Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

Garden-a-go-go

090802truckfarmThe 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!

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August 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

Book report: Victory Backyard Gardens (1942)

1942vbg_coverI’ve been waylaid in the backyard, working on my vegetable garden.  Some might say fruit and vegetable…there are tomatoes, tomatillos (thank you, Fox Point), cukes, peppers, and raspberries. Let ’em say what they will.

A friend gave me a yardsale find: Victory Backyard Gardens: Simple Rules for Growing your own Vegetables (1942) by T.H. Everett and Edgar J. Clissold with an intro by Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard. He’s the one who initially told First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt that she shouldn’t plant a victory garden at the White House and later changed his tune.

Sixty-seven years later, the book gives a firsthand glimpse at how gardeners went about their task during World War II. Intensive cultivation was the key. This was the era of shortages. As gas rationing and scrap drives made Americans conserve, so they would make the most of their available land. Succession planting, minimal space between rows, etc.

Another gardener asked me what victory gardens looked like. Here’s a sample plan:1942vbg_planThis is a lot of food! I admit I had to look up what “catch crop” (a quick growing crop to plant before or after another main crop) and “hot bed” (a cold frame over a hot surface, like manure or a heating element) meant. And though fertilizer is considered a precious resource–see the bugs panel on the left–note the compost pile in one corner of the garden.

1942vbg_2don'tsFinally, one of the distinctions of WWII victory gardens is that they were considered to be part of America’s Civilian Defense program. I love how the cartoon on the right encourages gardeners to share their surplus. Shouldn’t making sure your neighbor has something to eat make for a more secure community?

July 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

Happy birthdays!

090704tires It’s the birthday of the USA, and it’s one year since I launched the Green Zone website.

090704cornfield090704cornwall090704mlkschoolgardenWhat a difference a year makes. We have a new president, and there’s a thriving vegetable garden on the grounds of the White House.

New gardens are sprouting everywhere! A brand-new community garden in Davis Park, a new garden in the works for the Davey Lopes Rec Center in South Providence, and a bunch of new school gardens here and there. And so many first-time backyard growers, too.

In the Summit neighborhood, there are flowerboxes full of vegetables on porches, and so many people have dug up their front lawns to plant ornamentals or grow their own food.

I spied this brand new neighborhood garden in Mt. Hope (3 top photos). Neighbors have taken over an empty lot. Guerrilla gardeners? Dig the ankle high dry-laid stone wall and the badminton court, not to mention the used-tire composter. And not far away is the MLK School Garden, which looks on target to harvest A LOT of delicious vegetables.

On this Independence Day, get independent.  In a pot or in a plot, grow your own food.

July 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Providence Farm City

090513WGVurbanfarmersApologies to KISS…

Yesterday, I went to a meeting for Providence’s Urban Agriculture Task Force. Launched 4-5 years ago, it’s a confederation of state, local, non-profit, and individual representatives. Some of the projects initiated and/or completed by members include:

Amazing projects in Providence and beyond. And more to come. If you want to get involved, contact the UATF via Southside Community Land Trust.

May 13, 2009 at 6:59 am 1 comment

In the zone

451px-arcimboldo_summer_1563Thanks to everyone who stopped by Firehouse 13 last night for Green Zones: From the War Garden to Your Garden and the first-ever Urban Ag Spring Start Party.

The talks and discussion went over really well, and the seed-swapping table was hopping.  I got a chance to connect with gardeners, historians, and gardening historians from all over.

A spring party was a great outlet for gardeners with seeds, plants, and stories to share. As RI’s food gardening network continues to grow, imagine another garden event this fall?!?!?!?!

May 6, 2009 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Container gardening-or-Yoohoo, UAU

090428uauThe 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.

090428uau-interior1Plans 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.

090428container

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.

April 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Green Zones Event…and Urban Ag Spring Start?

wargardensvictorious-wright1Check out the updated page for Green Zones: From the War Garden to Your Garden, a presentation on Victory Gardens, the Women’s Land Army of America, and how/why gardeners are growing their own food today. The event takes place on Tues., May 5, starting at 5:30pm at Firehouse 13, 41 Central St. in Providence.

A plan is stirring to hold an Urban Agriculture Spring Start Party afterwards. This will include seed/plant swapping, exchanging ideas, food, music, and kicking off the garden season together.

Community gardeners, backyard gardeners, local foodies, green folks, farmers, teachers, kids. . .can you help out with this emerging event?  Contact me at szurier at wesleyan dot edu or leave a comment, and I’ll be in touch.

April 3, 2009 at 7:17 am 2 comments

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