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MRO’s Own Edible Estate

by claudia kousoulas on April 15th, 2010

Tina Schneider, who works in Park and Planning’s Environmental Division, was talking with Planning Director Rollin Stanley about ways to “green” our site. They came up with a number of ideas, which will become our sustainable landscape plan, that include a few bee hives on the roof (starting in mid-May) and turning our flower beds into a vegetable garden rather than planting and replanting them with annuals through the season. About a dozen employees (from neophytes to experts) have volunteered to help design, plant, maintain, and harvest the garden.

Today, Mohammed Turay’s crew of the Parks Department generously got us started by removing the mulch, tilling the soil, and adding some amendments. We’ll have the soil tested this week and the group will work on its design. We want to be ready to plant by mid-May and are considering herbs, eggplants, dwarf tomatoes, and maybe even some okra.

We’re also trying to do this as inexpensively and ecologically as possible by using what we have and picking up donations where we can. Check in through the spring and summer to see our progress.

6 Comments
  1. Casey Anderson permalink

    How about giving up the surface parking behind your building? It would be a great place for a skate park, and it would encourage employees to take metro, walk, or bike to work.

  2. claudia kousoulas permalink

    I’d love to see that, though I love the convenient parking, I’ve always thought we could get away with less pavement–maybe a pervious surface garden and paths meandering through the lot–or like you say, a skate park.

    Maybe we should run an ideas competition that could surface some alternatives.

  3. Casey Anderson permalink

    Well, anything but a parking lot. Here’s why I think a skate park is a particularly good choice: The Planning Board and its staff have been preaching (to the choir, in my case) about how we are running out of land that can be developed (outside the ag reserve) and why this means surface parking lots are among the best places for intensified land use. At the same time, the Parks Department staff has been trying to persuade various civic associations to accept skate spots in their neighborhoods so the skaters will no longer be in the cluttering up the sidewalks in front of local businesses. What better way to prove that M-NCPPC is willing to eat its own cooking than to turn its own surface parking into a skate facility?

  4. Casey, what a great idea. I’ve already seen skater kids hanging out in front of Park and Planning and in Royce Hanson Park – though, of course, they could be waiting for a bus.

    On the other hand, the East of Maui skatepark in Downtown Silver Spring had to give way to redevelopment. With SilverPlace still on the boards, is it worthwhile to turn the parking lot into a skatepark if it’s just going to be torn up in a couple of years? Skaters deserve a permanent home.

  5. I applaud the food garden at MNCPPC HQ, but I wonder about that lack of sunlight. Seems to be pretty shaded (a good thing for break and lunches for employees and passers-by), but if not 8+ hour of direct sun, I’m afraid few edibles will thrive and give you decent yields.
    Mid-may is early for planting tomatoes, eggplants, etc. wait till soil temps are warmer. Mid-june is fine. If you plant earlier, the plants just sit and they start to grow same time as those planted later. Not bad, but you could have other things started and harvested in between now and Mid-June: radishes, salad greens, peas, beans, etc.
    Hope also you’ll add explanatory signage and a deer/rabbit fence.
    Definitely keep us all updated with the progress and pics.

  6. This is great! Think you can convince the MoCo school system to do the same, rather than banning veggie gardens on school property?

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