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Urban Garden

Nurture Nature Center Builds Urban Recycle Gardennnc_garden

Beauty grows from from cast-offs and seeds.

In spring 2014, NNC installed an Urban Recycle Garden in its small parking area along Pine Street to create a new exhibit for the Easton community. Recycled and found materials were used to demonstrate low-cost growing techniques for small urban areas such as walls, balconies, and small paved spaces. The space on Pine Street was typical of back-alley urban parking spaces with its cracked pavement and windowless walls, but is now well on its way to being upcycled into something beautiful. The demonstration plantings are intended to spur the imagination. People can replicate them, or envision ideas of their own for their unused outdoor nooks and niches. NNC is making the most of the small area by growing food horizontally and vertically, and many of the sustainable techniques are the same as you might find in a larger garden. Over time, this exhibit will show gardeners how to: nnc_garden2

  • Grow herbs and flowers
  • Compost
  • Install sustainable watering systems
  • Create shaded space
  • Create green screens between buildings
  • Save seeds of flowers and vegetables

This project is meant to complement ongoing garden efforts in Easton, such as the great community garden work in the West Ward and Lafayette College.

NNC held four garden workshops and four “Build It” workshops in 2015 (schedule shown below). Each workshop included an informational talk, a demonstration, and a take-home project or materials. Associated fact sheets can be accessed by clicking on the links below.nnc_garden3

NNC workshops will help gardeners to learn and grow

    • Make a Terrarium (March 24, 6:30PM – 8:00 PM) – A family-friendly project (to be held upstairs at NNC). Cost: $20 per terrarium. We supply the 1 gallon glass jars, the plants, the soil, and everything you need. Children (6 and up only, please) must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited.
    • Straw Bale Gardening (April 7, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM) – Cost: FREE. No soil? No problem! Come to the Nurture Nature Center Recycle Garden and learn how to grow vegetables in a bale of straw.
    • Composting is Easy (May 12 6:30 PM -8:00 PM) – Cost: FREE. Join us at the community garden at 10th and Pine for a lesson on how to make rich compost – the key to a successful garden.
    • Smart Gardening in SmartPots (June 9, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM) -A family-friendly workshop. Cost: $10 per planted pot. Lightweight, durable SmartPots can be used for vegetables of all kinds, including tomatoes, potatoes, potatoes and greens. Join us in the Urban Recycle Garden and plant a 5-gallon SmartPot to take home. Space is limited.
    • Pressed Flowers (July 14, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM) – A family-friendly workshop. Cost: $20 per adult; half-price for students. Pressed flower artist Beth Murphy will demonstrate the creation of pressed-flower art start to finish, from pressing to arranging to affixing to coating. Children (10 and up only, please) must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited.


      • Build a Bluebird Box (February 21, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM) – Cost per finished box: $15. Where tree cavities are not present, bluebirds happily nest in boxes mounted at least three feet off the ground facing an open field or lawn.
      • Build a Rain Barrel (March 21, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM) – Cost per finished barrel: $40. A 55-gallon rain barrel, emptied regularly, can save over 1,200 gallons of water in a single growing season.
      • Build a Raised Bed (April 18, 10:00AM – 12:00PM) – Cost: FREE. Join us as we demonstrate how to build, fill, and plant a raised bed in the Urban Recycle Garden, and get a coupon for materials for your own raised bed!
      • Build a Hypertufa Planter (May 16, 10:00AM – 12:00PM) – Cost per planter: $15. Hypertufa troughs are lightweight enough to move easily, yet they have the look of solid stone!

      Did we miss your favorite topic? Share your input here on what workshops you would like to see next season at NNC’s Urban Recycle Garden.

      Looking for additional gardening tips? See NNC’s Gardening Fact Sheets below for more information:

      • Container Gardening Fact Sheet
      • Raised Bed Gardening Fact Sheet
      • Growing Vertically Fact Sheet
      • Shade Gardening Fact Sheet
      • Conserving Water Fact Sheet
      • Seed Saving Fact Sheet
      • Composting Fact Sheet
      • Attracting Pollinators Fact Sheet

      Check back for details.  And if you have questions, please contact Pam Ruch at pruch@nurturenaturecenter.org

      Huge thanks go to all the people who supported this project through our Kickstarter campaign and other cash donations.  We also want to thank all those who have donated or discounted items for our garden including: Laura Schmidt, Wildlands Conservancy, Salvage Goods, Rebecca Altmann, Gristies, Tim Coyle, Diane Husic, Schafer Welding, Nancy Dunker, Diamond Lawn and Landscapes, Smart Pots, Paolini’s, CobraHead LLC, and Organic Mechanic Soil. If you have items you would like to donate, please let us know!

      Thanks also to our Garden Steering Committee:

      • Lynn Prior Director of Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local
      • Emelie Swackhamer, Horticulture Educator, Lehigh & Northampton Co. Cooperative
      • Barbara Hinkson, owner of Compost (an urban garden center located in Easton)
      • Joe Judge, Master Gardener and Bushkill Stream Conservancy representative
      • Sarah Edmonds, Garden Manager and Metzgar Environmental Projects Coordinator at Lafayette College
      • Kristen Jas Vietty, Owner, Lunaria Gardens, a Permaculture consultation, design, & education service
      • Pat Janssen, Easton Environmental Advisory Council
      • Sophia feller, West Ward Community Gardens

Future Plans: nnc_garden7

Rachel Hogan Carr and Kate Brandes on the rooftop of Nurture Nature Center.