Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Calling all gardeners without a garden

As many of you know, our main project thus far has been at the Dunleith Community Garden in the Aycock neighborhood. The garden was installed in June of 2009, and since then we’ve had 2 successful seasons of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and 7 neighbors renting plots.

Well, when it comes to the garden, the time to think about spring is in the fall! We’ve got some winter “cash crops” (edibles) in the ground, as well as some winter “cover crops” (to help improve the soil). This fall, we are opening the garden up for more folks to rent a plot in the spring.

In the past we have offered the option of participating in the garden through a CSA or by renting a plot. This year, we hope to fill up more of the garden with plot renters, and from there determine whether or not we will run a CSA. After all, it is a community garden, and we want our community to have ownership.

A community plot rental is a small financial investment but a large time commitment. Plot rentals give you 10 months to tend your own community plot. Spring plots will be available Feb 1, 2011 for you to prep and plant those super early spring crops (like snow peas)! If you are interested in renting a plot at the Dunleith Community Garden, please send an email to urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com and we well send you a sign-up form.

Here’s to spring veggies!

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A Mall of Food

Check out this interesting idea for renovating a dwindling shopping mall into a space for urban food production. People in Cleveland are tossing out the quintessential Abercrombie’s and Bath and Body Works’ for the possibility of an indoor urban farm.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/new-uses-for-old-malls.php

How to: Tomatoes

Tomatoes may be the most sought after summer commodity. They are colorful, juicy, and ideal for a festive summer salad, homemade salsa, or just to spice up a sandwich.

perfect to spruce up a summer sandwich

simple green bean and tomato salad

However, many gardeners end up with tomato plants that resemble willow trees or sprawling ground bushes, and tomatoes that are plagued by pests and diseases. Although the tomato plant can survive naturally  in this tangled mess, pruning the plant will result in fuller and healthier tomatoes for consumption (i promise).

suckers are found at a 45 degree angle between the vine and branch

While pruning is completely optional, taking a moment to cut back some of the expanding suckers will save both you and the plant time and energy.  Get the most out of your tomato plants this summer for a lush harvest of bright red and green!

The following videos provide some good groundwork when starting to prune your tomatoes

Pruning Suckers

Tomato Suckers

Gardens Become Educational in Greensboro

If you happened to drive by the Dunleith Community Garden last week, you may have been surprised with the upsurge of youth filtering through out the garden like ants busy at work.

the ant march commences

In fact, from Tuesday to Friday of last week tenth graders at Greensboro Day School graciously volunteered their time and labor with Urban Harvest in a weeklong educational experience off the limitations of school grounds. As a local private school, Greensboro Day School has developed an impressively humble tradition that allows students to participate in a week-long service partnership to help their local community and relieve local non-profits before embarking on summer vacations.

GDS volunteers stop for a break and picture in front of the garden

This year, Urban Harvest was one Greensboro’s non-profits selected to receive a group of student volunteers. Ranging in levels of gardening expertise (some with an extensive permaculture background since the 7th grade) the students assisted Urban Harvest in planting peppers, trellising tomatoes, building compost bins, and sheet mulching pollinator beds for the expanding community project.

Carrots, Carrots, and more Carrots

oh, more carrots you say

This service venture is a testament to the power of working in groups. Two hands shoveling mulch is obviously easier, more efficient, less sweaty, and generally more enjoyablethan one person attempting to complete the same task. (Unless you are a recluse like J.D. Salinger, for which you would find this post to be a complete waste of time).  But that’s besides the point. Truth is, volunteer partnerships demonstrate the value of having accessible gardens in local areas. In a society increasingly expanding in  eco-conscious  civilians, community gardens have the potential to evolve into outdoor classrooms.

Harvesting Turnips on Tuesday

Now i admit, the idea of gardening or gardens as educational spaces is nothing groundbreaking. In fact, we can look to Alice Walker’s Edible Schoolyard epidemic for proof that gardens  are perhaps the most versatile spaces for teaching individual lessons and cultivating personal values; Determination, growth, patience and organic integrity are a worthy handful that immediately come to mind.

But on a larger scale, gardening as education is one of those great ideas that is rarely pursued. Instead we find gardening workshops in the elite niches of America or as large scale farming in those roadside rural towns that seem both unfamiliar and familiar at the same time.

Ideas of widespread and educational garden spaces, especially in urban areas, are often abandoned when visioners reach obstacles such as installation, resources, or simply the risk involved in pursuing external support.

lets harvest arugula!

However, i reiterate in one week a small community garden demonstrated the capacity to educate a group of high school students. No chairs or laptops required. So fellow visioners, whether gardeners or not, don’t surrender ideas you believe in to the first or second obstacle that presents itself. Any substantial idea worth pursuing was previously confronted with a great obstacle. To harp upon the words of an old friend, “if it was easy everyone would do it (except breathing, and a couple of other exceptions if you want to get technical)”.

That’s all for now.

the creativity of urban food

In honor of the last day of May, I’ve chosen to visually celebrate  a few noteworthy displays of international ingenuity and imagination in  urban farming…

rooftop vegetables

shoji of exterior lettuce

finally, wheels with a small carbon footprint

dumpster garden

recycled tire garden

a schooltop in Queens

a favorite, cabbage field planted outside of Tokyo Government building

Check out this video, and tap into your own imagination:

Happy Memorial Day.

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

Spring CSA harvest overflowing at Dunleith Garden!

Nothing says good morning like turnips, radicchio, and red torpedo onions! These are just a few of the items that stocked the Urban Harvest CSA crates this week. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a weekly initiative that Urban Harvest provides to individuals or groups that have purchased a seasonal CSA membership. Every Tuesday afternoon, Spring members receive a hearty array of fresh herbs, greens, and colorful veggies that have been harvested, packaged, and distributed directly from the Dunleith Community Garden.

harvested produce waiting to be cleaned 🙂

CSA’s are a growing phenomenon (even in fisheries by the coast!) to increase the proximity of the food produced to the food consumed.  Swing by the Dunleith site on a Tuesday morning, and you will find the founder of Urban Harvest, Dawn Leonard and other Urban Harvest volunteers harvesting and cleaning vegetables straight from the Earth.

Dawn harvesting delicious veggies!

fresh raddichio

The harvest is then distributed based on share into hand-made wooden crates with a  personalized news-letter taped to the side.  Around five-o’clock an onlooker will find Leonard sitting with her crates awaiting pick-up, talking with neighbors, or pilfering around the garden making improvements. One thing for sure, when a CSA member arrives to pick up their crate that afternoon, they can rest assured that their produce was given the care and attention we should expect of all our food sources.

recyclable CSA crates, packed and ready to be delivered to their owners

To learn more about CSA, contact Urban Harvest at urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com . In the mean time check out this really neat video made by other urban farmers in New York City:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcR2J63_44c&feature=related

Let the flood gates open

As the Dunleith Community Garden gains popularity in the media, I figured it was time to start updating everyone on our progress. That’s right! You will now be able to read weekly updates on the garden, including (but not limited to) watering schedules, volunteer needs, decorative additions and general growth updates. As Dawn and Justin shared their experiences at Growing Power and their expanding knowledge, hopefully I will be able to capture a snapshot of local food in Greensboro and our ongoing projects.

If you’ve walked by the Dunleith Community Garden, you can clearly see that a lot has occurred since our groundbreaking on June 20th, 2009. (Has it really only been 2 months?!) Since that joyous day, we have planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, numerous herbs, basil, and so much more. Everything really seemed to take on a life of its own–even though it was very late for a summer planting. Attributed to this abundant growth was the vital necessity of any garden: water. During the last couple months, neighbors of the Dunleith Community Garden have graciously donated water to this project. By stretching hoses from across the street, volunteers were able to hand water all of the plants–sometimes taking as long as 2-3 hours in watering. We are extremely thankful for these neighbors and the volunteers that fought over 200 feet of hose!

The last day that water flowed on the Dunleith property was in the 60’s, before the demolition of the house on the property. Almost 50 years later, Urban Harvest Sweat Equity project in partnership with Aycock Historic Neighborhood have brought back WATER! This morning we will have water once more. This is a tremendous feat, not only because of the number of years that have passed, but also because of what this water will now produce.  This garden in not state-funded, being paid for by the members of the Aycock Historic Neighborhood and Urban Harvest Sweat Equity Project.  Providing all soil amendments, compost, weeding, edging, and general maintenance, UH-SEP is striving to teach the community how to grow food and in turn, creating a sustainable community.

By involving the entire Aycock Historic Neighborhood, surrounding neighborhoods and local restaurants, we are hoping to create a community with the knowledge to feed itself. As a non-profit corporation, UH-SEP will insure individualized education, workshops and over productive food will directly impact the community that we are serving. Now, with the addition of water on this historic site, let the flood gates open (metaphorically, of course) and the hard work continue! Please join in and celebrate all of the hard work that we have ALL accomplished to come this far.

Please continue to check back for weekly communication.

Sarah Brewer “Urban Harvest Sweat Equity Project”