August 27, 2015
Path construction was the biggest volunteer effort for FECO to date. Seventeen hard-working volunteers donated a total of 117 hours moving 40 cubic yards of gravel last Saturday and Sunday. Volunteer hours to prep for excavation, including the construction of the retaining wall, totaled 50. This does not include all the hours spent on planning and research!
The path layout is based on the community adopted architectural design for the orchard space. Neighbors wanted a functional, simple path that was pleasant for walking and would allow for easy movement of dirt, chips and water. We also wanted a long path that looped so people could preview the orchard without hitting a dead-end.
Accessibility was a big part of the design. The path is 575 linear feet and the narrowest part of the path is 40″. The accessible garden bed area, a water spigot, the shed and the public plaza area are all tied together with a 60″ wide path, making it negotiable for people using wheel chairs and walkers.
Those with mobility challenges are best served if the path does not slope more than 5% along it’s length or more than 2% from side to side. We are fortunate to have fairly level ground but we needed a retaining wall in the north end to keep the side-to-side slope small.
An operator of a mini-excavator, and two hard workers using shovels, professionally excavated the path. In five hours, they excavated and edged 40 cubic yards of dirt! The dirt remains on the premises, to be used for future garden beds.
Filling in the path with gravel was all done by volunteers. Three workers had fun commanding a walk-behind loader; a gas powered tracked wheelbarrow and a plate compactor. Other tools used were landscape rakes, shovels and six regular wheelbarrows. The rock was misted with water before compaction.
Seventy feet of this path tend to be swampy in the winter. In this area, we added a woven geotextile fabric to enclose the crushed rock. We hope the fabric will hold the rock together and also prevent muddy boots.
Every person’s contribution was critical to this flawless effort. Congratulations to all who helped out.
We will now move on to garden bed construction, trellises, benches, plants and seeds, tools, art an entry way and signs.