August 30, 2012
To me this image says Urban because it combines an ornamental plant, Euphorbia, with an edible plant, Artichoke. It is an example of how, even in a small urban space, we can plant gardens that are both interesting, unique, useful and practical.
June 1, 2012
This is my entry for this week’s photo challenge. It means summer to me because I love mixing edibles in with my flower beds and I find that artichokes look particularly good in a perennial bed. I love the way their leaves are structured. And I love artichokes!
April 16, 2012
Martina Fugazzotto, who has a blog entitled farmtina, has a post on her site written by her mom. Apparently her mom knows about some very interesting ways to use seaweed in the garden.
If you go here you will have the chance to be enlightened, as I was, about how to use seaweed to keep down weeds, repel slugs and restore nutrients without adding too much salt to the soil.
April 12, 2012
In many underprivileged neighborhoods there is an inadequate supply of healthy food. Due to (often mistaken) preconceptions about crime rates, insurance, shoplifting, and vandalism, chain supermarkets are reluctant to open stores in these areas.
As a result, many people who live in these neighborhoods are forced to rely on local corner stores which carry mostly overpriced, unhealthy food.
Sister and brother Alison and Alphonzo Cross are trying to put an end to that in Atlanta with a new venture, The Boxcar Grocer. According to its co-founders, The Boxcar Grocer is “at the intersection of food justice and high concept retail.” In other words, it is testament to the fact that you can have a corner store in an urban area that provides healthy food choices to those with limited transportation options.
The Boxcar Grocer gets much of its produce from growers in and around the city of Atlanta. There is great information, including videos, on the Community page of their web site about some of the farmers they work with.
As the Cross team puts it, “with community support, we will have a thriving model of convenience store retail that successfully unifies the ideals of the larger environmental and food movements with the needs and voices of diverse urban communities such as Castleberry Hill, Mechanicsville and the West End areas of Atlanta.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
April 4, 2012
Have stuff to compost but no actual place to compost? Go to FindAComposter.com, enter your location and compost centers will magically appear on your computer screen.
As for keeping the stuff to compost until you get to the compost site you have a couple of options. As we don’t have much counter or under the sink space I put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. But if you have a bigger kitchen there are all kinds of small, kitchen top and under the counter compost pails with charcoal and other kinds of filters that work well.
March 30, 2012
What struck me about these planters is not only their beauty but their dedication to craftsmanship. The planters are made from hand sanded porcelain, the straps are vegetable tan leather, a type pf leather that is strong and smooth, and connected to the planters with a solid brass screw.
Because the planters don’t have drainage holes I suggest filling the bottoms with a few inches of gravel and planting with something that doesn’t mind having slightly damp roots. Mint is a plant that comes to mind. It is very easy to grow, smells great and you can cook with it. Iris versicolor is another as are various kinds of Wood Sorrel (Oxalis), which is pictured below.
If you like these planters you should look at Farrah’s other designs at her web site.
March 29, 2012
In Austin, TX there is a tradition of food trucks. To me they kind of look like a cross between a trailer home, a submarine, and the take out window at a fast food joint. But a lot of brick and mortar restaurants get their start as food trucks and you can get a lot of good food at the trucks.
The general path is to start with a truck and move on to a restaurant. One man, however, went kind of backwards. He had a restaurant and then started a food truck. That man is Hoover Alexander.
After several years of running Hoover’s Cooking, a Tex-Mex restaurant, Hoover began to feel disconnected from the passion he had previously had for cooking. He felt as though he was getting away from his roots; from the way his family had taught him to cook according to the seasons using every part of the animal, fish or vegetable you were cooking with.
In an effort to get himself back on track he planted a garden. It was this garden that led to the idea of opening a food truck serving veggie-centric, locally sourced food.
I recently ate there and the food was terrific. For those of you who live in Austin I highly recommend a trip.
Hoover’s Soular Food is located at:
1110 East. 12th St.
March 22, 2012
A few miles from downtown Seattle a group of civic-minded people are working hard to build the Beacon Food Forest, “a land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.”
The goal of the group is to create an area that will provide a variety of food for the community while requiring a minimum of maintenance. Fruit and nut trees, a variety of berries plus other perennial and annual vegetables will all be planted in the edible forest. Harrison Design is the landscape architect company that did the schematic for the Forest you see below.
The Food Forest’s mission is not only to feed the community but also bring the community closer together and raise awareness of issues like climate change. There are, of course, challenges such as not having a small group of people take a large portion of the spoils. But I commend the Beacon Food Forest group for taking on this endeavor and wish them the best of luck.
If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in volunteering or getting more information go here.
I was driving down the road yesterday on my way to the park since the weather has been so wonderful lately and I heard a really great story on NPR about wicking garden beds. I can't believe I have learned about two great gardening options this year for our Texas heat that I had never heard of before. You can read about…
March 19, 2012
I don’t know how many of you have read my About Me page, but on that page I describe myself as a ‘lover of all things stone.’ I love the look of stone and the feel of stone; I love prepping the site to lay stone or to build a stone wall. Stone is hard but malleable. It can look old and new; beautiful, rough, sleek and ancient all at the same time if worked by the right hands.
Casey Lynch and his brother Nate have built some very impressive stone walls through their landscaping firm Special Additions Landscaping. They also have a blog called thegardenzealot.com. When I happened across it, I found myself taking more than a few minutes to admire their work.
The wall above was built completely with found stone in Otis Orchards, WA and features a flower design in the center. It is a dry stack wall meaning no mortar was used. Instead it was built by meticulously finding the right stones for the right spaces and putting one on top of the other until a sound structure emerged.
The image below features three raised bed gardens, two stone and one cedar. The post on thegardenzealot.com with information on these beds also has a link to a chart on Urban Garden Solutions that shows you how much more you can grow in the same amount of space in a raised bed.
Also look out for their print magazine titled The Garden Zealot coming soon.