Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Secret Garden Tour/ I Love Plants Like Whoa

Someone recently said, "Your posts are so long!" without adding "And really interesting..." so here's a pretty short and sweet and matter of fact one for ya. Ya knows who ya is.

This summer I met two lovely people, Colin and Huong. They're artists and though I'm not sure about what kind of objects they make (if only objects qualify) they certainly know how to throw a party. Frankly, there is an artistry to that I greatly admire. Many fun times were had but this fun time in particular took place on their Secret Garden Tour. Colin has assured me it's not really a secret so I am at liberty to divulge. They've been developing the tours all summer and this particular one brought us to two very diverse examples of community growing.

Damn. I typed a whole bunch and then my computer shut itself down and it was all lost. There's a lesson in here somewhere but for who?

Let me regroup. THE FIRST PLACE WAS...Red Shed Community Garden on Kingsland Ave. and Skillman. They have a willow and fig tree, a shed, and a grill that they started to fire up at the smallest hint we'd be staying a while. Didn't bring anything to bbq though unfortunately. This garden is very reminiscent of a community garden I grew up next to in the East Village run by Open Road. I had a plot there which still remains. I planted a tree in it so they can't dismantle it. Cherries!

Anyway, at Red Shed there are the locals who've been living in the neighborhood and nearby projects for ever and there are the gentrifying intruders. As a visitor I can only say that things seem friendly. They have community plots and personal ones with lots of fruits and vegetables growing. Eggplants were flourishing when we were there and mosquitos. The keep extra bug spray in the shed.

Our second stop on the tour was Rooftop Farms on Eagle St. in Greenpoint. Rooftop is run by Annie Novak and Ben Flanner and they've been getting a lot of attention this year because they've taken the idea of a green roof and turned it into a working farm. The roof's owner wanted to install a green roof and Annie was called in to figure out how to make it all work. We talked for awhile before the tour started and it seems like that's what she does circling the world, stopping at farms and meeting challenges in growing. As she said several times in different ways, "I love plants like, whoa."

Rooftop sells their produce and welcomes volunteers. They're hoping to make the farm work as a viable option for other buildings around the city. The installation is quite expensive but since then she says they've been farming as cheaply as possible. With time the produce will begin to pay for itself and make up the original cost.

We walked down the rows of tomatoes, carrots, squash, beans, fresh herbs, melons and Annie told us about the different plants and their composting system. They also have two bee hives (!) and are growing hops up the side of one of their walls.

Now, I'm not a farmer. But I do love plants like...well, like something. What was especially exciting about the tour was the feeling that hey, you want to grow things, grow them! You want to start a community garden, start one! You want a farm, build it on the roof!

So how about it? Anyone want to start a community garden with me?

The next Secret Garden Tour is this coming Saturday Sept 12th starting at 2 PM at The Lotus Garden then going on to the Waterpod at Concrete Plant Park. If you can't come then find another time to visit either place (the Waterpod in particular looks cool as shit) or hell, just go to your nearest community garden and sit back on a bench. Enjoy the last warm days of September as the harvest comes rolling in. Think what you'll plant next year. Imagine it grow.


spryglet said...

It's great to watch your "growing" affinity for gardening (& all things edible). BTW, I really like the first picture on this post. I wish it were bigger!
--Blog on!

The Lonely Goatherd said...

I didn't take the photos! You can see me in the bottom photo in a dress with no pockets or a bag. I was ill prepared for my blogging duties.
Thanks for commenting by the way. People often tell me they like my writing but few comment on the board and it's always encouraging.