Monthly Archives: March 2013

SF Reading/Presentation

The garden is really, really coming together. Yesterday my neighbor and I jack-hammered up a bunch of concrete. Last week I tried to use a concrete cutter, to no avail. The concrete on the lot, we discovered, is 6 inches thick and is very old, very limey. It’s a nightmare. But that jackhammer, that jackhammer went through the concrete like butter. I need to add compost and gypsum before planting the trees. Can’t wait.

Anyway, I’ll be doing a reading and presentation April 1 in San Francisco! I’ll have some slides to show how the garden is getting transformed, in addition to the back story. So, come on over to the Presidio!

USF Presidio Campus 112 – Classroom
Monday, April 01, 2013
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Camarillo Calling…

Hello. Anyone out there living in the Santa Barbara area? If so, come on over to Camarillo, where I’ll be doing two events at the main library this weekend. The gracious librarians and patrons chose my book Farm City as their one book, one city read. I’m so excited. The whole family is loading up the car as I type this. Here are the details:

Saturday, 2:30, Main Library, Camarillo. I’ll be moderating (and chiming in) a panel discussion: “In Search of Good Food” with local food folks and urban farmers.

Sunday, 2:00, Main Library, Camarillo. I’ll be reading from Farm City and doing a slideshow!

Here’s the address for the main library.
4101 Las Posas Road
Camarillo CA 93010
The library is located at 4101 Las Posas Road, Camarillo. If you are coming from the 101, take the Lewis exit and continue north until you reach Las Posas. Right on Las Posas. Library is about one block on right.

See you there!

Gearing Up For Spring

This is a miracle: I have planted all my tomatoes already. I think it’s the first time I’ve finally realized that I live in California, and as such, I can plant stuff early early early. I tucked them under floating row cover to keep them warm during the chilly nights. I snagged some Early Girls from Kassenhoff Growers that I plan to dry-farm.
Planted three San Marzanos for canning, and two Sungolds for cherry tomatoes. I’m hoping to later get two starts of my personal favorite tomato: the amazing Paul Robeson, which I’ll probably get from Daniel at Spiral Gardens in South Berkeley.

Yesterday I also planted radishes, and added another super to my very healthy beehive. I feel so lucky to have access to my big-ass garden: Franny has taken to wandering out there in the morning to do some digging and dirt-eating.

Even if you don’t have access to a garden–for whatever reason no land, no green thumb, no time–there is something you can do this upcoming spring to ensure you’ll have a steady stream of delicious vegetables: sign up for a CSA! A CSA is an acronym for Community Supported/or Sustained Agriculture. Basically you find a farm that you believe in, promise to pay for a weekly box vegetables for a season, and then get ready for a beautiful onslaught of produce every week. CSA works great for the farmer, who god knows, needs a steady stream capital to buy seeds and property taxes and infrastructure. The consumer not only gets a share of the produce, they get the satisfaction of supporting a farmer.

If I didn’t have a garden, I would subscribe to Live Power Community Farm‘s CSA box. Live Power is a unique, amazing, draft-horse powered 40-acre farm up in Covelo. I’ve spent a few weekends there and I can say without a doubt, the produce is the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. I distinctly remember biting into one of their green gage plums, and almost crying it was so tasty. Live Power is a biodynamic farm–which goes well beyond organic standards. Gloria and Stephen are the farmers, and you’ll never meet cooler people. The care that goes into their land is palatable. You should see their compost piles. Incredible. And, the only way you are going to get Live Power produce is by subscribing to their CSA share–they don’t sell at farmer’s markets. Know that you’ll be embarking on joining a community, too. It’s not just a drop off of produce–in fact, twice a season, you’ll help pack the boxes and get to meet all the other members. It’s a great supportive community. I’m actually starting to feel jealous… So, sign up by emailing their membership coordinator: jeaner.27 at gmail dot com! They serve Marin, SF, and the East Bay. You’ll need to sign up by March 30; their season runs from May 18-December 7.

Reminder: Garden day is on for Thursday, if it’s not raining. 3-6-ish, at 2727 MLK. I rented a concrete cutter from the tool lending library so if anyone has power tool skills or aggression toward pavement, please please join us!


I’m newly discovering boundaries. In the garden. Before I liked to just make big berms, toss some seeds in, and call it a garden bed. But then I noticed people seemed to not know it was a garden bed and would stand there, on top of the lettuce. Of course you can’t blame anyone–how would they know? So, I’ve been dabbling with different border materials. One rule: they must be free.

The first came about because I had a bunch of these cinder blocks around. I think I found them on a corner a few years back. So far they are making a good border. Obviously they are sturdy. I like that I can plant into the little holes–herbs only, though, because I think once summer hits these blocks will get hella hot and dry. There’s something very Soviet era about this garden bed. Not sure I love it.


Then there’s this totally jankity bed.

One of my volunteers delicately mentioned that she wouldn’t want to use these slabs of concrete as edging. “Why not?” I asked, so proud of my stacking abilities. “It looks a little…messy.” Now that I look at the photos, she is absolutely right. I am not smitten with this material. But, have I mentioned that it is free?

Finally, my fav: stumps. This too is pretty messy looking. But a woodsy mess as opposed to a rubble mess.

Here’s the car that loaded all the stumps. I nearly destroyed the leaf springs or something like that. You can find more stumps and logs at Hearst and 4th in Berkeley, near Import Tile, where the day laborers wait. And maybe you’ll see me too. I don’t think I’m done yet.

Remember: Farm Work Day Tomorrow, March 14, 3-6pm. At 2727 Martin Luther King. Bring a friend, and get ready to work it baby.

Rain cancels

Ok, see you in the garden tomorrow, 3-5pm. Rain cancels, though, which it will likely do.