Posts tagged ‘consumer waste’

Tires, paint, soil, and lettuce

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…
Easy? yes
Cheap? definitely
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.

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March 26, 2009 at 8:24 pm 3 comments

Botanical bailout

gabbard1Found this illustration by Justin Gabbard in the New York Times letters-to-the-editor last month. It accompanies letters on “Playing Politics With the Auto Bailout.” See here for a better view. Plants in tires takes on a new resonance.

A bunch of people have asked if I will replant the Green Zone garden at Firehouse 13 in 2009. Unlikely. I intended for the garden to last for the season, so I could move on to research and presentations.080730greenzone051

That said…I bet that Firehouse 13 will develop another garden this year. Jarrett, FH13’s director, grows veg in a West Side community garden, so he’s got green thumbs. And we know that the sun shines on Central Street.

I wonder if the firemen of the former Good Will Engine Company ever planted a garden. Firemen are amazing cooks. Are they also great gardeners?

January 31, 2009 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Green Drinks: plants crave Pabst

I stopped by Green Zone this afternoon to discover the aftermath of drunken revelry. The plants had downed a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and left the evidence strewn about. I have used PBR in my home garden to drown slugs, but who knew that the plants were sots for it, too?

Thankfully, Firehouse 13 will be serving up Narragansetts at Providence Green Drinks. That’s Thursday, from 5pm to 8pm, people. There will be non-alcoholic alternatives as well. Drinks are for sale; snacks are sponsored by me and my buddy Eva of Glasswing Design. NO PABST WILL BE SERVED.

And so as to avoid ending this post with the word or the taste of Pabst, here’s a little something from the Ladies Aid Society of Arnsville (probably Barnesville), Ohio. researching ladies aid groups and the U.S. Sanitary Commission will get me started on Civil War gardens. In their 1862-63 report, the B/Arnsville ladies called out:

Come then and help us. There is a great call upon everyone to aid in this great work. There is a great call for vegetables. Will you give them? Let every family form themselves into companies and pick and dry fruits. They call for dried fruits rather then canned. See to it that there are pickles prepared to send in abundance and you who have friends or sons in the Army, will you not pick out your longest row of potatoes and cultivate them nicely and when ripe, dig them and send to the Sanitary Commission. Or any other vegetables, you may have, will be acceptable. Bring them on, we will send them for you. Any contributions can be left at Mr. A.B. Glazer’s store so they will go safely and you will have no expense. Will you help us and prove that it is more blessed to give then to receive.!!!

September 16, 2008 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

gardening in shoes

By “gardening in shoes,” I mean the garden is in shoes (not necessarily the gardener)…

There is one pair of hightop sneakers in Green Zone. Discarded shoes are yet another symbol of our consumer culture. I’ve seen several shoes used as plant containers, including a pair at Southside Community Land Trust’s City Farm.

Weeks after I installed Green Zone, a friend pointed out the sneakers and reminded me how empty boots symbolize a fallen soldier. Using military gear as memorials goes back at least a century (note: I’d like to find some specific citations). The “Battle Cross” consists of a soldier’s helmet atop the rifle with bayonet stuck in the ground; sometimes dogtags or empty boots are included as well.

In recent years, the boots themselves have become a potent war memorial. For example, in 2007, the American Friends Service Committee launched a traveling exhibit about the human cost of the Iraq War. Titled “Eyes Wide Open,” it includes a pair of boots to mark each American military casualty and a field of shoes (and wall) that pays tribute to Iraqis killed.

Besides the empty boots, flowers have long been used as war memorials. Red corn poppies are commonly found in Europe, particularly in disturbed soil, such as battlefields. During World War I, entire fields bloomed red–red with poppy flowers and red with soldiers’ blood. The poppy was adopted a symbol of fallen soldiers, most famously by Canadian serviceman John McCrae in his poem “In Flanders Fields” (1915). The opening words read “In Flanders fields the poppies blow | Between the crosses, row on row…”

July 18, 2008 at 3:48 am 2 comments

gardening in plastic bags

The gardening industry is just that…an industry. The number of gardening products grows exponentially, even though the key ingredients–soil, compost, containers, water, sun, seeds, mulch, pest control, fertilizer stakes–come for cheap or free.

Take containers. Spare tires, kiddie pools, plastic bottles, shoes, and shopping bags work well. Check out these online photo albums from Sampath Jagannathan, a gardener in the UK who experimented with growing veg in plastic shopping bags. He also has a page on You Grow Girl with directions that read like poetry. Sorta.

The benefits of gardening in used plastic bags are similar to gardening in tires: bags retain heat and moisture; bags are portable; planting gardens in bags means fewer bags in the landfill or getting caught in trees. But if you buy designer “planting bags,” you’re not really reducing consumer waste.

For artist Judith Selby Lang, you don’t plant a garden in plastic bags; you plant plastic bags in the shape of a garden. She created “ReCycle Ryoan-ji,” a replica of Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji Garden made entirely out of recycled materials. Her installation went up in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza in April 2007, one month after San Francisco became the first city in the US to ban plastic shopping bags.

July 11, 2008 at 10:25 pm 1 comment


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