Friday, December 21, 2012

The Shortest Day

Leeks, strawberries, and kale in my front yard on the shortest day in 2012.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Detroit, Part 4

Potato plants carry on the automotive industry tradition!
The building in the background is unfortunately now a see-through building.  Because the city's ash trees are dying due to the Emerald Ash Borer, the city uses this now vacant land as a tree nursery for future transplants.

Nearby, surrounded by an expanse of lawn, there were raised beds and this long row of tomatoes, for selling at a market.

With another view of the butterfly and thistle, we now say goodbye to the Detroit blogs. Seeing the empty expanses and the endeavours to grow food in Detroit had quite an impact on me.  Cities are all so different, and they change and evolve.  I wonder what is ahead for Vancouver with all its high-end construction--what will survive and be viable in the future global economy?  If you want to learn more about Detroit, link here:   Urban Roots

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Detroit, Part 3

Hope Takes Root is a community garden in the North Corktown neighbourhood. It is one of the older community gardens in the city, originally started in a different site and in its current location since 2002.
This structure collects rain water, essential in the summer.
Hoops, not in use right now, with the water structure in the background.

I liked this creative metal gate.  Beyond it is their bee hive project, helpful to all nearby gardens.  Click here for a video on their active bee hives 
Hope Takes Root, again!
A variety of things are grown here, hops, the usual vegetables, and even apples!

Bikes are a practical way to get around in this depopulated neighbourhood that is lacking the public transit a more populated area would require.  We saw bike racks like these in this garden as well as in a number of other places.
Watch for Detroit, Part 4!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Detroit, Part 2

In the distance behind other growth, you can see corn, beans, and squash (the "three sisters").  One could imagine that years ago, before there was a Detroit, native people grew these same plants near this plot.

 Peppers, tomatoes, and squash are found in this greenhouse.
This corner lot was very neatly kept, but the surprise was the ground cover--it is purslane.  I would never have imagined letting this deeply-rooted weed sprawl, but it probably helps the soil retain moisture.
 Here is a close-up of the purslane.

Watch for Detroit, Part 3!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Detroit, Part 1

We spent the morning of August 20 exploring one of the depopulated areas of Detroit.  I wanted to see the urban gardens and farms that have been created there.  Uninhabited derelict houses have been removed, and in some areas grass has been planted and is mowed.  Other areas have been left to grow wild.  Streets are deserted, and it is very quiet like being in the countryside, despite seeing buildings in the distance.  The infrastructure is crumbling.  It was eerie to think of all the working people in those neighbourhood, now gone along with their homes. Where are they now?

A back lane, soon to disappear.
The sidewalk disappears into the wilderness.
A crumbling sidewalk, but trimmed and weed-free!  This was next to an extensive corner garden.

In case anyone has views to remodel, this house is an example of why not.  Perhaps it is still standing because someone lived in it until recently.
But even the wild plants, and perhaps especially the wild plants, attract great insects!  I came across this scene in one of the gardens.

Watch for Part 2!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chickens in Dunbar Area?

After seeing all the backyard chickens while on the Ballard garden tour, I wondered about chickens here in Vancouver but thought it unlikely there would be any in the Dunbar area.  However, a visitor to my garden tipped me off to several places where I might find some.  I snapped a photo through a picket fence catching this chicken that lives in a backyard with at least one other chicken one half block from "downtown" Dunbar:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not...the Ballard Edible Garden Tour

Walking on the Ballard Edible Garden Tour, it was difficult not to be distracted by front-yard veggie gardens that were not part of the tour.  Obviously, more breeds more, and creativity to grow edibles in small spaces abounds in Ballard.

Looking more closely at the above raised bed, I spotted slug deterrents glued onto the top of the boards.  Two questions: how much copper is really in those pennies, and should we collect our pennies for this purpose in Canada (since pennies will soon no longer made)?

I close these 4 blog entries on Ballard with a cafe sign in Ballard honoring the happy chickens of the area:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ballard Edible Garden Tour, Part 3

The rain started to come down, so we could not explore this garden adequately.  The backyard has well-built raised beds with drip irrigation and supports for climbing plants.  Not seen is their "fence" of dwarf espaliered apple trees.  Similar to a couple other gardens, there is a toddler, willing to work.
Across the street is a curious area, also on the tour.  A large area is under construction for raised beds and a public park.  The City of Seattle bought the plot from a church which had died out due to celibacy rules.  This will be one of Seattle's P-Patches.  I would love to return later to see how this unusual open space develops.  More information here

By now we were huddling under our hoods because it was raining in earnest.  This last garden utilizes every bit of space on the boulevard all around their corner lot.  Both ornamental and edible plants are thickly planted, and you can see that "lettuce loves strawberries". 

Pots clamped onto a side fence grow attractive lettuce.

See the beads of water on this sign? 
Watch for a "NOT" Ballard Edible Garden Tour blog, coming up next!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ballard Edible Garden Tour, Part 2

I did not get a photo of the chickens, but they were free roaming in the back yard which is why this garden features a fence with chicken wire.  The hoops in this garden are covered with plastic over the winter, thus the large beet plants.  In the third photo, you can see the garlic patch in the far back.  A very thriving garden thanks to both chicken and goat manure. We liked the freshly-baked cookies that were for sale!

A work of art is how I would describe the following garden.  Not only are the paths organized neatly with chipped wood, there are special ornamental plants to attract pollinators, and there are attractive artifacts.  I especially liked the pump and the decorative "tea cup" piece.  The gardener has active worm compost bins (in an area outside the fenced garden), and uses the compost to enhance the soil. Photos cannot do justice to this lovely garden spot.  Note straw used as a mulch--this is commonly seen in Ballard.

I wished that I had asked about the hardware cloth used to frame some of the beds.  Perhaps slugs don't like the metal?

In this third garden, I was intrigued by their use of old bricks for a path on the boulevard.  Using a wedge, the bricks were split in half, making them easier to form into interesting patterns, and the split side is face up.  More brick is used in the backyard.  But the gardener noted that if the filling between the bricks is permeable, weeds are inevitable. 

In the backyard an artichoke is growing--I saw several on the tour. This may have been the gardener who said that his chickens even ate the poisonous rhubarb leaves!  But the chickens do more than peck away at the greenery and lay eggs--their manure is an important ingredient in the composting in this garden.

Watch for Part 3!