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The Book of Vegetables (1907), by Allen French.
“Liquid manure” as spoken of in this book, can be conveniently made by immersing a bag of fresh horse manure in a tub of water. The product is strong in nitrogen, and is excellent as an application to plants which are expected to make a good stalk and leaf growth. The liquid manure should be applied dilute, and in small quantities; it should be put upon the ground, and never upon the plant itself.
It’s much easier today, to apply liquid manure to flowers and vegetables. Here’s a source for Cow Manure Tea from Authentic Haven Brand, for the modern urban farmer.
“Lawns are an attempt to dominate and homogenize nature, something that hasn’t worked out very well. Gardens, however, especially urban ones, make visible “the intimate relationship between people, cities and food, constantly reminding us of the complexities and poetry of growing food and eating,” says Haeg. From which, just about everyone who’s thought about the subject agrees, we’ve all become alienated.
“And small-scale suburban and urban gardening has incredible potential. Using widely available data, Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International estimates that converting 10 percent of our nation’s lawns to vegetable gardens “could meet about a third of our fresh vegetable needs at current consumption rates.”
“Ten percent is optimistic; even 1 percent would be a terrific start, because there is a lot of lawn in this country. In fact it’s our biggest crop, three times as big as corn, according to research done using a variety of data, much of it from satellites. That’s around a trillion square feet — 50,000 square miles — and, since an average gardener can produce something like a half-pound of food per square foot (you garden 100 square feet, you produce 50 pounds of food), without getting too geeky you can imagine that Doiron’s estimates are rational.
“Lawns are not exactly the enemy, but they’re certainly not helping matters any. (For a real anti-lawn rant, see Ted Steinberg’s book “American Green.”) When they were used for grazing sheep — sheep are the best lawn-mowers — they made some sense. But as ornamentation, only a few parts of the United States have the climate to sustain them. (Kentucky bluegrass is not even native to Kentucky, let alone Arizona.) In the remainder they’re horrible water-wasters and enormous users of chemical fertilizer.”
The Edible Garden: Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)
Have you met the new Super Fruit? It is commonly known as The Wolfberry or Matrimony Vine.
Goji is hardy in zones 5 to 9, and because it is a cousin of the tomato, it also requires full sun. Purple flowers appear in spring, and by summer the sweet berries will start to ripen and be ready to harvest. (A pollinator is not needed.) The berries contain 13 percent protein and are loaded with anti-oxidants. Not only that, the Goji berry contains more iron than spinach and more Vitamin C than an orange. Eat the berries fresh, or dry them like other dried fruits. What else could you ask for from a Super Food?
The shrub is quite vigorous, so make sure it is planted in a suitable location where the vine-like branches have ample room to spread. Try training it as an espalier, where its shape can be easily managed. Choose a main cane which will become the trunk of the plant, and prune accordingly. Planting more than one? Allow 6-8 feet between the plants. The Goji will need annual pruning to keep it in check (thin out previous year’s growth), and to encourage new growth which will produce new fruit. Because the berries are edible, be aware that birds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer will eat the leaves and the berries, so be prepared to wrap netting around your plant, if necessary.
Goji ‘Sweet Lifeberry’ is a Proven Winners Selection for 2013.
Detailed instructions on how to grow the Goji can be found here.
The Crack Garden, residential design, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA.
Ingredients: Jackhammer, soil amendments, plants that include vegetables, herbs, flowers, and weeds. Cost: $500
Photos: Tom Fox
A guerrilla gardener’s idea of a French potager is the cultivation of concrete. Even with a small budget, a garden in a concrete jungle can be acquired.
Using a jackhammer, rows were created in the concrete, just wide enough to drop in some soil amendments and small plants. The result: a low-maintenanace, minimalist garden which also serves as a food and flower source. Simple genius.
When Guerrilla Gardeners and Guerrilla Urbanists collide: Florian Rivière, Wheelbench, Vienna, September 2012.
Rivière reinvents public spaces by utilizing found objects, resulting in “a fusion of public space design, upcycling and militant expression.”
Another innovative portable bench by Rogier Martens, the wheelbarrow bench:
Vegetable garden - a simple “get started” guide, and it only requires a 4’ x 4’ plot or box. Simple instructions at the link. You have just run out of excuses.
Looks as though the “boxes” are all constructed just for this purpose - cool anyway and colorful.
So….how about these rain barrels?!
Urban graffiti forest, Sam Javanrouh, photographer, flickr.
Trees on the Wall,