Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Solar Technology, Japanese Know How And Local Gardeners Grow Vegetables At Roosevelt Island Community Garden Hoop House This Past Winter

Despite an extremely harsh winter this past year, Roosevelt Island residents Ron Davidson, Kyoko Abe and Jennifer Dunning grew fresh vegetables at their Roosevelt Island Community Garden plots by using solar technology together with traditional Japanese rituals and practices to heat their "Hoop House".

According to Eco Watch
Looking to grow more of your own food year-round? A hoop house could be the answer.

A hoop house is a series of large hoops or bows—made of metal, plastic pipe or wood—covered with a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic. The plastic is stretched tight and fastened to baseboards with strips of wood, metal or wire. A hoop house is heated by the sun and cooled by the wind. Hoop houses can be erected over a patch of ground or rows of raised beds. They can cost as little as a hundred dollars or as much as a couple thousand dollars...
Mr. Davidson reports that the Roosevelt Island Hoop House:
  • was built for about $60 each with pvc pipes, transparent plastic drop cloth sheeting and bubble wrap,
  • inspired by the similar structures in the Tohoku region of northern Japan which was devastated by the tsunami of 2011 and the White House Hoop House built by First Lady Michelle Obama,
  • Solar power only used to maintain growing space during harsh winter weather,
  • Construction process included Japanese rituals and practices ... example, pre-construction himorogi 神籬 to invite the blessings of the local spirits.
  • Spinach, chard, sorrel and hearty Japanese vegetables (mizuna, shiso, komatsuna, hakusai and shungiku) survived and thrived,
  • Ground used for composting winter kitchen scraps in preparation for spring planting and
produced vegetables that:
taste astonishingly good and fresh.
Photographer Kurt Wittman shares

Image From Kurt Wittman

these photos

Image From Kurt Wittman

of the Hoop House

Image From Kurt Wittman

this past winter

Image From Kurt Wittman

at the Roosevelt Island Community Garden.

I spoke with Mr. Davidson last March 31 as he was taking the Hoop House down. Here's what he had to say.

Mr. Wittman shows us the winter Hoop House before it was taken down and speaks with Ms. Abe, who responds in Japanese, and Mr. Davidson. The audio with Mr. Davidson is not the best because of the wind but understandable.

Looking forward to the Roosevelt Island Hoop House for next winter and learning about future innovative plans for the Roosevelt Island Community Garden from Mr. Davidson.