Tag Archives: urban permaculture

Haultain Common: The Season in Photos

Photo by Mike Large

As you may know, SLUGS has been partnering with the Haultain Common for 2012 and holding monthly workshops/work parties at the Common.  We’re stoked to have the chance to work with the Commoners because it gives us a chance to put all our gardening learning into practice while helping to build an amazing community food resource.

We’ve been snapping photos when we have a chance throughout the year, and I wanted to put them together in one place so you could see the evolution of what we’ve been working on.  From a dormant winter garden on a drafty February afternoon to a riotous food forest in the August heat, here is the season at the Common! Continue reading

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Haultain Common Tour and Work Party, Monday August 13th, 7-9 pm

Another great opportunity to tour this amazing community boulevard garden and food resource and lend a hand with a few tasks here and there.

The Common-ers and youth from the SLUGS program have been spending the season planning, building, weeding and harvesting at this rad communal garden space!  From a mostly bare boulevard in February to the bountiful food forest that exists now, it’s been a lot of work, but with really satisfying (and delicious) results.

Stop by on Monday August 13th to tour the Common, learn more about permaculture food forests and boulevard gardens, and help us do a bit of weeding.  We’ll be meeting at 7pm — the day’s heat will have mellowed by then, but we’ll still have plenty of light to work and talk and learn by.  Hope to see you there!

Location:  The Haultain Common, 1420 Haultain (at Asquith)

Cost:  free!

Urban Homesteading Book Reviews

I tend to spend a lot of time reading about urban agriculture projects (both because I have a rad job that allows me to do so and because I am a nerd who would do so anyway) and recommending resources to folks looking to get started on an apartment balcony garden or amp up their sustainable urban ways.  I’ve put together reviews of four urban homesteading books I’ve read recently (all of which are available at the Victoria Public Library), and would love to hear about what books or online resources you’ve read and enjoyed as well. Continue reading

Haultain Common Tour and Work Party, Sunday June 10th, 2-4 pm

A great opportunity to tour this amazing community boulevard garden and food resource and lend a hand with a few tasks here and there.

The Common is happening! Come & see the new Strawberrium, with its sweet winding path, designed with kids in mind. See the paths, with their new wood chips. Marvel at how the perennials have nestled in & sunk their roots. And guess what? There are artichokes!

Plus, while you’re there, you can take a bit of time to lend a hand with pulling weeds here and there as well as doing a bit of mulching.

Cost:  free!

Location:  The Haultain Common, 1420 Haultain (at Asquith)

The Haultain Common: What We’ve Been Up To

I just wanted to give everyone a bit of an update about our work at the Haultain Common this year.  As you may know, SLUGS is partnering with the Haultain Common for 2012 and holding monthly workshops/work parties at the Common.  We’re stoked to have the chance to work with the Commoners because it gives us a chance to put all our gardening learning into practice while helping to build an amazing community food resource.

In case you haven’t heard about the Haultain Common, here’s a bit of background:  It’s a boulevard garden located at the intersection of Haultain and Asquith in Fernwood.  The Common was started by Rainey Hopewell and Margot Johnson, and has always been a collaborative community effort.  There are always neighbourhood folks stopping by to help work or harvest, and lots of curious passers by who stop to ask questions and often stay to help out.  The Common is on public land and is a public food resource.  All are welcome to get their hands dirty working in the garden or to stop and harvest some berries or vegetables to eat.

In the early months of the year, SLUGS and Commoners met to create a plan of action for this year’s food production.  The Common is moving from a more conventional garden to a permaculture food forest model of growing, and we wanted to sit down and hash out how that was going to work.  Not only did we need to figure out how to construct a food forest, but we needed to figure out how to make this method of growing accessible to folks who might not be familiar with permaculture gardening techniques.  The Common is a community food garden, and we wanted to make sure that anyone passing by would be able to recognize what we were growing and feel comfortable harvesting it.  You can check out this older blog post for more details on the planning process and background information about permaculture food forests. 

Once we had the plans in place for this year’s iteration of the Common, we started working on putting them into action.  We’ve been transplanting, planting and weeding like crazy to get the Common ready for the growing season.  We transplanted some gojis, goumis and blueberries, added lots of new blueberries (they work well as part of a permaculture food forest as well as being extremely popular with all the kids in the neighbourhood), and rearranged the epic strawberry patch.

In April we built a pea trellis from willow branches (see photo at left) and planted peas, built four keyhole paths to allow better access for harvesting plants and did a ton of weeding.  There was an overwhelming amount of borage and calendula taking over the garden, and we sadly had to take most of them out.  It’s always a shame to lose plants that are so beautiful and useful (bees absolutely love them!), but we have to maintain balance in the garden as well as hewing to boulevard garden guidelines that stipulate that plants must be fairly low to the ground and clear pathways through the garden must be maintained.

We’re really happy about all the work we’ve gotten done on the Common so far.  The bones of a beautiful and functional garden are in place, and it will be great to watch it fill in and develop as the season progresses.  Thanks to all the folks who’ve helped out so far this year (and thanks also to Mike Large for the use of his photos for this post!).  We can always use more people at the work parties, so if you’re interested in hanging out in the sun, getting rad with fellow gardeners, learning about food gardens or permaculture food forests, or just stopping by to see what it’s all about, please keep an eye on this space for upcoming events!

Resources: 

-Info on gojis and goumis if you’d like to learn more about them
A great blog post by Maarten who attended some of our planning meetings
-Here’s a good starting point if you’re interested in learning more about permaculture food forests
A cool article and video about the Haultain Common
Instructions on how to make a trellis from branches like the one we constructed

Re-growing vegetables

If you’re looking for a creative way to make your food budget stretch further and get a bit of gardening into your life, you might want to try re-growing your used up veggies!

I recently read about re-growing green onions on a windowsill, and was amazed at how simple the process is.  You just use the onions normally, leaving the bottom white part and roots intact.  You plunk the roots into a jar of water, forget about it on your windowsill for a week or so, and then come back to harvest the regrown green parts.  I gave it a try at home, and was stoked on how ridiculously easy it was.  This would be an especially great way to extend the life of your food in the winter when you’re often forced to buy most of your food at the grocery store rather than pluck it from your garden.

I was so excited about the success of the green onions that I started looking into whether this technique could be used for other plants.  Apparently there are a ton of other plants that can be re-grown this way — who knew?

Here is a rad tutorial on re-growing celery.  Like the green onions, you start the stalk sprouting in a dish of water, but after that you transplant it into a container, and it keeps on keeping on from there.  Mary and Tim of the blog 17 Apart who put together the celery tutorial also have amazing how-to guides on re-growing sweet potatoes and bok choy on your windowsill.

If bok choy and green onions aren’t exotic enough for you, you can even try re-growing a pineapple in a container!   This is a pretty posi way to enjoy tropical deliciousness while keeping the travel distance of your groceries reasonable.

Have you ever tried re-sprouting any of these plants or others?  I would love to hear about your experience with this cool technique.

Haultain Common Planting Party, Sunday April 22nd, 2-4 pm

The Common is really starting to come together for the season, but we will need your help to get more elements of the permaculture food forest in place!  We will be planting blueberries and strawberries (tasty times ahead!), constructing keyhole paths, and weaving a pea fence out of willow branches (a very cool skill to learn).  This event is a great chance to learn new skills, hang out with rad and community minded gardeners, and help out an important community resource.  Hope to see you there!

Cost:  free!

Location:  The Haultain Common, 1420 Haultain St at Asquith