Flower Ave Garden Project: Our First Volunteer

The Flower Ave Garden had it’s first official volunteer today.

ken2

Ken is a Los Angelian via Montana. Ken heard about the Flower Ave Garden through a mutual friend and contacted me to come check it out.

ken1

It was great to have the help and share some knowledge.

Some companion planting was done in the large bed. Companion planting means to plant two different types of plants together in the same bed. For example, these are carrot seeds mixed with radish seeds:

carrot seeds

It’s a 50/50 mix that is sprinkled in the ground and covered with a light layer of dirt. The radish grow at a faster rate than the carrots and will be ready for harvest sooner. The radish also create good spacing between the carrots. Because space is a factor with urban farming, companion planting is a must.

carrot seeds2

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

~Margaret Mead

Flower Ave Garden Project: Good Fences Make Good…Trellises!

I’m closing in on the home stretch for completing construction in the front yard of the Flower Ave Garden. I was able to get fencing up around the perimeter of the yard. It will double as the perfect trellis for peas and cucumbers that will be planted soon.

building fence

fence done

I was also able to plant one of the beds with ice lettuce. The scientific name for ice lettuce  is Ficoide glaciale. Native to the southern hemisphere, it has fleshy, lightly acidic leaves that are covered with shimmering silvery dots that give them a frosty appearance. The leaves are crunchy and refreshing in salads, and may also be cooked like spinach

ice lettuce planted1

ice lettuce planted2

Up next, irrigation =]

Flower Ave Garden Project: Fava Beans And A Nice Chianti (fuhfuhfuh)

Ok, so maybe no cannibalism took place, but yesterday was a landmark day for the Flower Ave Garden…I was able, after a lot of blood sweat tears and splinters, to get some things planted!!

We began to fill the beds with soil. The first layer was the soil brought down from the ranch in SB; it contained more sand and will help with drainage.

Beds Half Filled

The second layer is of the native soil. One of the neighbors told me that this area used to be bean fields before being developed into the residential area it is today. That explains why the soil is so rich and fertile! It’s funny because LA is very much an urban city so it’s easy to forget that at one time, before all of the cars and smog and traffic and people, that this land was wide open. I loved to learn that it was old farmland… I’m hoping that this soil remembers its roots and is happy to help grow vegetables again.

SB Venice Soil

After the native soil went in, I topped it off with compost, and blended it all the best I could.

Beds Filled

I usually like to direct sow (which means planting a seed directly in the ground) fava beans, but I needed to get them started and didn’t have the beds out front ready, so I seeded them in pots. You can see the root structure already beginning.

Potted Favas

All of my favas are in the beds, tucked in tight!

Row Of Favas

Rows Of Favas

It makes me have to stop and enjoy this moment. So much planning and groundwork went in to getting the garden to this point and I am so thankful for all of the help I had; there is NO WAY I could have done it alone! I’m looking forward to seeing the changes spring will bring to this quiet little garden…good things on the horizon!

me bed

“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”
~Margret Thatcher

Flower Ave Garden Project: New Structures

All of the raised beds in the front are IN!! It was an intense day, building into the evening just to get everything done. After about 10 hours of sawing and drilling and measuring and leveling, they were finally finished. It was one of those days that had to be ended with a cold beer in a hot shower.

beds complete

The bottom of each bed is lined with ground covering to prevent weeds. The beds will be filled with soil and soon will be ready to be planted!

bed lining

The greenhouse is changing every day. My fava bean seeds have sprouted and are looking forward to being planted in their permanent home in the beds out front.

fava sprout
fave sprout2

“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”
~ John F. Kennedy

Flower Ave Garden Project: The Stakeout

I was able to get a good look at what the garden will be like once the raised beds are in. All of the beds were measured and marked, then outlined with twine

stekout

Some of my first seeding projects took place as well. I soaked my fava seeds before I seeded them, to increase the rate of germination.

soaking favas fava soak

I discovered that my old toques from culinary school make the perfect lining for my seeding trays! They are lightweight and breathable, and will let moisture pass through without falling apart. An education from the Culinary Institute of America, the gift that keeps on giving 😉

toque seeder

I was also able to get my chalkboard wall with my 2013 garden calendar up! Next step is to find someone who can bedazzle the wall with cool chalk art…currently accepting submissions from muralists :p

 calendar