Alejandro, Ianne, Alejandra and Yuki re-shaping the garden bed. Photo by Somerset Waters

Over the past weekend, Eco-Villagers re-shaped an existing neglected raised bed. For a few years, this area behind the Bimini Terrace building has had a large triangle-shaped raised bed.  The bed was a little too big to garden easily; one would have to lean over and stretch out to reach things, or step in the garden. Lately some mint had been spreading its way through the triangle… not an entirely bad thing, but mint can spread and take over if it’s not contained.  (more…)

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over the past few years, i’ve been doing some container gardening in marginal spaces at the eco-village that don’t get very much sun, with limited success. the mizuna and chinese cabbage thrived, but the tomatoes, onions, conventional cabbage and a couple of other sad plant friends did not. after one failed season, i have successfully grown a batch of small onions in a window box off the north stairwell of the 117 building.

i have not wanted to grow in prime garden areas mainly because i’m a novice and didn’t want to waste valuable land when the community’s green thumbs could be growing bounties to feed the world, or at least feed eco-villagers. but now after growing not only edible, but delicious greens and onions, i was ready for more.  so i bought a book, square foot gardening.

this book appeals to my fondness of small things and of things posteriorily retentive. mel bartholomew, the author and quite a character, developed and advocates for a method of planting that uses less space and soil to grow your garden. his “square-foot-gardening” (or sfg) method requires only a 6-inch deep bed and grid system to easily plan, space and maintain your crops.

coincidentally while i was dreaming of my imaginary leafy green grid, federico, the finder that he is, came across a beautiful wooden box that was going to be thrown away at work.  we found a little sunny and underutilized corner of the front garden and set up shop.

raised bed a la square-foot-gardening

raised bed a la square-foot-gardening

sticking strictly to the book, here’s what our sfg raised bed looks like. i’ve transplanted tomatos, basil, and onion, and seeded okra, chinese cabbage, carrots, marigolds and salvia. the carrots and salvia have not yet sprouted after a week  (any thoughts?). i’m not sure it’s a good idea to post this before i know how things will turn out, but i’m very excited about it, and maybe one of you will have some advice or words of encouragement.

to be continued…

El Muro del Jardin de Nuestra Senora de la Bulbout

El Muro del Jardin de Nuestra Senora de la Bulbout

Thanks to the hard work of quite a few LA Eco-Villagers and a few of our neighbors and even some folks from the city of Los Angeles… we’ve got a new raised garden bed in a space that just over a year ago was parking. Special thanks to one of our newest members, Bobby Gadda, for working on this from the start and seeing it through to completion last Saturday.

It’s in the bulbout – which you can read about here, here and here. It’s made of urbanite.

The urbanite is un-mortared, so we can change it around later if we want. The top layer is built out of concrete pieces salvaged from where we’re de-paving out back. We used a lot of large pieces because sometimes the youth walking home from the nearby Virgil Middle School like to do their job and fool around as they walk down our street and test out just how indestructible things are. Hopefully the big pieces will hold themselves in place. We’ll see how it does.

The walls double at seating/benches. I was happy to see them already being used as such by Virgil Adult School students last Monday night.

We planted some already, but it probably needs more. In the walls (between the urbanite layers) there’s mint, yarrow, oregano, strawberries and a few kinds of thyme. I like the way that these plants will spread to create a sort of green wall. In the bed itself, there’s artichoke, cardoon, poppy, onion, basil, California fuschia, and calendula. We’ll see what’s happy growing there… and what the neighborhood foot traffic allows to stay and thrive.

Here’s another shot of the new arrival. Looking forward to the plants growing in.

The garden bed wall facing the street will become greener as the plants grow in

The garden bed wall facing the street will become greener as the plants grow in

(Cross posted at LAEV Garden Blog and LAEV General Blog.)