This week actually ended up having mostly sunshine. On Friday, there was a violent thunderstorm in the evening that flooded the streets pretty heavily (it even knocked down a few branches from trees.) Saturday was overcast (with the threat of rain and a late afternoon rain for about an hour.) When I arrived to the garden on Sunday, I was greeted by an absolute abundance of growth and had to do a harvest of the 1st planting of radishes and the first planting of garden greens (cut and come again.) In the other beds, you could see the abundant growth everywhere, including the weeds.
I did find that the other beds around me that had been desperate for water the past couple weeks grow tremendously. With the forecast for the upcoming week, I don’t think anyone will need to do much watering. I put down a third planting planning on the rain forecast for this week to help out.
On the deck, the morning glories began growing their vines and I more or less put up the trellis on the south wall for those suckers. We’ll see how much vegetation sprouts from them and how full they get.
I made a visit on Tuesday to water the plot. Whether or not anyone abided by the “water me” post and even sprinkled the plants remains to be seen. I did help out and watered 106 (which ideally should have the carrots planted closer together to make for more efficient water useage and sharing,), but I’m guessing the grandkids planted them, which might explain the random planting patterns. I also did my best with 102, but the tomato plant finally had to yield. Rest in peace.
I overheard someone mention using marigolds as insect repellent. The next day I had a synchronicity as the wife sent me an article on plants to use for insect repellent/management. I think I’ll use a few open spots for marigolds and dill.
The Garden Plot
This is what greeted me this week. Lookit those radishes!
The radishes should be ready to harvest in 1 week
Batch two of radishes have sprouted after a week
The carrots are slowly making their way up (plus a TMT!)
These were salad greens, I believe
8″ pot tomato from the farmers market
3″ pot tomato from farmers market
The peas are growing!
I forget the name, but Natasha told me the leaves are poisonous. I hopped the fence and clipped the base. By Sunday, they were drying out.
I harvested a radish just to see how big they are. One more week, I think.
Other Plots in the Land on Lincoln Garden
((I just wanted to share images of the other plots for comparison with my own, and also to illustrate what people are growing and the progress they have made.)
On Wednesday, I decided to head over and water the plants given the good sunshine and no rain predicted for Friday. I was greeted with a great surprise: sprouts. There had been enough direct sunshine to make the greens, carrots and spinach sprout. A few beans and peas pushed out of the ground, too, so there’s that as well. And the tomato is slowly taking root.
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting my next door neighbor, Natasha. She’s been there all four years. 103 has had one other occupant, back in 2015. Otherwise the soil has been undisturbed. The tall cereal growing in her box was rye.
She had pulled the rye and don’t recall everything that she planted. If I remember, I’ll get some pictures of the new crops.
Also, the tomato plant in neighboring 102 isn’t holding up for as much as I’m watering it. The pepper plant is thriving under lack of attention (as they usually do) though.
Progress in the Garden
I didn’t notice that this patch along the side street was all clover. Very bee-friendly.
This is the view that greeted me.
Mixed overcast in the early AM
It was both cloudy on Saturday, and “cloudy” at the upper altitudes
More of the same
I will end up replanting some peas
Peas are coming up!
Here is round 2
Thorny Milk Thistle ryzomes
A butterfly came by to say “hi”
Progress on the deck
Strawberry be a bloomin’
The carrots are progressing
The kale still sucks in the box. The greens are thriving
The morning glories- left side, compost mix. Right side, year-old soil, unamended.
This week the video update came from the corner of the community garden plot where I helped with weeding (Peterson Garden Project, Land on Lincoln.) I was amazed that the dirt that currently exists was built solely from 12″ of bark chips that were put down four years ago. (That does give very strong testimony to the benefit of putting down bark mulch, kids.)
The weather the past week was a majority of overcast days with rain.
This week we had temperatures in the 70s (Fahrenheit) and plenty of direct sun (until the drop into the 40s on Friday.) The second round of weed torching happened, I built up the bed with “soil,” and added a top layer of potting soil and compost for the seed planting to begin.
In the deck garden, I made a cut of garden greens to test “cut and come again.”
The wall of cilantro continues to take expand
The morning glories continue to build out their root bases and sprout more leaves
Carrots are showing some signs of life
The chive flowers have fully bloomed. (My wife just told me that they are very edible. Who knew? Not me, appearantly.)
The turnips and beets are doing better, but even with the weather we’ve had, there should have been much more than this. I’m concluding that it’s just too damn windy up here, and only the hardiest crops seem to like it, at least in this early cool season.
We’ll see how the summer goes, but for now, the grow tower is kale on top, cilantro all around.
The rest of the garden lot had some great square-foot plots. The radishes planted two weeks ago in the nearby plots are doing fantastic (compare that to my deck radishes.)
Here is a cameo of Jim following hunting the robins that feed on the worms that the rich soil attracts.
This was a quiet week. At the community garden plot it was quiet. The only task were to tend was torching the first sprouts and then watering and covering the the bed again for round two, since the weather calls for mainly sunshine and temperatures in the 60/70’s (Fahrenheit.) I’m thinking that Tuesday/Wednesday I’ll torch the sprouts again, lay down the soil amendments to build up the box, water, soak, and come Saturday, torch if necessary, then lay down the compost, mark off the square-foot areas with string, then plant seeds.
On the deck garden, I transplanted the morning glory sprouts that were seeded last weekend into two large box planters which will become their permanent home, right or wrong.
Those are the only real updates. Images and videos below.
Right or wrong, the guerrilla gardener in me figured that with the wild state of vegetation along the fence line, that having a few plants that yield something of value other than generating lots of sweat would be a good thing to share.
When I uncovered the tarp on Saturday after a week of accelerated weed sprouting, I uncovered a lot of critters. A LOT. There were mainly a heap of centipedes, though as you can see below, there were a couple of wide-bodied anthropods, and like the centipedes, they had a taste for a soft, juicy earthworm (or what was left of it, which, surprisingly, was still alive and squirming.)
Video update summary, plus an example of torching weeds.
When you’re watching this video, keep in mind that if I didn’t torch these weeds, I would likely have had to pull them. Judging by the number of sprouts, I would have been a busy and unhappy camper.
This past Saturday, I got my plot assignment at the Peterson Garden Project’s Land on Lincoln garden. It was lot #103, which is along the western fence line and was as wild of a plot as you can get- lots of milky thorn thistle weeds (deep taproots,) dandelions, a mix of other wild weeds and plenty of critters to boot. The lot has varied quantities of sunlight, with the east side getting more than the west side, which runs smack dab against a covered fence shared with the vintage car pen. At the minimum, the bed will get a minimum of 7 hours of direct sun, from sunrise until 2 pm. At the most, the east side will get about 8 hours. Not bad.
With that back fence, I’m thinking that I can plant peas or beans right now, and by harvest, tomatoes will just be coming up.
The process of prepping the bed did involve me violating every known rule about minimal soil disturbance (to maintain soil and microbe ecology,) but I had no choice with some of the weed tap roots going up to eight inches deep. I cleaned up the weeds surrounding the bed, and I’m hoping the garden gets some bark chips to put down. If not, I might just spring for some of my own if the funds allow.
On Sunday, I did manage to make it out to soak and cover the plot with a tarp to sprout any weeds near the surface. Although there is rain and overcast skies forecast for the first half of this week, I’m hoping there will be enough sun and warmth to sprout whatever can sprout, so that come the weekend, I can pull out the torch and take care of business.
I liked the overall garden as well. People seem generally friendly, the drive is only 15 minutes, and there’s a lot of sunlight, but most of all, I get to get lost in a mini-farm adventure.
The journey continues…
(PS- the sun wasn’t directly above me. I had forgotten that the bed is parallel to Lincoln Avenue, which at this point north runs in a roughly northwest/southeast direction.)
This was a good piece that painted a good, basic picture of the scope of community gardening and urban farming activity within the City of Chicago (where I reside.)
In the midst of all the bad things that occur here, this represents just one aspect that we as a collective of communities can build on.
[FWIW, this list is pretty impressive, plus it has links to website of many of the operations. It’s definitely worth a gander. And yes, for those that matter, the header image is not Chicago. I know. =) ]
Urban Farms and Gardens in Chicago and Nearby
• 62nd & Dorchester Community Garden
• Academy for Global Citizenship School Garden
• African Heritage Garden
• Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm
• Angelic Organics Learning Center Urban Initiative (Eat to Live Englewood Learning Garden, Urban Incubator Farm, etc)
• Bay Bay’s Peace Garden (Loud Grade Produce Squad)
• The Bayless Production Garden (Shores Garden Consulting)
• Benton House Backyard Botany
• Big Delicious Planet Kitchen Garden
• Bronzeville Community Garden
• Chicago Honey Co-Op
• Chicago Lights Urban Farm
• Chicago Patchwork Farms
• City Farm
• DePaul Urban Garden
• Dunne Technology Academy Mini Farm
• East Garfield Block Club Garden
• Eden Place Nature Center
• The Edible Gardens (Lincoln Park Zoo)
• El Paseo Community Garden
• Farmed Here
• Frankie Machine Community Garden (Wicker Park)
• Gardeneers School Gardens
• Gingko Organic Gardens
• Global Garden Refugee Training Farm
• GreenTown Waukegan
• Growing Power Chicago Farms
• Growing Home Farms
• KAM Isaiah Israel’s Farm and Gardens
• Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse and Community Garden
• Loyola University
• Metropolitan Farms
• The Millenium Neighborhood Garden
• Moah’s Ark
• The Mycelia Project
• Natalie G. Heineman Smart Love Preschool Garden
• Peterson Garden Project
• The Plant
• Pleasant Farms
• preSERVE garden
• Purple Leaf Farms
• Rainbow Beach Victory Garden
• Roots & Rays
• Roseland Community Peace Garden
• Rosemarie Rochetta Wessies Rooftoop Garden (Loyola)
• The Ruby Garden
• South Chicago Art Center’s Artists’ Garden
• The Talking Farm
• Third Unitarian Church Community Garden
• Timuel D. Black Edible Arts Garden
• Uncommon Ground Organic Roof Top Farm
• Urban Canopy
• Weiss Rooftop Farm (Loud Grade Produce Squad)
• Windy City Harvest (Chicago Botanic Garden)
• Xochiquetzal Peace Garden
But to repeat, in Chicago (and other cities), people have taken matters into their own hands. They’ve launched farms and gardens, and they’ve endured and grown.
It’s absurd to consider how, with an infinitesimal fraction of the funds poured out in the War on Poverty, every city in America could, by now, be flourishing in so many ways—through urban farms. Greater vitality, greater health, greater participation, greater profits, a greater citizen-stake in safe neighborhoods…