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  1. #1
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Community gardening with a bicycle?

    I'd like to do some vegetable gardening this year. I have no yard, but there are community garden sites around the city. The closest is probably two or three miles away. I'm just not sure how I would handle this with a bike. I would probably have difficulty carrying shovels and rakes and so forth to the garden site. I don't have a trailer or xtracycle, and don't plan on getting one anytime soon.

    Does it even seem feasible to do this? I'd sure appreciate any advice or tips.


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  2. #2
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    I used to see a one legged woman who had to bring crutches on the bike everywhere. She bungied the crutches along the top tube, they did not get in the way at all. This may work if you can get the tool part of your shovel, rake, etc. past the head tube.

    What about the military folding shovels? They are pretty cheap.

    Have you seen the pvc tube holders fastened to a rack stay facing up and back, looking like a mortar or cannon? You could have at least two, possibly four if you have a strong rear rack.
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  3. #3
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    if you wanted to bungee a shovel to your top tube, you could put the wide part of the shovel on a rear-rack with the handle sticking out the front.

    If you're willing to go with a camping backpack, believe me, you can carry a lot on a bicycle with just that. I've carried a guitar and a violin at the same time with a camping backpack. It's better to have a bike with an upright riding posture for that, though-- otherwise stuff that sticks up out of the top of the pack will compete for space with your head, because you'll have your back turned forward and your head turned back.

    A good camping backpack should be able to carry a whole lot of tools, dirt, etc- 50lbs of stuff should be no problem.

    I have to admit, though, I'm a bit puzzled as to why you don't want to get a trailer or xtracycle. At some point it ceases to make sense why someone would say they want to carry big/heavy stuff, yet shun the most obvious tools that would make it possible. On the other hand, if using a huge backpack (or finding some other workaround) is what works best for you, then more power to ya.
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  4. #4
    killer goldfish svwagner's Avatar
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    back in the pre-homeowner, pre-xtracycle days, i carried by gardening tools to the community garden in the same way that i used to carry my hockey stick.

    that is, with the handle strapped to the side of the top tube and the rest strapped to the rear rack. shovels, racks, pitchforks and the like -- if long handled -- tend to stick out toward the rear, so it's best to tie something red or orange to the end so that someone doesn't come up from behind and impale themself.

    you should really only have to do this infrequently, if my experience is of any use. once the ground is prepared and things are planted, you really don't need any tools until the fall.

  5. #5
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Do you really need those big tools, or can you make do with smaller tools and a set of knee pads? I understand you might want to spade or fork the dirt early in the year, but that's a one-time thing.

  6. #6
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    I don't have a trailer or xtracycle, and don't plan on getting one anytime soon.
    As others have pointed out once you fasten the tools on the bike the rest is easy. However, for true easy
    gardening you need to get over the idea of not having at least a trailer.

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    Do you really need those big tools, or can you make do with smaller tools and a set of knee pads? I understand you might want to spade or fork the dirt early in the year, but that's a one-time thing.
    Now this seems right, as I remember back to when I last gardened, a long time ago. You have to till the soil in the spring, but there really isn't much digging involved after that. Small holes or trenches for planting seeds and plants, and just kind of scratching the soil thereafter, to get rid of the weeds. I think they roto-till the soil for you, or there's a guy at work who does it on his days off.

    Now...what should I plant? Tomatoes for sure. What are you all putting in your gardens this year?


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  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Several people have pointed out the way to carry long tools on a bicycle, strap the handle to the top tube and the working end of the tool to the rack. I did this for several years on a old 3sp Raleigh, up to and including a 20# sledge hammer. I take it there is no room where you live for gardening? Try container gardening or squarefoot gardening. I have done both in a metro setting.

    Aaron

  9. #9
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    I can only grow tomatoes and raspberries in my back yard, because they can handle partial shade. Other veggies disappoint because they don't thrive without several hours of direct sunlight, and in my stuffy non-immigrant neighbourhood it's considered impolite to grow veggies in the front yard.

  10. #10
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    Preparing a plot with a small garden shovel and hoe would not be too difficult. I would still want to get a trailer though, but I've carried a bike frame on my handlebars before so carrying a few garden tools shouldnt be impossible, just awkward.

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    The Experimental College here at UC Davis provides a community garden that's open to the public. It costs $25/year for a plot, and the people running the garden provide tools that are stored in a shed on site. You might want to make sure they don't already have tools before you start trying to figure out how to carry them.

  12. #12
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    Several people have pointed out the way to carry long tools on a bicycle, strap the handle to the top tube and the working end of the tool to the rack. I did this for several years on a old 3sp Raleigh, up to and including a 20# sledge hammer. I take it there is no room where you live for gardening? Try container gardening or squarefoot gardening. I have done both in a metro setting.

    Aaron
    I might have room for "square inch" gardening, but that's about it. I'm living alone now, in a tiny apartment with no balcony, lawn or anything. I barely have room for my bike and a couple of spare bikes, and lack of space is the reason I don't want to get a trailer at this time. Maybe later, after I move.

    Quote Originally Posted by notfred
    The Experimental College here at UC Davis provides a community garden that's open to the public. It costs $25/year for a plot, and the people running the garden provide tools that are stored in a shed on site. You might want to make sure they don't already have tools before you start trying to figure out how to carry them.
    Well this is something I didn't think of. The last time I did community gardening, no tools were provided, but that was about 15 years ago. Also, maybe they have lockers for tools, so I'd only have to transport them once. That would be good too, given my space limitations. Thanks notfred, the nottroll.

    Now I ask again, what should I plant? All I've one before is tomatoes and beans, but I love all vegetables. What grows good in Michigan and can take a little neglect?


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    Um, just get a horse and a cart. There's no need to live more simply than 1890...

  14. #14
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Now I ask again, what should I plant? All I've one before is tomatoes and beans, but I love all vegetables. What grows good in Michigan and can take a little neglect?
    I would grow a salad garden mainly - leave room for a rotation or 2 of lettuce (every 4-6 weeks..), then tomatoes, carrots, radish, whatever you like in a salad... I think I would start small. In my own garden, a 10 by 10 plot would grow a lot of salad vegetables. If it's a bigger plot than that, you could get ambitious and try some zucchini.

    Problem is, if you plant a huge plot, you have lots of weeding...

  15. #15
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Plan on getting a trailer.

  16. #16
    Sweetened with Splenda
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    I don't know that you'd need a trailer - I've hauled compost and plants and all kinds of gardening things in my homebrew kitty-litter panniers (Google "oyster bucket panniers" to see what they are) and they were both cheap and easy to build.
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  17. #17
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Well, like I said I'm not getting a trailer right now. Like brokenrobot, I get along fine without one and I just don't have the room to store one, since the bikes take up what little space I have in my apartment. I live alone now, and I don't have to haul many groceries now, for example.

    I think I'll use the small hand tools suggested earlier if the garden people don't provide tools. Those will be easy to carry on the bike. Now the bedding plants. That will be more of a challenge, but just a one time thing.

    But mainly I have to get some ideas on what to plant, and any growing tips you all have. Thanks for the ideas so far, and keep 'em coming!


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  18. #18
    pointless & uncalled for
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    I would advise investing in a book on vegetable gardening. Something that can advise you on variants, conditions and planting seasons for crops. Also, if you can find one, find something that gives advice on cross planting so that you can avoid infestation without heavy reliance on pesticides.

  19. #19
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Roody, I know that you don't want to buy a trailer just now but when
    you do consider this model as it does the whole garden duty & trailer
    job all in one.

    http://www.gardenhardware.com/fit-uc.html

    I've seen it for sale cheaper than this site but this site shows all the stuff to
    make this a folding wonder.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I'd like to do some vegetable gardening this year. I have no yard, but there are community garden sites around the city. The closest is probably two or three miles away. I'm just not sure how I would handle this with a bike. I would probably have difficulty carrying shovels and rakes and so forth to the garden site. I don't have a trailer or xtracycle, and don't plan on getting one anytime soon.

    Does it even seem feasible to do this? I'd sure appreciate any advice or tips.
    Yeah, I know this is an old thread but just wondering ...


    Roody ... did you ever do this?


    How about the rest of you ... do you garden?

    We're talking about maybe putting in a plant or two. We've got quite an extensive non-vegetable garden (roses, protea, and other trees and plants), but tomatoes or something might be nice.

  21. #21
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    Gardening can be quite difficult, in my experience. Insects eat the plants, and I don't like to use pesticides. I was told I should just spray soapy water but that didn't work very well. Maybe I didn't do it enough. I also can't seem to get fertilizer right so my vegetables always come out small. Another problem I have is once I sprout lots of seeds, I can't bear to thin out the rows so they end up competing for resources and staying small for that reason, too, I think. Still, I keep trying.

    Kale or some other hardy green is probably the easiest to grow and the most cold-tolerant, though Detroit seems too cold for anything to grow. When does spring start there? April? You could try a greenhouse but if you don't have your own yard or balcony, idk. Maybe keep a planter indoors if there's an area that gets good sun.

  22. #22
    Senior Member kickstart's Avatar
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    Organic vegetable gardening is a hobby of ours, we have a 100' X 60' plot. Plant a wide variety, most things will do well, some won't, thats how nature works.

  23. #23
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    I've got a small aloe plant. It was a large aloe plant when I bought it.
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    My wife and I help run, with two others, a large (115 garden plot) community garden. When we're not working, cycling or playing with grandchildren, we're gardening. It's a blast, and delicious. This week we coordinated with the people who trim the trees off the power lines to dump their chip at the garden. They delivered 16 yards with more promised. Tomorrow we meet with the city on the future of the community garden program. It's currently overpriced due to high city staff costs. We hope to convince them to allow the 501C3 nonprofit neighborhood association to take it over. The city charges gardeners $100/plot, but the only non-staff cost is the $18/plot water bill. If our neighborhood association takes it over, it will lower the price and give preference for plots to local residents. This is critical, in my opinion, for three reasons:

    1. This neighborhood is the least-affluent in the entire city with 80% of its residents renters. They are priced out at $100, but many would reap the benefits of the garden if the price was half that.

    2. A back of the envelope calculation of the carbon footprint for the produce grown by the gardeners who drive to the garden indicated that their produce released 300-500 times the carbon dioxide as they would have produced by simply picking up their vegetables that were grown in California when they drove to the grocery store.

    3. I live on the street that the garden is on. I'm weary of gardeners speeding down our narrow street past all 106 residences. I'd rather replace the cars with pedestrians and cyclists from nearby.

    I've made many good friends at the garden. If you've never joined a community garden, I encourage you to give it a try.

  25. #25
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yeah, I know this is an old thread but just wondering ...


    Roody ... did you ever do this?


    How about the rest of you ... do you garden?

    We're talking about maybe putting in a plant or two. We've got quite an extensive non-vegetable garden (roses, protea, and other trees and plants), but tomatoes or something might be nice.
    We garden pretty extensively. Planted pecan trees this year, next year blue berries. My fig tree got hammered by hard freezes the last two years in a row, but has recovered an put out new growth. Only problem is the figs it produced this year were about the size of marbles. The main rule around our place is "don't plant it, unless you can eat it"! We currently have a relatively small intensive garden 15'x15', this year it had tomatoes, field peas, kale, squash, cantaloupe and corn. We also had tomatoes growing in large pots on the porch. We had drought conditions for much of the summer, but were able to do well by keeping the garden watered. I am in the process of reworking the landscaping around the house to continue to create food. Got rid of some privet and planted thornless blackberries. We have about 40' of grape arbor with local muscadines growing on it. It did pretty well this year. Next year I plan to reconfigure it and add a second grape variety. Fruit trees are on the list too; pears, green/yellow apples, plums and peaches.

    Aaron
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