GANG Garden revs up for 2013 season. Thanks, gang!

I posted this first in exopermaculture. See:

Photo Essay: GANG Garden work day, April 21, 2012. Thanks, everyone!

doug

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More riches arriving . . .

Scored again for the GANG! Wood chips from the city

Lee Huss, Bloomington city forester, called me yesterday, while I was trying to figure out how to change title and registration of an old truck that my son Colin is gifting to the GANG garden with this great news: “I’ve got a driver out your way, with chips. Where should he put them?”

“Great! Thanks, Lee. Put them in front of my house, between the garden and the street.”

The driver did a very precise job. YES.

So much fun, scavenging for the GANG. Jim already moved the load of grass clippings from a couple of days ago. This load will go on the carpets, laid down over the aisles.

 

 

 

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How to build soil while making new friends . . .

Scavaging for the GANG garden — this morning, grass clippings!

Lots of them. A whole truckfull. From Indiana University groundskeepers. Whew!

The two IU groundskeepers, Shadow, and Jim, my housemate, who directed where to put the clippings.

I consider this a real coup . . .

Shadow and were out on one of our usual morning walks, this one into a big grassy area north of campus. Once again, no chemtrails above. A good omen.

Came upon these two men, both dear hearts, forking grass clippings into a white truck with the IU decal on the door. Would they mind taking this load of grass clippings to theGreen Acres Neighborhood Garden? It’s nearby.

“Well, I dunno. We’d have to ask the boss.”

After a bit more hemming and hawing, and me begging and scraping in front of them, Shadow dancing around their feet, one of them sauntered over to the truck cab and pulled out his walky-talky.

The boss: “Nearby?  I see no problem with that.”

Shadow and I ran home to be on the street in front when they arrived. Got here just in the nick of  time. Jim, the young permaculturist and Goddard student who lives with me, directed them to dump the pile just in front of flower gardens at my house, since he’s working on a project for a sweet little gate for the garden itself (next door),

Finally, we’re going to get an obvious gate into the garden. As it is now, people don’t even know the gate is there unless they are already familiar with it. Jim is working to create two little raised garden beds here, on the outside, before creating a more obviously welcoming gate. All these projects take time. As the founder and organizer — and elder — I sit back and watch young permies do their thing, utilizing the permaculture principles we all learned in the two-week-long permaculture design class.

and didn’t want that area disturbed. Told me he’d clean the whole mess up.

WHEE!

This is not the first time I’ve scavenged for materials for the GANG. Not the first time our morning walks have yielded riches. Most of these unexpected finds come from where neighbors pile what they don’t want for the city to take away. But not all.

A few years ago I spotted bamboo growing a few blocks away (for temporary garden structures; now we have our own bamboo patch to harvest). I went up to the door and asked the renters if they would ask the owner if we could cut part of it. YES!

Old carpet (for garden aisles,

then covered with woodchips (donated, when I ask, by the city of Bloomington, or by men cutting down nearby trees),

Here’s one of our aisles, carpet laid down and partially covered with wood chips (I’ve put a call into the city for more . . .). Notice the Garden Tower to the right (www.gardentowerproject.com). We’ve found that aisles treated this way discourage weeds for about three years in this climate, and then need to be replaced.

leaves from nearby neighbors each fall, a tree trunk downed by a windstorm and dragged from next door (for a hugelculture bed).

Image thanks to permaculture institute of Australia. A log can go in as the base of these type of beds, and then disintegrates slowly.

Cardboard too, once in a while. I see it piled flat on the curb, and, like the carpet, load it into the back of the Prius. All of this stuff, flotsam and jetsam of the suburban landscape, for the lasagna beds, to mulch them and keep building soil.

For now, Jim says he’d like to mix this load of grass in with our compost piles, some of which are mostly carbon (sticks) and in need of nitrogen.

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Harvest Season

Well, we have survived the drought… let’s hope! We have 1 really active bed at GANG, full of basil and tomatoes and peppers so enthused to be growing! I was able to harvest some today to start preserving food for the change of seasons (mmmmmmm pesto!) and have a couple pictures to share of the beautiful harvest!

First, friendly tomatoes.

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The cool thing is all the different colors and shapes of tomatoes that we were able to grow, and there are lots more that are on their way!

Here is one tomato going directly into our hot sauce:

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Hot sauce? Oh yeah… harvested a couple of those “pipi de mono” – monkey penis – peppers ! Here they are chopped and ready for the hot sauce. Remember: if you take the seeds out of hot peppers they are more tolerable!

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We mix that with some onions and lime juice and vinegar and take it out every meal to put on our food. YUM!

I also decided to put in some of the other beautiful peppers I harvested. The red ones are Venezuelan sweet habaneros. And they really are sweet, with just a touch of spice, but I eat them like candy! They have a really fascinating flavor. And the yellow…well I am pretty sure that is a Peruvian Habanero and it is deceptively HOT! First we just cut into the flesh and each took a little bite… no flavor. Then I cut it in half and just barely TOUCHED the pepper to my tongue and it BURNED! I drank 3 glasses of milk and have recovered. So I just put a little slice of that in our hot sauce. Here they are, the gorgeous Habeneros!!

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And basil, yes, I mentioned basil. It is growing like CRAZY! We already harvested a whole bunch, and it was featured at: The Rail! But it keeps growing…. so got to make more pesto!
 Here’s some of the raw, beautiful basil:

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That’s all the show and tell for today but if you are interested in how this stuff grows and where it comes from, come visit us at GANG!

 

 

 

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Beans

A walk through the growth of the beans, from the beginning.

 

First Steph and Sarah planted the babies in the teepee

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And then they started growing….

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And just kept going!!

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And higher and higher they wrapped around that teepee…

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Then some mighty blossoms took their places on the vines…

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And before long, we had some beans to deal with…

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Happy Face!

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Blackberries

The best photo diary I could do of the blackberry phenomenon in Green Acres Neighborhood Garden.

 

First, we see John mulching with some green blackberry brambles and some white flowers…

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And the berries start to form and even turn color…

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Here they are maturing, with the first one finally ready!

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And now the delicious bliss of fresh blackberries.

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Summer Solstice – Garden Party

Last weekend, we had our annual Children’s Art Hour and Garden Party. It was a delightful and magical moment of sharing, made special by the wonderful company.

We started the day with 2 families and their children, who painted fun decorations to put around the garden to invite in the fairies and the “little people” who protect and care for us. Look at how dedicated they were to their work!

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Zinnia was very intense with her artwork…!

And proud Sarah made a piece or two to share, as well!

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The best was watching the young ones explore the garden!

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When they were all tired out and the sun was hot and high… it was time to prepare the food!

Some pesto with basil and garlic from our very own Garden!

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And the whole table of food was a FEAST!! Pure abundance!

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Grateful for a crate of peaches from our musician friend…we made some peach cobbler!

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It was very popular! Especially with ice cream!

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We were lucky to have some musicians create sacred space for us while we ate…

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And everyone had a delightful time sharing, laughing, and eating in the beauty of the flourishing garden.

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And the music continued….

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We had a wonderful ceremony to bring us together, a simple moment of thanks and celebration marking the Summer Solstice. Each one of us participated in our own way, adding to the circle.

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And so, a little something of each of us stayed there in the garden, adding to its light and life.

 

A special thanks to José for most of the photos!

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