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City of Rochester

Timbers from razed houses re-used as raised-bed gardens

From Razed to Raised 

Gardening at Campbell St. Community Center.A city sustainability program and job-training program is incorporating a creative method to re-use the timbers recovered from razed houses as raised-bed gardens. In 2011, there will be about 100 raised beds around the city overflowing with fresh vegetables. These raised beds were constructed of select interior timbers (2x4, 2x6) that were salvaged and reused as part of a “deconstruction” project. Deconstruction is an alternative to bulldozing and landfilling vacant houses, and functions as a jobs training program.  This training program was coordinated by the Rochester Landscape Technicians Program, and reclaimed approximately 40% of the materials from 15 houses last summer.   

During the past winter, this wood was used by another crew from the Rochester Landscape Technicians Program: in addition to working on trails in better weather, this crew created modular raised beds that are now being moved to a number of community gardens in Rochester, including Project Hope’s Sofrito Garden at Clifford and Conkey, and new gardens at Portland and Roycroft, and Remington and Dale. 

Raised beds are now required on City-owned vacant lots where volunteers are starting community gardens to grow vegetables.  The raised beds are lined with weed fabric to keep the vegetable roots from reaching the potentially lead-contaminated soil below.  While crops like tomatoes and cucumbers do not absorb large amounts of lead in the parts that we consume, leafy greens like collards, mustard and spinach are very effective at absorbing lead.  In a strategy to clean existing soil, these greens are used in some parts of the country to remediate soils, where the crops are harvested and taken away rather than consumed.  

We want your plastic planting pots

The Bureau of Recreation is looking for used plastic pots & trays of all sizes.  If you, your friends, relatives or neighbors have some stashed away, please bring them to the Public Market on any day and place them on the grass, just to the left of the Market Office entrance. Please email your friends, relatives and neighbors about this opportunity, so we can keep these pots out of landfills, and reuse them for propagation programs!

For more information about the City's gardening and horticultural programs and services, go to our Gardening/Horticulture page. Or, email the City Horticulturist.


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