Kate’s Beautiful Alley Garden

My friend Kate had me over the other day (lucky me) and we poked around in her yard looking for extra gardening space.  We spotted some unused space hiding in the back alley, and Kate wasted no time getting down to making it beautiful!

Here’s her take on it:

It was a very empowering exersize to capitalize on unused and available space for a garden. So often we think – we don’t have time! We don’t have space! We do have the space. It was empowering to design it myself, but also to collect the materials I needed to make this happen. I had to try a little hard to find the woodchips, but I was pleasantly surprised to find how available free things are. The woodchips people were only too obliging to help me out, from nursery folks to arbourists (as you said!). A whole load of compost picked up from the dump was $5…:)

It was also great to spend the time in my own neighbourhood, as part of it. I talked to more people on the 2 days I spent garden-building than I have since I moved in about 2.5 years ago. People are interested and happy to see that I was beautifying the alley.

I can’t wait to see what starts to grow and the growing pains I may have with soil erosion, drainage etc – but how worthwhile!

And the visual aids:

Great job, Kate!


2009 Deliveries! City-grown veggies, biked to your door.

Mmmm, smell those cherry blossoms!  Although the spring has been a long time coming, it’s finally here and that means it’s time to sign up for this season’s Farmhouse Farm CSA.

Here’s how it works:

With a $100 membership deposit, you get yourself on the list for a box of fresh organic veggies grown right here at the Farmhouse in South Vancouver, delivered to your door once a week by bicycle.  We’ll start deliveries at the end of May or beginning of June, and end sometime around Thanksgiving or Halloween.  Each box gets an equal share of whatever is in season that week, so that in weeks when there’s lots we all get lots, and weeks when there’s less we all get less, but no matter what it’s always an equal share.  This is a marketing structure known as “crop-sharing” that’s used by small farmers in many places to help us compete with large, corporate-controlled farms and the retailers that empower them.

And what will be in the box?  Each week there will be a bag of salad greens and edible flowers, several different varieties of herbs, hard greens like kale, arugula, orach, dandelion or beet greens, and then a selection of in-season vegetables and fruit.  Some of what’s on this year’s list include peas, pole beans, fava beans, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes, blackberries, radishes, bok choy, and peppers.

In addition, this year I’m also offering our whole food natural-brewed Kombucha, a wonderful living food drink made with organic tea and herbs from the garden.  We are also collaborating with other urban farms to offer local honey and eggs as they become available.

All this delivered to your door (within the City of Vancouver) for a weekly charge of $30, plus a $20 bag-and-bottle deposit (payable with the first weeks’ delivery) which will be returned at the end of the season.

Interested folks should email  farmhousefarm (at) gmail (dot) com with your address and delivery instructions (back door, under the stairs, etc.) and I’ll get you on the list.  Spaces go quickly, so don’t wait!  And if you know anyone who might be interested, please pass on the info.

Happy Spring!

The Hundred Foot Garden

Well, wonder of wonders!  It looks like spring has finally (maybe) come to Vancouver.  Although we’re a few weeks behind due to weather, it’s definitely time to start thinking about gardening, and about learning to garden!

To that end, this is a callout for a currently under/unused but gardenable space to be the site of a one-day workshop on a Saturday in May.  The space should be large enough to hold a ten-by-ten foot raised garden bed, and should have adequate sun (five to eight hours per day of direct sun) and access to water.  The space holder will receive free attendance at the workshop for themselves and a guest, and will end up with a complete, self-sustaining food production garden which will produce food all year and require less than five hours a week of simple maintenance.  Included will also be follow-up maintenance coaching for the garden’s host, and the handbook that goes with the workshop outlining the installation and maintenance of the garden throughout its three-year rotation and into perpetuity.  Experience is most definitely not required!

Preference will be given to families and low-income people, or community gardens that serve those communities.  If you have or know someone who has a suitable space, please contact me by April 15th.  Leave a message in the comments on this site, or email farmhousefarm (at) gmail (dot) com.