King Cole

It is hard for me to believe I am able to grow anything in the gardens where I am working that are in so much shade right now. For this week’s farm stand I harvested some lettuce and mixed greens from my backyard to make a lettuce mix. And the Secret Garden had some kale, broccoli, and chard that I picked. The Cole family rules! Over in Treat Commons where there is a lot of sun, the baby greens and the lettuce grew much bigger and I was able to harvest enough to make my salad mixed look great. In total I had one big bowl full of salad mix all from the three gardens. I also harvested a number of yellow wax peppers and some Rocoto peppers, a few snap peas (I am not impressed with the dwarf snap peas I grew, Sugar Ann variety, that grew well but the peas were pretty small compared with the standard tall variety Sugar Snap and not so productive). Sheryl from church gave me the last cherry tomatoes from her garden in Berkeley, yellow, red, and dark reddish black kinds with different shapes too. I had some left over tomatillos from last week from Marcus’s children’s garden at the botanical garden in the Golden Gate Park. The ferry Building Farmer’s Market supplied us again with most of our produce: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, many kinds of greens including mustard, collards, kale, bok choy, and chard. We also had some winter squash, turnips, and various herbs like cilantro and parsley. And there was a lot of bread too. Ellen came by with a few bunches of grapes from the farmers market where she works.

This is the man who pushes one of those ice cream carts

who has been coming regularly to shop

our latest gardener convert

Update on the Food Forest Garden on Potrero Hill

The weather has been crazy warm as we enter the month of December and I am excited that I have the opportunity to work with the San Francisco Permaculture Guild in creating an experimental garden to grow food for projects like the Free Farm Stand. The guild is having its 1st Wednesday of the month meeting at the Red Victorian Peace Café (1665 Haight St. near Cole) this Wednesday the Dec. 3). It starts it starts 6:30-7pm. That is where a lot of talk about that project goes on and other projects as well and if you like the meeting aspect of permaculture, I would encourage you to attend. On Fridays and Saturdays we are having a workday at the 18th and Rhode Island site. The work day on Friday starts at 10am and goes until about 3pm or longer and Saturdays it starts at 10:30-11am. is a website dedicated to the project and the last update was nice in that it included what is going on astrologically which I rarely cover here. Not that I don’t believe in it. After ready David’s explanations of the heavenly influences on us now, I think it is all true. It is a glorious time right now and getting connected with the earth underneath our feet and the activity above our heads is such a great thing for us to all to do. Especially during this season when the days are shorter and it seems more dark, cold and dreary.

The garden got its first write up in the Potrero View newspaper in the December issue that can be picked up in Potrero Hill stores and coffee shops. The article is online and you can read it here at . Newspapers often don’t do a great job covering something, but I thought they did a good job with this. There is an interesting interview with the doctor who has offered his empty lot for this project and an explanation of the plan for the space. By the way, we were thinking up some new names for the 18th and Rhode Island garden (it is little cumbersome writing that all the time). One night I had a stream of names come to me in a sort of dream, including (do) No Harm Farm or No Til Hill, Bermed Out Farm, and Potrero Urban Food Farm (PUFF), but some more serious permaculturists among us thought those names wouldn’t do. Maybe it will be the Potrero Urban Farm Project (PUFP) so we won’t be associated with pot or dragons. I guess we are still searching for good names if any permaculture poets are out there.

We had our first planting on Saturday and we got a lot planted. I brought seedlings for chard, lettuce, and some kale, and seeds to plant a mostly lettuce lawn. Then a lot of fava beans and red clover was planted everywhere. It is a major first step and we will see how things grow in compost and wood chips. I have been gardening for about 28 years, but have never grown a garden exactly like this. It is also exciting because the site gets so much sun and a lot of space! I have just sent off a letter asking a wholesale nursery for a donation of trees, but soon we might order some as well. Flash! Stephanie just emailed me and said she on the way back from San Diego she picked up some 2 Pineapple guava plants and a Dwarf Banana from Exotica Nursery! How she got them in her small car is a miracle.

garlic and lettuce lawn planted

I am also working with a few others on planting fruit trees in the park where we have our farm stand. Can we really imagine a San Francisco that has fruit and gardens growing food in our parks? Talking about creating more sustainable cities, the farm stand was featured in an radio show put out by the National Radio Project . The program was called Food For Thought ( Someone yesterday told me the heard it on KPFK. I am not really impressed with the interview with me, it seemed edited too much. I mainly agreed to the interview to talk about a possible alternative to “My Farm” style of local food production (the urban Community Supported Agriculture model). The interview with Kevin is really great and unfortunately the vacant lot we are currently transforming wasn’t a reality then.

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