Posts Tagged ‘Urban Gardening’

More Signs of Spring

The winds of change are blowing strong, and early flowers bob and whirl their colors around the yard. Here are a few recent photos, including hints of cherry blossoms, hellebores (thank you, Karen!), early giant hyacinths, Siberian squill, forsythia and the first daffodil to bloom. Enjoy!

Siberian squill

Many seeds I planted outside on Spring Equinox finally have sprouts. I also started some less hardy crops indoors on the weekend. They’re sprouting, too. In these early days of Spring little signs of life inspire faith in those larger winds of change. All these flowers also feed early pollinators in search of a yard. 🙂

Les Urbainculteurs

I’ve posted before about Todmorden, England, but I had no idea Quebec was doing so much with urban edibles! This is fantastic and really inspiring to see a city so committed to food security, beauty and empowering locals. Other cities could easily copy this model, and I hope they do!

Les Urbanculture uses the Big Bag Beds and Smart Pots I mentioned Continue reading

Converting Lawns to Gardens: Nature’s Harvest Permaculture Urban Farm

In case it’s not obvious: I completely agree with everything shared in this post. Transform our lawns, transform ourselves, transform our communities. I experience this daily, as I’m out front, meeting neighbors walking their dogs, talking with the next door neighbors as I plant, mulch or weed, having micro-visits with David’s dad as he stops by on his errand runs.

Front yard gardens definitely start conversations, and yes, they are contagious. I know more and more people planting fruit trees and tearing up their lawns. OK, so maybe I called a bunch of people when I saw non-GMO fruit trees on sale at Tractor Supply Co. Maybe I emailed our Transition Goshen team. In any case, a little bit of encouragement and some bold plantings do change everything, season by season.

This post gives excellent advice about getting started on transforming your own yard from a resource sink to a productive source of joy and beauty. Happy planting!

The Druid's Garden

Design of Nature's Harvest Permaculture Farm Design of Nature’s Harvest Permaculture Farm – Beautiful, biointensive, productive.

Over the years, I’ve done quite a bit of coverage about lawn issues, as I really do believe that the lawn can be one of the primary sites of transformation and change for ordinary Americans and others in the Western industrialized world. Not only can the lawn be transformed from a consumptive space to a productive one for growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers to benefit humans and other life, but it can be a site of personal reconnection and healing with our landscape.

This is because the lawn is the single piece of nature that the bulk of people, living outside of big cities, encounter on a daily or weekly basis. If we can transform the lawn, we can transform ourselves.

This is why I am so excited about this post–through the example of Nature’s Harvest Urban Permaculture Farm…

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Winter Gardening Ideas

Here’s John Kohler, whose garden I have visited and tasted (amazingly yummy inspiration to grow your own food!), giving a tour of his Northern California winter garden. If you live in a cooler climate than Sonoma County, then now would be the time to start growing some of the things he mentions. This video just reminded me to get some miner’s lettuce seeds to plant under trees. $6 /pound or free and reseeding as “weeds”? Um, yum! I’ll take the miner’s lettuce. 🙂 You can also mimic a warmer climate by getting floating row covers and cold frames.

Inspiring Urban (Rental) Homestead in the Desert

Urban Homestead Grows Fruits, Vegetables & Animals in the Desert

John Kohler visits and tours a Las Vegas rental property, sharing tons of clever ideas for growing in less than ideal climate and circumstances. I cannot believe how much food this guy has growing in a small place! Whenever I’ve visited Las Vegas, I’ve felt assaulted by the arid heat. This little duplex must feel like a complete oasis in the desert, and you’d never know how much he has going on there just looking at the front of the house. Definitely worth a watch if you live in the desert or somewhere “too hot to grow anything.” I enjoyed it even though I no longer live in the desert, in part because I once tried gardening in Northern New Mexico and gave up when I realized what an “impossible” task it would be. If you know what you’re doing … or even if you’re willing to experiment … you can do just about anything these days. 🙂

DIY Food Department: Urban Gardens Deepen and Diversify

I love this! It is happening, folks. Get in on the action, wherever you are, however you can. I just read that as of January 1, 2014, the US and Japan are allowed to sell each other’s “organic” produce without labeling origins. Um, Fukushima area has loads of organic farms. Personally, I would prefer to grow my own. You don’t need to have an insanely wild yard that takes all your time to transform into permaculture paradise. You could start with a small plot of square foot gardening, a window garden, community garden space, neighborhood yardshare, or a Garden Tower. With food prices set to skyrocket, you probably won’t get a better return on investment than fresh, free produce grown by you. Next best and equally important? Support your local organic farmers. Buy directly if you can, through CSA’s and at the local farmers market. These folks work so hard to provide us fresh, real food. We need to support them if we want to continue having such options. Bon Appetit!

Towards revisioning and appreciating “ruderal” (abandoned) urban landscapes

This is a fascinating and mind-opening article for anyone dealing with “weeds.” I’ve reblogged Ann’s post, because I appreciate her comments, but the rest of the article requires a click thru. I will say that my research has led to the same conclusion about “invasives” having medicinal properties. Japanese Knotweed, for example, is almost as difficult to get rid of as Lyme Disease … and lo and behold, Japanese Knotweed tends to “invade” Lyme endemic areas. Its resveratrol offers one of the most helpful remedies for Lyme Disease — in part due to the biochemistry, but, I believe, also due to the tough character of the plant, which mimics Lyme’s ability to take hold and overwhelm.

Of course, I type this after a morning spent observing our yard, hand removing all traces of garlic mustard and plucking the yellow dandelion flowers before they become thousands of dandelion seeds — and before I go dig up dandelions from my asparagus bed. I appreciate dandelions — in the wild section of the yard. Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed the contemplative observation of various ecosystems in our yard, as the dandelion plucking forces me to look carefully at what’s growing where — and to ponder why. “Weeds” tell us a lot about soil conditions, and they help remedy imbalances. Nature also works in trades. I plant many flowers I do want in exchange for removing the dandelion heads before they go to seed. Watching this quasi-urban, quasi-industrial, quasi-suburban yard transform tickles me to no end. Last week, a yard helper noted that the scary looking “weeds” I meant to pull were peonies. Who knows what beauty lurks in unfamiliar forms and unusual locations?

Urban Homestead Available Near Salt Lake City, UT

I don’t know this woman, but I’ve followed her delightful blog for quite sometime. Apparently, she and her family are moving, which leaves their urban 1 acre homestead ready made for anyone with an interest in such things near Salt Lake City. Have a look if you or someone you know feels led to this sort of lifestyle … or, just check out her ever informative and entertaining blog! Cheers …

Urban Permaculture and Community Space

My friend, Nicole — a yoga instructor, doula, certified permaculture designer, and all around groovy, heart centered woman — and the Prairie Wolf Collective from Elkhart are doing some amazing things in their neighborhood! As a service and a vision, they’ve begun modeling urban permaculture and cooperative housing in a severely run down area of Elkhart County.

I’ve mentioned before our area’s strange mix of extreme talent and vision right alongside some of the worst poverty in the nation. Just this morning, my dad sent me an article about how Goshen ranks #3 in the top 10 cities where poverty is soaring. This project in the nearby city of Elkhart highlights the need and the creativity mixed with dedication that many local visionaries feel called to pour into loving and innovative solutions.

I hope you enjoy Nicole’s narration of this video, and if you feel led, please consider donating a little to their cause — money, prayers, time … spreading the word, whatever you feel led to do. If we can transform and heal things in Elkhart County, then things can be transformed and healed anywhere. This grassroots collective of concerned neighbors and dedicated young people can become a model for what’s possible.

Here’s the link to their indiegogo campaign: click here. In addition to various rewards/thank you’s for levels of donation, you’ll also find photos and much more inspiring information about what’s happening in the rust belt Heartland of America.

How to Utilize Every Square Inch: Radical Home Economics on 1/12 acre and a 900 Square Foot Home

Thanks, Ann!

Self-Reliance in L.A.

“Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne have been farming their yard in Los Angeles for over a decade. In addition to a mini orchard and extensive veggie garden, they have all the instruments of an urban homestead: chickens, bees, rainwater capture, DIY greywater, solar fruit preserver, humanure toilet, rocket stove, adobe oven. But they don’t like to talk about sustainability of self-sufficiency, instead they prefer the term self-reliance.

“‘I don’t like the goal of self-sufficiency, I think it’s a fool’s errand to chase that goal,’ explains Knutzen. ‘I think we live in communities, human beings are meant to live, and trade and work together. I think self-reliance is okay, in other words, knowing how to do things.’

“Knutzen and Coyne share their tinkering, DIY and small scale urban agriculture experiments on their blog Root Simple and in their books ‘The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City’ and ‘Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World.’ They believe in the value of shop classes and old-school home economics (back when you learned how to make things, not shop for things).

“For the couple, their true goal with all of this self-reliance is freedom to live as they please. By growing their own and canning, pickling, preserving, freezing and baking their own breads and beans, they live frugally. They also only own one car (plus a cargo bike), one cellphone and no tv. ‘I think a lot of it has to do with our overdriving ambition to be free,’ explains Coyne, ‘makes being cheap fun, because it means you can be free.'”

Root Simple:

Original story:…

*Cameraman Johnny Sanphillippo also films for the site Strong Towns: