Sorry to get political here, but personally I think we live in a sad world when we see spreading the wealth around as a bad thing. At the free farm stand we are spreading the wealth around every week from our abundant gardens. Sharing our harvest with neighbors and strangers. Spreading our love, compassion, and care around seems like a good idea to me. That is true wealth.
This week I felt especially grateful for the generosity of so many people with their time and free positive spirit. It started Tuesday at Treat Commons and the Secret Garden. At both gardens we had four new people who showed up to help. The kids from Jamestown Center are fun to work with and we got a lot done at the Secret Garden. We are getting the beds ready to plant garlic and fava beans there tomorrow. I wanted to take a picture of the Jamestown crew but forgot my camera.
Another high point of the day at the Secret Garden was meeting Thy who showed up to help. She is one of the most cheerful and enthusiastic volunteers I have met recently, and I really enjoyed working with her. She and I stuck around the garden after the kids left and we finished double digging the beds the kids worked on and I didn’t get home until 6pm. Then she came by on Thursday to help me get our backyard garden in shape and ready to plant. We also potted up seedlings and then she got the prize for taking home a shopping bag of walnuts to shell (the walnuts look a little too funky to hand out at the stand unfortunately).
18th and Rhode Island mini-farm
Work has begun on the mini-farm for the Free Farm Stand. I am working and learning with the San Francisco Permaculture Guild to create a garden the permaculture way. Dave Cody worked with Dave and laid out the contours of the land so we can build berms. So here in a nutshell is what was explained to me from Kevin. The land is on a very rocky slope so we are going to build raised beds or berms that lie on the contour of the land.Using a calibrated home made A frame tool, Dave determined the levelness of the ground. When water flows down the hill it will hit the berm and since it is level, the water will spread out to seek levelness. It will then soak into the mound before it travels further downhill. The berms are going to be created by laying down about 2 inches deep of wood chips, then a couple of layers of cardboard and then two feet of compost /mulch from Bayview Greenwaste Management mixed with manure or other compost and possibly some soil. I just afound out about some free soil that is going to be delivered on Friday!
the lot from Google satellite…marked where the mulch/compost
will be dumped
The two Davids using the A frame tomark level berm
Friday was our first work day and because I had an appointment in the morning we started at noon which was a mistake because it was a hot day. Several people came and we pulled ivy up off a mound of rocks. I am hoping we can get more people because it is such a hard job. The current plan is to start with Friday mornings as a work day starting at 9:30am and work for a number of hours. Maybe at some point we can add a couple of Saturdays a month for those only available week-ends. The permaculture approach is to bury the woody stalks of the fennel and the ivy under the berm, but I must admit my worry about the ivy spreading.
What we need now are not only more hands on deck, but the use of a pickup truck to move bales of cardboard from Whole Foods down the street to the garden. I may be able to get a bale in our van. This Friday a 20 yd load of compost/mulch is going to be dropped off. We haven’t determined the perfect method of removing ivy from rocks, but hoes, mattocks, or picks seem to help somewhat. If anyone comes and can bring those kinds of tools or clippers that would help. Dave said that the first three swales or berms are laid out. So once we get all the materials on site we can start constructing the berms.
An Autumn Farm Stand
The weather has started cooling down and I started wondering what I might have come winter. For now there is still summer stuff coming in. A woman brought by five big beautiful early girl tomatoes from her garden on 14th and Guerrero and said they were planted late from seed and they are just coming in (I have been pulling up our dying tomato plants to get in fall and winter crops)…she must have a sunny location now.
She also brought a few pomegranates from her mother’s garden in Orange Country (not really local, but they looked tasty).
Jose brought more cucumbers from Potrero de Sol Community Garden and Shelly brought a lot of purple tomatillos from her plot that is in the same place. The cucumbers were gone before I could take their picture.
And Steve dropped off some packages of organic garbanzo beans. So with the shelled walnuts and the beans we had some protein on the table. I had both tomatillos and ground cherries or Cape Gooseberries and it was nice showing people the similar fruits (and having the Cape Gooseberry plant growing in the garden is also wonderful so people can learn what they grow like). I cut up the rest of the banana squash from last week and had at least ten one pound pieces to give away. I realized that once they are cut open you have got to clean out the seeds and pulp inside or they start rotting. I saved some of the small pieces that I cut away from the rotten part and cooked it last night and found it delicious (steamed, mashed with a little non-hydrogenated vegan butter spread and maple syrup, ginger, and nutmeg). I had a beautiful selection of chile peppers, mostly hot ones. The rocoto peppers, the big fat red ones that almost look like habeneros are very hot and are perennial here and grow well.
One surprise harvest came from the rooftop garden of the Chronicle building on 5th St. downtown. Kevin, Tara, and David from the permaculture guild on Friday brought me some apples and lemons from the trees, parsley, basil, Vietnamese cilantro (a strongly flavored plant in the knotweed family, Polygonum odoratum),and a few other herbs from that garden. Ty who was born in Vietnam loves the cilantro, but unfortunately it was not in good shape when I got it to the table. I forgot to refrigerate it and it looked dry and unattractive.
I harvested the rest of the lettuce from my backyard and a lot of arugula from the Secret Garden. There were a few squash from Treat Commons and the Secret Garden, some miscellaneous greens from the Secret Garden and Treat Commons, Also, tomatoes from Treat Commons. Nosrat came by with a big bowl of green figs, some which were quite tasty and somewhat sweet.
He and Allegra talked about having a cooking demonstration at the stand using food that is on the table. We decided to set that up for November 2. Jennny harvested some of the lemon grass and dried it and packaged it with an informational label.
Robert came by with bags of bread again and it is very popular. Actually Jenny brought some bread too that I gave out. She is a gardenr at the city golf course and they have a restaurant there. Se asked the bread delivery guy if they have any bread they aren’t selling and he gave her some. It wasn’t organic or high quality as the other bread, but people did want it. I have to watch out what I give out, it could be a slippery slope giving out stuff that is not organic or stuff that isn’t vegan.
I didn’t have as many apples as I would have liked. I just felt overwhelmed and too busy this week to go apple picking or fruit hunting.
This week’s farm stand was the first hint that the number of people coming is growing larger. At the beginning there was a small line of people wanting to shop and I started feeling I little worried that it wasn’t as mellow a scene as I would want. And some of that also comes from the people who are shopping, that some of them see this as just a free food program which it is not exactly. At the end of the day almost all the food was given away which still surprises me.
Pocket Seed Library Picnic
Talk about spreading the wealth I went to the “picnic”/potluck put on by the Pocket Seed Library on Saturday. While the crazy world outside was speeding along with crazy traffic and zillions of people going to the alcohol sponsored soapbox race on Dolores St., I walked into a beautiful bamboo garden behind the Southern Exposure gallery for a quirky only in San Francisco event. I am a bamboo lover and I was excited by the bamboo varieties were planted…the yellow bamboo with the green stripes was fabulous and worth the trip alone. There was lots of delicious food, though I wasn’t sure what was vegan and what wasn’t. Zooey, who along with Erin started the library project, made a delicious salad that was also beautiful to the eye. She told me she grew the salad in her dad’s backyard I think in the Sunset. I met Nikki who made a tasty vegan grape pie. Garden people are some of the best crowd to hang out with in my opinion.
Besides the food there were lots of seeds being shared. I dropped off some of my favorite seed that I saved from this year and picked up a number of varieties of lettuce and Japanese spinach that I haven’t grown before. I also joined the Pocket Seed Library that cost me nothing and I am going to try planting some Tall Telephone Peas that are an heirloom and sound great.
It seems our bees have produced another two boxes of honey. I am going to be extracting again soon and am open to a few others watching and helping out.
Thanks to Thy coming by and helping me set up the stand and sticking around to help I was able to take more photos.