Norwalk is now home to Fairfield County's first municipal tree farm.
The garden at Fodor Farm will nurse trees that will eventually be planted throughout Norwalk -- and they'll be nursed on solar energy.
"There is a 200-watt solar panel on the roof of the shed," says Dan Landau, president of the Norwalk Tree Alliance. "That's connected to a pump that pumps irrigation water into the pots."
Landau says the pumps are on a timer set to run about 10 to 15 minuts per day. He says the 110 gallon rain barrels at the farm should hold plenty of water to make the farm self-sustaining.
"About 100 gallons should last 20 days," he says. "And we rarely go 20 days without rain in this part of Connecticut, so we should be okay refilling the rain barrels."
The tree farm was made possible by an $8,000 grant from Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Chris Donnelly, DEEP coordinator of urban forestry, says tree farms like the one in Norwalk help the urban ecosystem function better.
"It's a much tighter system," he says of the solar-powered irrigation system.
Landau says he expects the trees currently being nursed to grow to about 6' in three to five years. Then, he says, they will be ready to be planted in city schoolyards or along city streets.