|Abandoned Playground Now an Agricultural Center|
With technical and financial assistance from the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tuskegee University and AT&T of Birmingham, the Hobson City Youth Community Garden Club has converted an old abandoned school playground into a very productive agricultural center. The center consists of a micro-irrigated/plasticulture garden, a 28-foot by 80-foot hoop house, three blueberry patches and several raised bed gardens. A muscadine vineyard will be established next fall.
The youth and adults were very excited about the success of their garden where more than 5,000 pounds of produce was harvested from the one-fifth of an acre tract of land. The bulk of the produce was given to local churches, the elderly and those who are in need.
The youth received hands-on experience in soil preparation, nutrient application, transplanting bedding plants, planting and sowing seeds, and harvesting and distribution of the produce from their agricultural center. This is an ongoing program.
Micro-irrigation/plasticulture is a relatively new system of growing vegetables in the Calhoun County area. This system employs a series of micro-irrigation drip tubes which are laid under a plastic mulch cover. A bedder/mulcher pulled behind a tractor forms a bed approximately 3 feet wide and 8 inches tall across the field. As the bed is formed, the drip tubing is laid and covered under the plastic in one operation. The 1-inch diameter drip tube is connected to a 4-inch diameter pipe which is referred to as a lay flat. This in turn is connected to a control unit which regulates the water pressure in the drip tubes as fertilizer and water is delivered to the plants. The drip tubes have small openings in them about 12 inches apart which are called emitters. The emitters deliver about one gallon of water per minute/100’. The control unit is connected to a well or municipal water source. Holes are punctured in plastic where the seeds or bedding plants are planted. With this system, one can expect to get two to three times the harvest than would be produced in a conventional system.