Cassandra Kahl and her daughter Madilyn in front of their square foot garden, planted March 1, 2014
Another Urban Garden
Another Urban Garden is a program that is promoted by Loving Garland Green. It is the heart of our operations. We believe in a simple equation: Increase the number of urban gardens within the city limits of Garland (or any city) and the local economy will improve. This happens because the simple existence of gardens growing food and flowers increases the need for new markets and helps to grow existing markets. Organizations such as Loving Garland Green are springing up all over the USA as people rise up and realize the power of urban agriculture to rebuild their community rests literally in their hands.
We are hoping that more local businesses will get interested in and help support our efforts--after all, a strong local economy benefits us all. These efforts to raise up urban agriculture are not limited to cities like Paris, New York and Chicago. Local governments of smaller urban areas such as Garland Texas and even smaller towns such as Bryan Texas are getting on the "plant an urban garden" bandwagon with their program, Distributed Urban Farming Initiative. Read more about the power of urban gardens as an economic force in California.
If you would like to get on board by participating as a member or sponsor, please call us at 972-571-4497. In the meantime our program, Another Urban Garden, continues to roll along toward building a healthier local economy for our community. In addition to actually building urban gardens, we want to hear from those who are already raising food in our community--whether it's in container gardens, your back yard, front yard or patio. Loving Garland Green would like to register all urban gardens in our community by tne end of 2015 in addition to measuring the impact of these local gardens on our economy as we go.
A Recent Tale of Seven Urban Gardens in Garland's Continuing Greening
Tuesday was a busy day for Charlie and me and the "Another Urban Garden" program of "Loving Garland Green." We drove to Mesquite where we picked up one cubic yard of compost for $10 from the city of Mesquite and then delivered it to four urban gardens here in Garland:
1. The Browning Urban Farm
At Ed Browning's home we unloaded enough compost for two raised beds: one 4 feet by 10 feet and the other one about 3 feet by four feet; three 10 gallon clay pots; four smaller clay pots (about 1/2 gallon) and four other small pots (also about 1/2 gallon). [Note: Compost is only part of the equation for soil in which Ed will grow his plants. He will add some garden soil, vermiculite and sphagnum moss to his soil as well as a few ollas for water conservation. As a final touch after planting, Ed will cover the top of the soil with mulch to help slow down evaporation and to protect the roots of his plants. The thing to remember is that soil only needs about 5% organic matter. The rest is made of 45% minerals, 25% water and 25% air. Vermiculite, expanded shale and sphagnum moss help to provide the rest of needed magic to grow healthy plants.] I know, it's difficult sometimes to let go our American thinking of "bigger is better" and "you-can't-have-too-much-of-a-good-thing-like-compost", but perhaps it is time for us to rethink some of our conventional national wisdom.
2. The Kahl Urban Farm
After setting up Ed's beds with soil, we drove over to the Kahl family's home here in Garland. As you may remember, we installed Another Urban Garden--a square foot garden--at their home on March 1. We were assisted in these efforts by the Mayor of Garland, Douglas Athas. Today we took a wire composting cage over to set up for the Kahl familty. Lucky for us, Madilyn Kahl, the most enthusiastic three-year old urban farmer you've ever met, had just raked a large pile of leaves for us. We put them in for the carbon layer and added a generous supply of vegetable scraps that Charlie and I have been saving for about a week, then placed another layer of leaveas on top of the vegetable scraps and concluded the installation by watering the contents of the wire cage thoroughly.
It was encouraging to see that everything we had planted on March 1 was thriving (with the exception of one Kale plant that didn't make it through a hard freeze). Even the asparagus was giving us a nod as well as the potatoes--both of which are part of the Kahl Urban Farm's container garden section.
3. The Bivilacqua Urban Farm
At Nathan Bivilacqua's home we unloaded enough compost to supplement his three raised vegetable beds. (Each season it is advisible to add 3 to 5inches of compost to the garden soil from last season.)
4. The Berry Urban Farm
Then at my home we added compost to various neglected spots in my several urban gardens. I could swear that I heard the plants saying "thank you."
Wednesday, March 26--Another Urban Garden day. . .
5. At the Soon-to-be Mathis Urban Farm
Today we met with Marie Mathis in south Garland to discuss putting in a raised bed in her back yard. The placement area was selected and mapped off for one 10'long -2inch thick -10 inch tall by 4 feet wide bed. In 10 days to two weeks we will be planting beets, squash and other vegetables in Marie's bed.
6. At the Soon-to-be Dinkins Urban Farm
After stopping at Marie's place, we went over to her neighbors home, Sandra Dinkins. Sandra's chain link fence is a perfect home for some blueberry starts I have. I'll bring them when we put in her raised bed. No doubt, later in the spring when we revisit Sandra's garden, the vegetables will be huge as Sandra already demonstrates a large green thumb by virtue of all the beautiful and healthy pansies growing in her front yard.
A corner of Sandra's large back yard Sandra and Charlie
7. At the Shortsleeve Urban Farm
To conclude our day of "Another Urban Garden", we stopped by to see Jean Shortsleeve's garden. Jean is a member of Loving Garland Green. On March 1, one of our board members, Robert Opel installed an urban garden for Jean. To our delight, Jean's kale was thriving largely--much more largely than mine in fact!
The Loving Garland Green Urban Garden Registry
To date, we have 27 garland urban gardens registered with Loving Garland Green. If you would like to add your garden to the registry, please call Liz at 972-571-4497. We'll come over and explain our program in detail.