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Author Topic: Urban Gardening
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 11 February 2008 11:19 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I’m working on an article right now about Urban Gardening. In particularly, I'm looking at how residents in downtown cores can go beyond just eating local by growing their own food, even if they have limited space. I'm hoping to look at how Urban Gardening can mean anything from a few pots of herbs or vegetables on a balcony, signing up to volunteer with an organization — like Hamilton's Fruit Tree Project — or using a small garden plot in a community garden.

I’m curious to know if any babblers have any insight or experiences to share.

From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
Babbler # 7791

posted 11 February 2008 11:25 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We have 'community gardens' here on the coast, even with all the land we all have, but I think it's an attempt to get folks gardening who have never gardened before, and share ideas and to share in the harvest. It's a great concept, methinks.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 9355

posted 11 February 2008 12:23 PM      Profile for ElizaQ     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You might want to take a look at the whole area of
"Small space gardening" which has a lot of potential in urban areas. Someone with a very small yard or even patio for that matter can grow quite a lot of food.
I actually tried out this technique last year:

So did my Mum at her place.
It really works well and takes up so little space. I found little exageration in the proclamations on how well it works and the time involved.
Though I'm not relegated to a small yard anymore as I made the move to a rural area I've still got small spaces in mind, both from a manageability perspective and with an eye on being able to transfer the techniques to smaller settings.

Also check out the whole area of "Urban Permaculture" or 'Urban Farming'. I've found a lot of info by just googling these words, both about theory and real world examples of groups working in this area.
I'm going to be trying some of these the techniques this year.

I've also come across this research project which may be of interest as it's looking at not only food but fuel, fiber, fertilizer, feedstock, and medicines

From: Eastern Lakes | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
rural - Francesca
Babbler # 14858

posted 11 February 2008 06:12 PM      Profile for rural - Francesca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Our building has a community garden, first one in Owen Sound.

I can give you the email address of the co-ordiantor. It's being co-ordiantor by the Metis that rent the basement floor of our building.

From: the backyard | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 15 February 2008 05:51 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two books that I've really enjoyed as of late are:

The 100-Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon

When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles—call it "the SUV diet." On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon (bios) chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since then, James and Alisa have gotten up-close-and-personal with issues ranging from the family-farm crisis to the environmental value of organic pears shipped across the globe. They've reconsidered vegetarianism and sunk their hands into community gardening. They've eaten a lot of potatoes.

As well as ...

You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail.

You Grow Girl is a hip and humorous how-to for the blossoming generation of crafty gals who want to get their garden on.

Written and designed by Gayla Trail, the creator of, You Grow Girl guides aspiring gardeners every step of the way in transforming a tiny fire escape or a suburban backyard into the lush garden of your dreams. Along with all the ins-and-outs of soil, seeds, sowing and growing, You Grow Girl is chock full of fun and funky projects that make gardening more than just growing plants. You will learn to grow and bag your own tea, make hand salve and hair rinse out of plants from your garden, transform thrift-store finds into cool containers, and even sew your own stylie gardening apron!

They’re both very different, but very important books, that go beyond just eating local, but also growing your own food, making preserves, planting a tea garden (even when living in very small quarters.)

From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 10108

posted 15 February 2008 12:46 PM      Profile for Slumberjack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Had a small 8 x 10 garden in Ottawa, growing mostly cukes, beans, radishes, parsley and tomatoes. With the heat and humidity being of more assistance than any lacklustre tending efforts, the yield was impressive, lasting well into the winter.

ETA: The existing soil was used, no outside soil, additives or chemicals were brought in. A light evening watering from a 3 litre container concentrated at the roots provided enough moisture to survive in the daily unshaded 30 degree plus daytime hours.

[ 15 February 2008: Message edited by: Slumberjack ]

From: An Intensive De-Indoctrination, But I'm Fine Now | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
Babbler # 7791

posted 16 February 2008 03:31 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The 100 Mile Diet here would reduce us to consuming mostly meat and fish caught locally, and a very limited selection of fruits and veggies as our growing season is quite short, and it gets shorter the further north you go.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4019

posted 18 February 2008 02:27 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Santropol Roulant has a rooftop gardening project they run in Montreal, helping with finding gardening space on balconies, fire escapes and rooftops. The project's website is here.

I grew mostly herbs last year--enough to make loads of basil with in August--but you can grow salad makings, root vegetables, even rice.

Also, although I'm not sure what I'm risk I'm inviting by mentioning this word in this thread, Cuba has amazing urban gardening, since they were forced to pursue unconventional agricultural practices when the Soviet Union stopped sending them oil. Check out this 1999 article for a brief primer.

The urban gardens, which are equipped with relatively modern irrigation systems that help generate high yields, have been one of the most successful of a series of government initiatives to decentralize agricultural production from large state farms to municipal and individual levels. Many state enterprises, schools and hospitals grow some of their own food and raise livestock, while the government has helped thousands of families and individuals to set up home gardens, plant fruit trees and raise chickens and rabbits.

Some neighborhoods produce up to 30 percent of their food. More than 540,000 tons of food were produced for consumption by Havana residents last year.

Furthermore, recent planning laws have made the use of land for food production a priority, although there are many needy areas where urban gardens have yet to be established.

Overall, the government estimates that 117,000 people work in urban agriculture and that the gardens account for about half the vegetables grown in Cuba. Officials said urban gardens are expected to increase production by more than a third next year, reflecting a policy of linking wages to productivity.

[ 18 February 2008: Message edited by: Catchfire ]

From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 11260

posted 18 February 2008 06:42 PM      Profile for Sineed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since I've moved to downtown TO almost 20 years ago, I've always had herbs in pots. Now that I have a small house and a tiny plot of land behind it, I grow tomatoes and basil as well as the herbs. At the height of tomato season, I make batches of tomato sauce and pesto and freeze them--nice to eat one's own tomatoes at this time of year (though we've gone through all of them already; I didn't have a very good crop last year).

My neighbours have said that if we try to grow any other vegetables, the raccoons will get them. One year I grew pumpkins in the front yard. When the vines got really big (as pumpkin vines do, which I didn't know), passersby would stop in their tracks, much like when my neighbour grew corn on her front lawn.

An impediment to urban gardening might be by-laws. I think they're pretty liberal in Toronto, but I've heard of folks in other cities getting fined for growing their own crops.

From: # 668 - neighbour of the beast | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
forum observer
Babbler # 7605

posted 21 February 2008 08:43 PM      Profile for forum observer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good planning in "I am Legend" with urban gardening?
From: It is appropriate that plectics refers to entanglement or the lack thereof, | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 24 March 2008 06:17 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

I found this in the Tyee's archives.

Lure of the Urban Veggie Garden
The plot ripens. Digging for love, money, fame and sex appeal.

For Wally Satzewich, the kick of urban gardening is making fat money and sticking it to the Man. Thing is, he's doing it growing leafy greens in people's back yards.

He's one of many urbanites who like to get dirty. Which is ironic, because for generations, waves of migrants left the ragged toil of the country behind to slip into the tidy cubicles of the Information Age. And yet city slickers of all stripes are now down in the soil, sowing veggies like their country forebears did. Besides some kind of West Coast leguminous nirvana, you have to ask what compels them. In Vancouver at least, it seems they're greening up the city for everything from money, to posh ingredients, to urban renewal, to muscle tone.

Satzewich's brand of urban gardening is called SPIN -- "small-plot intensive farming" -- and it means renting the back forty from residential homeowners, ploughing their lawns under and then turning tens of thousands of dollars in profits selling the high-end produce cultivated by hand.

Satzewich and his wife Gail Vandersteen have always been city dwellers who wanted to grow their own grub -- so they took what they imagined was the logical step of getting 20 acres of land about 40 minutes north of Saskatoon.

From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged

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