Memorial Park Edible Landscape Project

Check out our progress by going over to the site, or coming to join us on a weekend morning – either Saturday or Sunday: check the calendar!

ELP

Right by the Memorial Park picnic area, east of the baseball field and the batting cages and south of the general use park/dog park are two mulched beds which Transition Albany and people from the community are busy working to transform into an Edible Landscape, with the blessing of the City under the Friends of Albany Parks program.

Yes, you can imagine fruit trees, canes, vines, herbs, flowers that attract beneficial insects and pollinators, small fruits, beans, tomatoes, greens … in fact a veritable Food Forest! More to come on this concept, but for now let’s just say it’s low maintenance, high yield, and very good for the soil.

We meet every weekend to work on it. At present we’re finishing up a design based on the principles of permaculture to present to the City for their approval before we go ahead making paths that separate walkable areas from beds (a lot of people walk all over it at the moment, which doesn’t help with the compaction of the clay) and dealing with the large amount of water on the site with swales and berms.

We are very open to donations of perennial food plants, seeds, labor, and money. In the main we  like to use materials that don’t have to be bought new, since that is the most duplicatable, cheapest and carries the lowest carbon footprint.

If you’d like to come down and check out the site, we’re usually there on weekend mornings, Sundays or Saturdays. Just check the calendar. The more people that help with this the more fun it will be. We need everyone from experts to total beginners, of every age, so come along down!

Please join us.

HERE’S A REPORT AS OF APRIL 7, 2013

SATURDAY 4/6

On Saturday morning, Tony taught a small group how to install drip irrigation. We learned the difference between Schedule 40 (strong) and Class 200 (weak) PVC pipe, between PVC (pressure) and PE (distribution) pipe, between compression, IPS, hose and slip fittings, when to use teflon tape and when not, the necessity for back flow devices, pressure reducing valves and filters, and how to distinguish/choose between spaghetti PE tube and pre-set emitters.

In the process we converted the sprinkler system in the South bed to drip irrigation by installing a distribution pipe and starting the process of turning off and removing the sprinkler heads. You may get a second chance to learn something when Tony repeats this class (date to be announced).

On Saturday afternoon, Chuck transformed the plain aluminum frame between the raised beds in the North bed into a work of art – go and check it out…

SUNDAY 4/7

On Sunday, we met two new volunteers, Lily and Mariko, and turned the North bed into something that is starting to look like a garden!

The hardest labor was filling wheelbarrows with three square yards of soil and compost Tony had given us and placing it on the growing areas of the North bed. This work was done by many, but special thanks go to Yuki, Tina, Signe, Mariko, and Lily. We created a bed running along the two fences, three mounds between the mulched swales, an area around the existing crab apple, and a corner area where herbs may get planted next weekend.

Bonnie, Leonard and Chuck created a soil-retaining wall in front of our new “climbing” sculpture with donated redwood, and planted sugar snap peas (from me) with many pepino dulce starts (from Bonnie and Karen) in front.

Brigitte planted the raised beds with parsley, bush beans (from Bonnie) and lettuce starts (from SIgne). Yuki’s two young children spent a happy hour carefully extricating worms from a bucket of worm castings and inserting them into the raised beds.

Various of us planted donated tayberry bushes, scarlet runner beans, mashua, tree collards, a Fuji apple from Tony, a greengage plum, borage, calendula, strawberries, corn salad (mache) and an Incaberry/Cape Gooseberry/ground cherry.

Stephanie’s neighbor, Theresa, had found and collected three lovely donated fruit trees from Four Winds Growers in Fremont. Leonard and Anna planted the Trovita orange and Fuyu persimmon along the narrow part of the South bed. As soon as the New Zealand flax is gone we will be able to plant the beautiful lime tree.

Karen brought several herbs and natives that she bedded in appropriate places, and Stephanie arrived in time to help us with sweeping up the debris of two busy days.

Anna went by later to check on things and gave the wind stressed plants a little more water. I went by this morning (Monday) and found the place glowing in the lovely sunshine with healthy, happy plants none the worse for the night of blustery winds. I added some semi-decomposed compost from my garden and mulched the bare beds.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Urgent is the need for nitrogen fixing plants and trees (that will later become mulch) to improve the soil, as well as living cover crops and soil amenders like clover, buckwheat and daikon radish seeds. Cathy Russo and Alexa are planning a medicinal herb planting extravaganza next weekend, and we hope to set up the drip irrigation in both beds (Sunday 14th – 10 am).

The next big planting party will be on Saturday or Sunday April 20-21, Earth Day weekend. If you would like to help, please let me know when you are available so we can plan accordingly. If we have enough volunteers, we may also tackle building the path through the South bed.

Thanks so much for all your willing work and donated plants. This is an exciting project!

Catherine

A Brit who came to the US in 1988 and found California and the Transition movement to be a perfect fit. Now my life is replete with a dear husband, a small but productive permaculture backyard, a loving family and a very full calendar of work I love.

Posted in Community Building, Edible Landscape Project, Food and Agriculture, Local Activities, Social Justice on March 5, 2013