Thursday, September 23, 2010

Raised Herb Garden on the Boulevard

A big thank you to Buddy and his owner (SG) who walks him for spotting this lovely raised bed in a block right off Dunbar Street and pointing it out to me. The front yard is shady, but this raised bed on the boulevard is very sunny and quite productive. The height is about 16 inches, so it is easy to maintain.

I love how the thyme hangs over the south edge, and I couldn't resist taking a photo of the flowering rosemary. And for the herbally challenged, here alongside basil is a tangle of rosemary, lavender, and tarragon:

For those who want the details, here is what I saw growing: leeks, Swiss chard, sunflowers, lavender, basil, fennel, dill, a strawberry, bay laurel, tarragon, and several varieties each of sage, rosemary, and thyme. If this isn't remarkable enough for such a small plot, there may have been more earlier in the season, plus I may have missed something! Think about how good the food must be at that house, with all these fresh herbs available, most of which are perennials.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mushrooms in the Front Yard

When it rains and rains and rains, can a good thing come of it? Today I saw some fun results of this dreadful fall weather--mushrooms abound in our front yard--I counted 10 different kinds (although I could be mistaken because as the mushrooms mature, they change character). Here they are:

A postscript for those who want to know more: The last (10th) mushroom pictured is an Amanita muscaria, my favorite for its striking beauty and one which I'll be looking for daily in the next while. The 9th one is prolific in our front yard; I don't know how many there were or what they are called, so if you know, please comment. The 8th one is a sort of puff ball, and they are fairly common in our yard as well. The other mushrooms are much smaller, some quite small. Years ago we had boletus edulis, introduced to me by a knowledgeable woman from Eastern European who was searching for them under the birch trees of our street. We ate some ourselves! I have not seen them on my property for many years and probably will not because the birch tree in front of our yard was removed in 2007, which is where they like to live. I did see a large specimen in the next block last week. Perhaps some of the 10 types pictured could be safely eaten, but the last one is a poison. Mushrooms are most prolific in gardens of benign neglect, i.e., where no lime or fertilizer has been added and vegetation has been left to decompose.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Collingwood Street Garden

Taking a walk along Collingwood Street, it's a pleasure to come across four raised beds between the sidewalk and street because they are so attractive, with both flowers and vegetables. The raised beds are constructed with one-inch boards, a cheaper alternative than two-inch boards; I'm also using some one-inch boards in raised beds in my back yard and wondering what their life span will be, maybe 8-10 years?

Here's a good-sized squash (along with a fall mushroom), and as of early September, a pea pod was still growing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Hot Garden

I recently revisited a children's boulevard garden that was new last year, growing pumpkins and sunflowers. (The blog of August 9, 2009 shows the colorful "namestones" that the children made to decorate their garden.) This year, the pumpkin vines are slinking over to the street, and there is the addition of corn to the plot.

If you look carefully, beyond the corn, you can see a couple of black disks.

These recycled vinyl recordings that have been decorated by the children and planted in their 2010 garden!
The summer got a bit hot for this vinyl!

Apartment Gardening Plots

Read this article about renters' transformation of ugly pieces of land around their apartment building into productive vegetable plots. Bravo, Sara and the rest of the renters! The article is in the last week's issue of the WestEnder, WE.