Erin and Jack plant a peach tree in their grandmother's woodland garden
As of Sunday, March 30, my woodlands garden now has three peach trees, two pomegranates, countless strawberries in bloom, 19 blueberry plants, the tenuous beginning of a rubarb and asparagus plant, four blackberry plants, numerous perennial flowers and one unidentified fern. (Note: my woodlands garden wasthe source of inspiration for nonprofit Loving Garland Green's beginning) All are thriving on about one-third of land that was once my front lawn. Erin and Jack helped me to plant the third peach tree. Children are great and enthusiastic gardeners. Unlike some adults, they demonstrate the utmost of patience and persistence when engaged in gardening activities. Perhaps they realize the importance of the task at hand and its relevance to the future. I don't know.
For those new to the urban gardening scene,a woodlands garden (sometimes called 'forest gardening') is the oldest form of land use and one of the most resilient agroecosystems. Forest gardening is a low maintenance, sustainable,plant-based food production system based on woodland ecosystems that incorporates food and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables. Using companion planting, these plants can be intermixed to build a woodland habitat. The book providing the source of inspiration for me is titled "Paradise Lot". It is the story of how two friends living in a home on 1/10th of an acre in Holyoke, Mass. transformed their back yard into a woodlands garden. Now they teach classses on how to do it. Paradise Lot.
Today, the Internet abounds in information regarding woodlands gardens. The parks departments of many cities all over the USA are establishing woodland gardens. We at Loving Garland Green hope to establish one in the space we have been provided at 4022 Naaman School Road here in Garland.
Installation of First Raised Bed at the Garland Community Garden coming on Saturday April 12--weather permitting
Sometime this week, as the representative for Loving Garland Green, I will be signing our official 8-page plus exhiibits agreement with the City of Garland. This agreement provides Loving Garland Green the license to be stewards for the administration of a community garden, the area of which is defined in this agreement. The area is about a quarter of an acre within the larger area of space at 4022 Naaman School Road. We had hoped for more, but will gratefully accept what has been allocated to us by city employees of the parks department. After all, look at what the two friends did with 1/10 of an acre they called Paradise Lot. We will take heart from their example.
The big disappointment for me is that we will not have access to the bamboo groove there. I had hoped that we could clear out paths within that area where people could enter the groove and walk about. Walking and even sitting within a bamboo forest is a tranquil and calming experience. The only experience i have found to be comparable is being in the depths of a birch forest in Denmark. As it is, without permission to clear walking paths within the groove since it falls outside the licensed area for our stewardship, we do not recommend for people to seek this experience there as you could trip and fall, or get your eyeballs scratched with the sharp leaves.
More details on bed installations at the community garden to come.
Our Last Yard Sale for a While Was a Huge Success.
We raised $501.35. Members of Loving Garland Green met many nice people. Our yard sales are laid-back affairs where we visit with one another, chat about our gardens and meet a lot of nice people who come to buy the treasures we have gathered.
Among the many nice people I met was Anna who lives in south Garland. Anna is a young mother who is interested in starting a garden but who was discouraged with the results she got last year. Like many inexperienced gardeners, Anna planted in unamended soil. She was very encouraged to hear the news of amended soil and raised beds. I sent her information regarding our "Another Urban Garden" program.
This was our third yard sale and now we are giving it a rest for a while. Perhaps we will have another one around the Fourth of July or perhaps a little earlier on the Summer Solstice since it is June 21 and falls on a Saturday this year. That might be fun--a Midsummer's Night celebration. Margie's garden would be the perfect place. We wouldn't even have to bring snacks. We could just munch on all the vegetable in Margie's garden or perhaps we can walk down to the community garden, only a block away, and dance in the light of the waning crescent moon.
New Loving Garland Green Brochures
If you want to learn more about the programs we offer: such as participation in the community garden; Another Urban Garden; and Micro Villages; we have recently created three brochures describing Another Urban Garden and Micro Villages.
Loving Garland Green Brochure - Another Urban Garden
Loving Garland Green Brochure - Micro Villages
Loving Garland Green Brochure - Micro Villages as Investments
Possible Tour on a Mid-May Saturday to Visit Tiny Home Manufacturer in Luling, Texas--Brad Kittel
Plans are in the making to get together enough folks from Garland and the surrounding DFW area to Luling, Texas where Brad Kittel's Tiny Texas Houses manufacturing site is located. Judging from the the description of Mr. Kittel's operations at this website, his tours are quite extensive and educational.
Go here for more information about the tours: http://store.puresalvageliving.com/product/tiny-texas-houses-guided-tours/
If this sounds like a tour you might be interested in, please respond on Loving Garland Green's website. Perhaps if there is not eough interest to warrant renting a bus, we can go in a caravan.
Enthusisam for Urban Gardens Continues to Grow in Garland
Loving Garland Green, as part of our "Another Urban Garden" program, have installed two urban gardens for Garland residents and have three more on our schedule for installation. We are hoping to obtain funding from the City of Garland's Neighborhood Vitality program to support this program for Garland residents. If we obtain that funding, we may be able to create a few jobs by contracting out some of the work for the builds of the raised beds. As we are the living example: urban gardens help to grow and heal local economies by creating new markets and boosting existing ones.
One of many examples of how motivated the residents of Garland are to grow their own food is evidenced by Eric who lives in South Garland. Eric attended one of our meetings two weeks ago. At the meeting I loaned him my copy of "Square Foot Gardening". Below you can see two photos illustrating the fact that Eric took the words of Mel Bartholomew, author of this book, to heart.
In less than two weeks time Eric built a square foot garden in his backyard. Instead of wood strips, Eric used string to mark the foot squares of his bed. This is the design we will follow at the Garland Community Garden as well.
Eric's bed is four feet wide (the standard width for all square foot gardens) and nine feet long. Square foot gardens can vary in width, but all are four feet wide to ensure easy access for the garden. Because of the intense planting configurations associaation with square foot gardening, these raised beds have crop yields up to 50% more than the traditional row planting methods. Eric has used string to delineate his foot squares instead of the traditional wood strips. When we install our first square foot garden at the Garland Community Garden, we too will use string. In the second photo I see that Eric has created an easily removable cage of chicken wire over his bed. These cages are used to keep pests and pets out of the garden. Additionally, in the summertime when the noonday sun is too intense, one can put a sheet on top of the cage to protect the plants.