Posts tagged ‘container gardens’
The Urban Agricultural Unit (UAU) is moving again. This time it’s rolling out of Providence to greener pastures in Attleboro, MA. Seven Arrows Herb Farm is adopting the UAU and improving its inputs (energy) and outputs (plants). Read all about it in today’s Providence Journal. Goodbye, UAU. Hello, SubUAU.
In honor of the UAU–ok, subUAU, get it?–here’s a new mobile agriculture project called the Truck Farm. Ian Cheney, one of the filmmakers behind “King Corn,” converted an old Dodge pickup truck into a rambling, roaming, rolling garden. The truck bed was drilled with drainage holes, fitted with a mat and soil, and planted out: tomatoes, nasturtiums, arugula, etc. A solar-powered camera snaps a photo everyday to show members of its CSA (yes!) how everything is growing on the streets of Brooklyn. Truck Farm rolls around the borough, going to parties and demonstrations, probably making deliveries too. Can’t you picture it in a parade?
Long live Brooklyn, from its dumpster pools to garden trucks!
The UAU (that’s Urban Agricultural Unit) recently moved to a new home on the grounds of Wolcott Eco-Office on Wolcott Street in Providence. Part large-scale recycling effort and part science fair project, the UAU is a mobile greenhouse constructed from a discarded shipping container. You may remember it from its appearances at ProvFlux or from its long-time residency at the Steelyard.
Plans are forming for the growing season at UAU’s new home. Perhaps some hops climbing up its corrugated metal walls and some native landscaping plants and some veggies and herbs growing inside. Word is that its hydroponic set-up allows you to grow basil from a seed to a plant the size of a kindergartner in four weeks.
I get a kick out of the fact that this giant shipping container–duly labeled, see below–is now the ultimate container garden.
If you would like to learn more about the UAU or would like to be part of the team that is planning its rebirth, contact Anna or stop by the Urban Ag Spring Start Party that’s part two of the Green Zones event on May 5. Thanks to the UAU crew for helping out with posters, posting, music, and more.
The front page of Thursday’s New York Times Home section features a story titled “Slow, Easy, Cheap and Green.” It profiles Felder Rushing and what he calls “Slow Gardening.” It’s a gimmicky name that means going with the flow of the seasons, rather than rushing to transform your garden all at once.
Whatever. What I liked about the article was the photo of Mr. Slow Garden tending a bunch of lettuce planted in a pile of tires.
Slow? if that’s the trendy word to use…
Green? you betcha, but in case you didn’t get it, paint your tires green.
Oh, now I get it. Green tires. Guess I’m a slow gardener.
Taking a bike ride from Firehouse 13 to the Steelyard, I encountered a bunch of gardens that feature reused containers. Behind the Avery (where the Decatur used to be), there are tomato plants growing in a bright blue footlocker and a couple of pepper plants looking good in some big tin cans.
Headed down Vinton, I saw a front porch loaded with container plants, including this guy planted in a coffee can. A breath away (after passing the house with the tomatoes in plastic pots on the porch roof), stood this bathtub full of zinnias.
Tucked between Monohasset Mill and the Steelyard is an alley full of reused industrial containers like these metal buckets full of ornamental grass and something with dark green shiny leaves.
There are many many more creative containers on the streets of Providence. If you’ve seen a good one, please send me a photo or an address. I’m always on the lookout for witty or wild front yard/front porch/sidewalk gardens. An upcoming post will showcase tire gardens here and there around town. Spotted any in your neighborhood?
In eight used tires, eight shopping bags, and one pair of shoes, I’ve planted several dozen veg, herbs, and flowers. Some have bit the dust…plucked, thinned, eaten, dehydrated, over-shaded, out-competed, drowned, killed. Such is life in the urban jungle.
Most of the plants started from seeds…gourmet types from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine, finds from the racks at Ocean State Job Lot, or leftovers (aka heirlooms) from last year’s garden. This spring, Rich Pederson from Southside Community Land Trust kindly tended a flat full at the City Farm greenhouse: poppies, red russian kale, green leafy kale, scarlet runner beans, mini-sunflowers, morning glories, ornamental gourds. I started another batch in a sunny basement window at home: lettuce, turnips, basil, bachelor’s button, arugula.
Radish seeds were planted directly into the tires…those puppies pop up quickly and won’t endure transplanting. I transplanted spares from my home garden…johnny jump-ups, dill, oregano, lemon balm, broccoli…and traded with friends for some marigolds and mint.
Some of the plants are doing better in Green Zone than in my raised beds at home. And sometimes a scarlet runner bean or gourd in one tire is outperforming the same plant two tires away. They get the same temperatures, the same soil, the same sun, the same water, the same company. Talk about microclimates–a world of difference, just a tire away!
I recently visited P.F.1 (Public Farm One) at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens. P.S.1 ran an architectural competition to create a social landscape in their courtyard. The winning entry by WORK Architecture Company is an urban farm/mega-container garden.
The main garden structure is a massive flying-V composed of a honeycomb of large cardboard tubes reaching several stories high above a wading pool. Most tubes are fitted with a small planting bed on top; others are left open. The planting list includes 51 varieties of veg, fruit, herbs, and flowers. Smaller clusters of tubes provide seating, bars, solar ipod recharging docks (seriously), portals showing videos of farm animals. An adjacent area serves as a chicken coop.
Sustainability is built into the project. Materials are recyclable and compostable. The sun powers the project from the irrigation system (which captures and redistributes rainwater) to the ipod chargers. Over the summer, pickers harvest the crops and sell them at a farmers’ market on site or use them in the P.S.1 cafe.
With edible plants sprouting from a neatly arranged mesh of tubes, the result is both utopian and organic. Architects Amale Andraos and Dan Wood took inspiration from the uprisings of 1968, when French workers staked their right to leisure and liberation by reclaiming the beach as their space. At P.F.1, the architects invite us to reclaim the urban landscape. They say: “P.F.1 is an architectural and urban manifesto to engage play and reinvent our cities, and our world, once again.”