn releases much needed nitrogen into the soil while the broad and prickly squash leaves provide shade and weed control and deter creatures from eating the corn.

For more information, feel free to visit the following sites:

http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/get-activities/signature-projects/the-three-sisters-exploring-an-iroquois-garden/how-to-plant-the-three-sisters/

http://www.iroquoismuseum.org/three_sisters.htm

young corn & squash3 sisters up close

It’s a bit difficult to see the beans among the corn and squash, but they are climbing up the corn stalk.

 

marigolds and corn

Please stay tuned for more updates on the rooftop farm!


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The Rooftop Farm Is Back In Action!

The rooftop farm at Intervale Green is up and running once again.  After a long, cold winter and a shaky start to the planting season, the plants are well on their way to another booming year on the roof.

tomatoes and skyline

 

The greenhouse was full of life during the last few weeks of winter.  These seedlings were periodically moved outside for a portion of the day to introduce them to their soon-to-be permanent environment, a process called “hardening off”.  The conditions on the roof are a drastic change from the controlled paradise that is the greenhouse. Only the strongest and most adaptable plants will be able to handle the conditions seven floors above the street.

greenhouse seedlings       greenhouse tomatoes

 

The tenant farmers have also been busy. After the success attained last season, everyone is dedicated to increasing their yield.

Manderville's plot  Mr. Neville's plot-early

 

I’d like to thank the volunteers from WHEDco: Erika, David, Alex, and Marc for getting the farm ready for planting. I’d also like to thank the volunteers from Greenberg Traurig for taking on the tedious task of weeding and clearing plots. Volunteer work is priceless on the rooftop farm and I invite the volunteers to come back to see how their work has benefited the farm.

Please stay tuned for more news from the Intervale Green Rooftop Farm. This season, we’ll tackle planting the Three Sisters: corn (maize), beans, and squash, as well as more rooftop watermelon and strawberries. There will also be the inevitable battle with the wind and fighting off powdery mildew. It looks like we’re in for an exciting season, so subscribe or check in regularly. Thank you and happy farming!


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Finally! Some well-deserved rest for the rooftop farm.

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The rooftop farm is finally enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation. It was an amazing season and we were able to pull out over 1,000 pounds of produce for the tenants and neighbors of Intervale Green.

I want to thank all the tenant farmers, all the WHEDco employees, and all the volunteer groups that helped us throughout the season.

Thanks to the enthusiastic crew from St. John’s University!IMG_1821 IMG_1823

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Thank you to the hard working group from Central Synagogue!

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With the help of the volunteer groups, we were able to clear all the plots, plant bulbs and garlic, and sow cover crops. I encourage all the volunteer groups to come back and help us with our pre-season set-up and to kick off our planting season.  In the meantime, the Intervale Green Greenhouse will be in full operation. Updates and Greenhouse news will be out shortly so stay tuned!

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