Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's Growing in December?

The days are lengthening! With the current warmer spell, after the freezing weather in November and early December, some plants are looking more alive. Things to look for in these photos of front yard, boulevard, and lane gardens all taken in the Dunbar and Point Grey area of Vancouver: winter protection (or not), carrots, chicory, kale, kale, kale, cabbage, leeks, rye grass cover crop, green and red mustard, mâche, Brussels sprouts, radicchio, a blueberry bush, poppy seedlings.
This garden is known for nary a weed, but with the repetition of plants, I'm beginning to suspect that a fancy restaurant gets those tender greens.
A closer look at the radicchio:I know that this front-yard garden is a market garden:
And so is this large productive one, on the south-facing slope at the corner of Blenheim and West 41st Avenue, only a small portion of which is shown here:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vancouver Edible Gardens Project on West 35th Avenue: A Young Teenager's Project

The Vancouver Foundation provided funds for this Generation Green project in the age category of 13 to 17. On West 35th Avenue in Vancouver a number of residents have one, two, or even three uniform wooden planter boxes on their boulevard. I first spotted them on July 1. I spoke to one resident on the block who expressed disapproval of the disruption of the continuous flow of grassy boulevards in this staid and traditional neighbourhood. Even I was skeptical, not for that reason since I approve of changing the way we use urban land, but whether there would be much productivity from these modestly sized planters. But, see for yourself; here are photos of a box of onion plants taken on July 10 and September 4:
In September, there were boxes flourishing with beans, carrots, and a brassica of some kind, and, in November, peas.

One home has three such planters. You can see the growth of plants and replanting between July 10 and November 3:

In early November, the boxes featured three stages of kale, a good choice for this tree-shaded street. This type of kale usually winters over here; however, these boxes above the ground are more susceptible to the cold. We'll see!
Or maybe these are radish seedlings!

However, I was proven wrong on the productivity! Even though the planters are insufficient to provide any level of food security for this block, the modest size has proven to be successful, perhaps because it is not an overwhelming venture. It also provides the opportunity for neighbours to get to know each other and exchange gardening advice. This provides another kind of security for the neighbourhood. Read more here about this successful and inventive teen project.