Envision individuals with few resources and limited opportunities being given the chance to do meaningful work, help contribute to a community that respects them, and grow lots of healthy vegetables (we know gardening is therapeutic). What a great social enterprise, right?
Then garden so effectively in limited space in an urban environment and harvest so much food you can make it available not only to individuals at farmers markets, but also to local restaurants. Lots of them. And do it all in a financially self-sustaining manner. That’s not possible, right? Oh but it is. Continue reading →
‘Tis the season to begin considering your garden, and potatoes are a good place to start. If you missed the recent workshop on growing potatoes in a sack (complete with said sack and potatoes) it’s not to late to get the skinny on how what conditions create the best results.
“Aside from hilling up, here are our top five tips for tip top potatoes:
Plant potatoes in full sun, and avoid freshly limed beds. Potatoes like slightly acid soil with a pH of 6.0 – 6.8. Organic matter in the soil will improve your crop, but use well rotted compost or dig in a cover crop the previous fall. Avoid fresh manure.
Once you plant your potatoes, don’t water them until after you see the plants sprout above ground. This will help to prevent soil diseases from affecting your crop. Once they’re growing, keep your potato plot evenly moist, particularly once the plants begin to bloom.
For fresh eating of baby or “new” potatoes, wait until the plants are in bloom. That’s usually a good indication that an early summer harvest is ready.
For storage potatoes, wait until the plants wither and turn brown, and then leave them in the soil for a further 3 weeks as their skins firm up. Harvest them for storage if there’s a threat of very cold or very wet weather.
Store potatoes in a cold, dark place, above freezing, with good ventilation. You can brush soil off your harvested spuds, but don’t wash them – the extra moisture is not good for storage. Check your stored potatoes frequently throughout winter, and remove any that are turning soft or looking mouldy.”
Two women in East Vancouver have banded together — and brought their neighbourhood together — over the shared efforts of gardening.
Dubbed the “Two-Block Diet,” neighbours Kate Sutherland and Julia Hilton have started a neighbourhood food revolution and with it cultivated a community, barn-raising bond with the people who have joined them. In a busy city with busy lives I’ll bet they would never have otherwise met, despite the fact they all live a stone’s throw from each other.
The Two-Block Diet showcases all that I believe is great about how food brings people together and builds community. Read the full, Vancouver Sun article and be inspired to create your own Two-Block Diet and neighbourhood network.
The only way to get more local than a Two-Block diet is to have a garden in your own back yard!
Last week I blogged about being able to grow things anywhere, after seeing a canoe garden in a quiet residential alley not far from my community garden.
If you don’t have a canoe but you do have say, an old truck, that can work too. From the duo who brought us King Corn, learn how to “teach an old dodge new tricks” in this trailer for the upcoming Truck Farm movie. It’s kinda crazy and a whole lot of fun.
You can find additional Farm Truck clips on the Wicked Delicate YouTube channel.
Here’s a great — and extreme — example of a family taking ownership of their food supply. It’s proof that even a small amount of land can give us much more than we may imagine is possible. Be inspired!
We have a great community garden program here in Vancouver, BC but there are always more people who want to garden than there are available plots. I’d love to see more people with land share it with the people who want to garden. If you’re interested, check out Sharing Backyards.
I grew a beautiful plump head of cabbage and was waiting for the mood for soup to strike before harvesting it. However, before I could get there, it was stolen from my community garden plot. They planned ahead and seemed experience. They’d brought a knife, and it was a clean slice that took only the head and left the outer leaves.
If the individual in question was truly hungry, I’m happy to have my cabbage go to a good cause — though apparently even the starving don’t like Brussel sprouts, as these remained untouched.
I had a tarp go missing as well. My thought is that if someone is truly hungry enough to take a cabbage, then maybe they are exposed to the elements on a daily basis and the tarp will aid in keeping them dry.
I enjoy urban gardening for the sense of community it builds with my neighbours, for the fun I have mucking about in the dirt, and for the delight in every bit of harvest. Especially the warm, juicy, bright red tomatoes that ripen on the vine.
However, there’s a much bigger impact on the state of our food security, one that I don’t really think about as I’m fussing over seedlings or harvesting peas. Alone I’m just a small drop in the bucket, but together we make a difference.
The community garden plot is well underway, but it will be a while before there’s any harvest to show for all the water lugged to sustain it.
Meanwhile, the original, tri-plot, “borrowed” garden has continued to produce plenty of healthy kitchen goodies. My last harvest of July included my first crop of cauliflower. It doesn’t look “normal” but it cooked up just fine in my super supper stirfry.
The stirfry included the cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, green beans, kale, cabbage, and a variety of herbs from my balcony garden.
In fact, the only thing in the dish pictured that didn’t come from my garden are the red and yellow mini sweet peppers, which came from the farmers market last weekend.