Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Paper vs Plastic? How about Basket vs Canvas?

OK, we’ve had our first couple of frosts and a long Thanksgiving holiday. Work in the garden has slowed quite a bit. Perhaps we can take a moment for a bit of a debate around the fire? Or more simply put for the purposes of this blog: which route is the better one to take – Local or Organic? Of course, the ideal answer to that question is BOTH! But what about those times when you really do need to make a choice? Not many of us here in the Piedmont are growing our own wheat for bread, for example, and our seafood, though kinda local (regional really), mostly gets here from the coast. Thanksgiving at my house included lots of locally raised and organic selections, but not all were, by any means. So what’s a responsible omnivore to do? Not exactly The Omnivore’s Dilemma (thank you, Michael Pollan!) I know, but a question that seems to keep coming up in our food discussions.

Urban winter garden with beet sprouts and onion transplants

In this blog, of course, the “basket” refers to harvesting out of our own backyards, small farms or community gardens (yay, Dunleith!) and “canvas” seems to be the bag of choice at the local organic food store (well, maybe at the local farmers’ market, too, but you get the idea). Many of us who grew this year, took great advantage of all of the good fresh choices that came out of our gardens. Some of us even canned, froze or otherwise processed some of that goodness in preparation for the long winter ahead. But now that Fall is here, the fresh-out-of-the-garden selections are, in most cases, fewer and less diverse. What’s a person to do? Continue reading

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Urban Farms, the new solution

Urban planners have recently released statistics on the large-scale decrease in American farmland:  http://www.hobbyfarms.com/farm-industry-news/2010/05/20/2007-national-resources-inventory.aspx

Not surprisingly, as a growing number of Americans are living in and around city centers agricultural focus has shifted to populated urban areas . Residents in cities have made things clear : they have several innate needs … water, housing, parking, and food. We are Americans who are grouchy if we have to wait in lines, sweaty if our ac doesn’t work, and ticked off if our stomachs are empty.

In order to cater to these demands, urban planners have shifted focus to a diversify development in order to create diverse and rich micro-environment within industrial areas.  Nowadays, agriculture and businesses can be seen through a dual-focus lens rather than separate entities.

skyline of downtown Greensboro

Food production within a city locale is not only a viable option but perhaps a lasting solution as city’s increasingly fall to the category of  “food desert”.

The loss of American farmland is not synonymous with an end to American food production. It is simply a transition linked to our progression as a country. Just as we trade in Suvs for cars with better gas-mileage, we shift food production to better serve its target market or community (in this case, cities).

Food meets City: the Edible Schoolyard in downtown Greensboro.

Food meets City: the Edible Schoolyard in downtown Greensboro.

With that said, one may find that as the amount of rural farmland fades,  cities will be faced with the responsibility of providing food for the urban dwellers within it! How exciting!

To find out more about Urban Harvest and urban farming initiatives in North Carolina feel free to contact urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com

http://www.urbanharvest-gso.com/

Nip in the Air

Fall is here! As sweaters are being pulled out of the closet and soups are being prepared, I wanted to take a quick moment to thank all of the people that have helped us make it this far. Dawn, Justin, and I would not have been able to make it this far without the help of the entire community of Greensboro. From volunteer groups in the garden like the Montagnard-Dega Association and community advocates, to our Advisory Board and the Aycock Historic District, we are thankful for all who have lent a helping hand to bring local, food production back to our city. Thank you for your support and your efforts both in the garden and throughout Greensboro.

Late Spring Veggies.

The garden looks just about as full right now, as I’d expect it to in August. But spring has just as much abundance as autumn and much more enthusiasm with the budding life and the refreshingly warm air. It has a few more months before the warmth turns stale and the air becomes stagnant.  No, right now the abundance is with the cleansing greens of spinach, chard and lettuce. Even the herbs, which we’re pairing with everything from salad to spaghetti and stir-fry, are already plentiful. When things are planted in the fall of the previous year, it barely takes a week of warm weather for the little plants to reach maturity. And sometimes it even seems too fast. The overwintered broccoli, cabbages, greens and lettuce go to seed pretty quickly, so we really have to keep at them, harvesting just as soon as they are maturing. We’ve already pulled up several flowering heads of lettuce. But no worry, they were quickly replaced by little bell peppers, eggplants and tomatoes.

the front yard

the front yard

Continue reading

Coldframe

The night-time temperatures have finally decided to drop down below 30, so we’re to going try extending our growing season. This weekend we cleaned the bed up a bit and built a simple bamboo frame from the remains of the tomato and pepper trellis. We covered the frame with heavy, “clear” plastic, and weighted the plastic down with brick.

This is a shot of the inside of the structure.

This is a shot of the inside of the structure.

The temperature inside of the frame noticably increased after a few minutes. I will have to keep an eye on daytime temperatures so as not to over-heat things. Continue reading

Simpson St. update

We are almost half way through the month of November and it is time for an update on the garden in front of our apartment. We have mostly recovered from the drought and heat of last summer. Temperatures have been mild for mid-November, and we have received regular rains.

Transition

Transition

At the time this picture was taken (mid-October), the only summer holdouts are the tomatoes, the okra, and a few bean plants. We planted a mixture of cool weather greens, cabbage, and broccoli in the front bed. The rear bed has a fall/winter cover crop mix. This mix will grow until early next spring when I will cut it down and incorporate its nutrients into the bed. Continue reading