Is your yard kind of overgrown, neglected or unsatisfying? Not really what you’d like to look at out the window? Perhaps it’s your physical condition that prevents you from getting out there or perhaps you believe you have a brown thumb. You might have a vague feeling for you what you want, a detailed plan, or no idea at all.
On the other hand, you might be an avid gardener struggling to satisfy your passion with a container garden or in a tiny space with inadequate sunlight. Or perhaps you’ve done as much as you can in your own yard and you’re itching to transform another patch of ground.
Whichever person you are, think about this: as cheap oil gets scarcer, so will cheap food, given that the average item on the US plate has traveled 1,500 miles to get there. Consensus among geologists has it that we’ll reach a Global Peak in oil production somewhere between 2008 and 2012, and, because it’s hard to tell until after you’ve got there, we may be at that point already. (Why are the oil giants now drilling for oil several miles under the seabed, for instance? The days of striking oil just beneath the surface and abundant “gushers” are long gone, and we’re reduced to risky operations like the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. As this environmental disaster develops, my own oil “habit” is coming under severe scrutiny.)
So, if food starts getting too expensive at the store, let’s learn to grow our own! Small mixed vegetable plots – with flowers for the pollinators – are more productive than commercial agriculture by a large margin, and we can grow exactly what we like and only have to walk out into the yard to get it. How about that for reducing your carbon footprint!
Matching Gardens with Gardeners
Let us know that you’re interested in participating in this project and we’ll match you up with someone who will become a friend and partner as they help you turn the potential of your yard into beauty and food.
Or perhaps you’d like to host a “gardening party?” Neighbors donate their good hard work in the morning (tear up that front lawn and put in beds?), then share a potluck meal and camaraderie afterwards.
Put yourself on the map! This google map was started to visually track all of the abundant food growing or growing potential. Use the color key to navigate the dots, and place your own gardens or available garden space. To add a dot, you have to log into a google account.
City Garden Swap
If we have too many carrots, peas, potatoes, onions, beans, beets, turnips, leafy greens, lettuce, radishes, plums, apples, pears, lemons, kiwis, oranges … we can give them to our neighbors or trade them at the Albany Garden Swap Garden Swap (Tuesday nights 6:30 pm at the Albany Community Center, May through October). What a lovely community event that is! Here’s a description from Eva Wise:
“On Tuesday we arrived at Marin Ave. and Masonic a little before 6:30 pm bearing a basket full of our latest extra garden yield–potatoes, some herbs and parsley tied in small bunches, sorrel. But the sign I’d seen earlier was gone and there was no-one else in sight. Too good to be true, I thought. But as we returned to our car I saw someone setting up an awning and table next to the Ohlone Path across from the library – promising! We grabbed our basket and walked over. In a few minutes others arrived bearing baskets and bags of food–Meyer lemons, giant cauliflowers, salad greens, pea pods, bunches of herbs. I immediately eyed the cauliflowers. Our yellow Yukon potatoes, the only ones there, were instant eyecatchers. Now the table, surrounded by a dozen eager gardeners, was full of fresh vegies. The bartering was hot and heavy. How about two big potatoes for a bunch of snow peas? I scored one-quarter of the giant cauliflower; it made two meals for us.
“The swap lasted only 30 minutes or so. At some point I looked around at the bright, animated faces of the gardeners; a 10-year old girl giving away lemons from her tree without even wanting an exchange. It turned out that the library sign had been stolen, but this hadn’t stopped the gardeners. We are already planning our next barter basket for this coming Tuesday. IMPORTANT: get there a few minutes early; the bartering begins promptly at 6:30. As the summer wears on there may be more gardeners and more food, with bartering harkening back to earlier times when money was not part of the experience of acquiring food. It’s a great way to meet your neighbor gardeners. Or to get encouragement to start your own garden!”