Friday, January 24, 2014

Urban Gardens of San Francisco

   It's nice to find peaceful gardens in the midst of a busy metropolis. While traveling to San Francisco I found a few urban gardens.  

     The first one was tucked in the back of an average park.  There is a large range of plants that are kept by kids in an after-school program.

      I ran into a neat "Mini-park," while on the way to another community garden.   It was surprising to see how much variety was between two large condos!  

       After traveling further, I found a neat strip of community organized gardens.  The lady there said it was originally part of a homeless employment program, however that program was shut down and it is now a garden the local residents keep up.  It seems like a good way to get people outside and working together.

      I ran into this garden on the walk back.  It was at a school with a large lemon tree, that fruit on it in January!  It is neat to see that even in a big city, youth are learning in nature.

      Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Winter Update

    The cold season is in and the leaves have nearly all fallen.  This is a good time for planting leafy greens, onions, garlic, broccoli and other frost tolerant plants.  Last month I cleared out the beds and turned them with compost, leaves, and chicken droppings/hay.  The ground is softer now and has fewer deep-rooted weeds.

   A few weeks ago I planted arugula, beets, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, and peas.   Between the hens eating them and the nights where it got really cold they are stunted to say the least.
Instead I began to focus on weed removal and making a few more beds.

   Recently I just planted some red lettuce and blue broccoli from the local nursery; as seen in the photo.

   The lettuce is an heirloom variety called Red Romaine. Red lettuce seems to do well in frost and is very flavorful.  I'm hoping the broccoli will help keep the frost away from the lettuce once it grows larger.

   No-till gardening is becoming easier the more I dig in.  There are some things I've learned that make a huge difference.  First, let the ground work for you; instead of exhausting yourself with digging up a clay bed, pile organic material over it and water it for a few months.  Once the ground is softer then dig the leaves or mulch into the clay.

   Second, make sure to water any compost or organic matter you wish to activate;  by activate I mean bring to life.  The process of composting is done by a mix of factors, we mainly think of worms.  There are a lot of other insects, bacteria, etc. that play a part in the decomposition of soil.  They need plenty of water to remain present and flourish.

  As I go through the dirt, I set aside any fair sized rocks in one of the paths; to help roots grow more freely and to get fewer misshaped carrots or onions.  I'm looking forward to the warmer season with longer days.  That's all for now.  Thanks for reading and best of luck with the garden!