The urban garden of Lucero

Very good to all Agrohuerters. Today we are going to visit El Huerto Urbano de Lucero, a very, very new orchard located on Concejal Francisco José Jiménez Martín Street, very close to the Laguna metro, within the orchards in the Latina district.

Urban garden Lucero Actual

The visit was very special for me because this orchard is in my neighbourhood, on a site that had been abandoned for years and it really is a joy for all of us who like orchards to see how these dead spaces in the city are transformed into green areas that also they help propel other civic activities.

Without further ado, we are going to start by learning a little about the history of the Lucero garden:

From the Little Garden to the Huertazo. History of Lucero’s orchard

This group of neighbors has been with this orchard for no less than 6 years, it all started on a small plot in front of the neighborhood association. That lot I’m talking about has an incredible history since before the civil war, the residents of the neighborhood built a popular casino together to offer the residents a humble meeting place where they can have fun and learn at the same time. And I say among the neighbors because there are historical records that reflect what each neighbor contributed to its construction, from a wheelbarrow of sand, hours of work or a few pesetas… But after the civil war that lot became the property of the town hall, was forgotten and the construction was lost… Thus a group of neighbors tired of something so symbolic being wasted,

The Lucero garden was born with the intention of reclaiming the land of the old Casino and other unused land in the neighborhood and the need to create a community space to improve the environment, as well as to encourage the participation of the neighbors.

When they had been working there for a few months, after overcoming many difficulties, they arrived one day and found this fenced space… So they continued their work in a small plot located on Hurtumpascual street, an orchard affectionately known as El Huertito, where they have been working the next 5 years.

Finally, just a few months ago, the Madrid City Council gave them the plot on Concejal Street, one of the 19 famous plots that we talked about with the change in regulations. Thus passing from a small garden of about 400 m 2 to a giant plot of more than 1200 m 2, a true Huertazo where they can develop a thousand and one projects to improve the surroundings of the Lucero neighborhood even though the casino plot is still in disuse. (I have said the figures like this by eye, but I think I have been right).

The little garden:

The little garden on Hurtumpacual street is a small space but very well distributed, access is free and although they have had some occasional problem how almost all urban gardens people usually go to walk around the lot and contemplate the crops.

Old urban garden of Lucero.

As I have told you before, they have been working there for 5 years in which they have done a very good job since they have made good use of the space creating about 8 terraces inside a circle surrounded by aromatic plants that repel possible pests, an area composting where they recycle harvest waste and a small fence to keep out possible rodents.

Apart from the crops on the terraces, which are many and varied, they also have some very overgrown tree species and all this without ever having a water intake to install drip irrigation… During these 5 years, the neighbors who care for this little garden have managed to go to the fountain for water and take turns watering their crops. A great effort on the part of everyone that shows that they really want to improve the image of the neighborhood and have a garden for everyone.

The new project for the Huerto de Lucero

With the transfer of the new plot these neighbors now have enough space to develop all the projects they have in mind, I better tell you about the plan how they are going to distribute the new space:

Here we see the plan of the new urban garden of Lucero.

How do you see the orchard will be divided into 3 parts:

1. Crop area composed of about 16 terraces, of which 8 have already been built, of course ecological management.It will seek to maintain the health of the orchard by applying techniques that respect the environment, such as the association and rotation of crops and the use of aromatic plants.

This area will also have a greenhouse, something that will give them a lot of play since they will be able to let their crops grow to obtain the seeds and be able to sow them next year without having to buy or exchange new ones. In addition to being able to be self-sufficient, they will surely be able to donate seedlings to residents of the neighborhood who want to install a flowerpot-garden on their terrace or hold a multitude of workshops there.

First terraces Lucero Current urban garden.

2. Waste management and composting area. A key area for any organic garden.

A composting area will be enabled to recycle kitchen scraps originating from users themselves and vegetable scraps resulting from garden tasks, to incorporate them into the land in the form of compost.

3. Meeting area, exhibitions and activities.

For me, this area is the most important because it is the one that will turn this urban garden into one of those 21st century parks that I have spoken about on other occasions. A place where neighborhood groups with artistic concerns can exhibit, make themselves known or simply perform for the neighbors and where everyone has a good time.

In addition to all this, they are currently still without water, watering by hand with jugs as in the previous orchard… And not because they do not have a water intake, they do, but this transfer has been one of the last and although they have the space and can start to create terraces etc… Their project has not yet been approved by the town hall, so they have promised not to take water from the intake until this situation is regularized.

Chapó for them in this sense, that is citizen conscience. Many of their crops are gleaning due to lack of water, it is not easy to establish irrigation shifts and the heat is becoming more and more pressing, and although they have the outlet there and can take this precious asset, it is their commitment and word with the city council which makes them not do it. A sacrifice that I hope will be rewarded.

We could talk a lot more about this new project, but I hope to come back to see how they are doing, what changes they have made and enjoy with them their spring party in May.

If you want to sign up, here is this link: Lucero urban garden blog

All the best !

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