I am an urban gardener through and through. My current garden is small, bowling alley-style yard in Toronto. Prior to this I maintained four very urban spaces: The rooftop of my building where I have been growing a wide assortment of edibles in containers for over a decade, a Guerrilla Garden on a very busy urban street corner (also about 10 years in the making), a community garden plot, and a local yardshare (new for 2010).
Since moving in, Davin has been taking morning cellphone photos of the yard. We’ve compiled shots taken between January and June into a quick timelapse movie that mark the changes thus far.
The last shot is dated for two days ago. We have since done even more work and you will notice when I update next that the ramshackle shed has been “decorated.” The images do not show the container garden on the porch, a tiny square raised bed, a thin shade garden, and the wall of succulents.
You can watch the video at a larger size and without the black bars around it on Flickr.
First up I need to clarify the meaning of the last post. A lot of people thought I was talking about gardening hardship, when I was actually talking about work deadlines. I was REALLY tired and not too with it when I wrote that post. Please excuse my lack of clarity.
Hardening off (back and forth forever) is certainly a pain in the butt, especially now that the kitchen floor is covered in trays and we can barely open the fridge door. However, my complaints were about NOT being able to garden rather than being overwrought by the work I have before me. Sitting at my desk and plugging away at a computer when there is a backyard out there that needs to be transformed into a garden is a certain kind of torture.
All I want to be do is garden!
But this is life as an adult so moving on….
It rained a lot this weekend, but I was out there anyway. It was my first weekend off (sort-of. Not really. But mostly.) since Xmas and I decided ahead of time that I was going to take full advantage rain or shine.
We got very wet and I’m suffering for it now, but at least the garden is starting to look like slightly more than an anthropological dig or an uprooted burial site on a television crime drama. Now it looks like a mud wrestling pit!
About a month ago we looked at a house with a yard and about 10 minutes after the viewing I tweeted that this was the next place I wanted to live. I could envision our life there and it looked rather nice.
We didn’t get the house. Or that yard. That yard. Yard…. Sweet, sweet yard. A nicely-sized (for Toronto) empty yard with a ramshackle shed. Sounds terrible, I know. But to me….
We proceeded to mope around with a major case of the sads for a month.
And then, out of the blue, we got it! One day I will tell the story (it’s a doozy), but I don’t think it is appropriate right now. What I can say for now is that I have the keys and we are moving in. Just like that. Pretty much overnight. We are still in shock. I figure we’ll be moved in and living there for a while before the shock of it wears off.
It’s a bit late in the season and I don’t have time to jump into gardening before winter sets in. It’s too bad, but then again, it will give me time to familiarize myself with how light moves through the space, and more time to plan. And you never know, there just might be some bulbs and surprise plants lurking underneath the surface. Either that or dead bodies. The yard is the lumpiest I have ever seen!
Our hypothesis is that the yard was once used as a vegetable garden but was then neglected for years. The grass probably just seeded itself over time. Either that or I am going to find some gnarly things when I stick my shovel into the ground next spring.
I’d love to show you more but I have to get back to packing asap. In the meantime, I leave you with one more photo of one of the few plants currently living in the yard that I plan to keep. It’s a little pear tree that the former occupants put in recently.
Oh and I’ve given the yard a name: Orto. I believe this approximately translates to kitchen garden in Italian. Please correct me if I am wrong.
p.s. Sorry about the quality of the images. I took them with my camera phone. Real photos soonish.
I’m not even sure how a whole sweet potato got in there in the first place, but this one really wanted to grow.
That giant pile of wood chips in the background is the result of a large weed tree that fell down and flattened a portion of our community garden, including our ramshackle compost bin. But Davin, our resident Compost Technician keeps plugging away at it, undeterred. Proof positive that one does not require a proper bin with four sides and a top to turn garden and kitchen waste into compost.
Davin took these photos of the Yardshare Garden the other day, using his iphone and an app called AutoStitch. The first image is a somewhat inaccurate representation of the garden as I believe what you are seeing is approximately 360 degrees in a straight line.
What is a yard share, you ask? Well, it works something like this: A neighbour has a yard, or a portion of a yard that they are not using, and they offer it up to gardeners in their community to use, typically with an agreement to share the bounty.
Hyperlocavore is one place to start if you are looking for a yard share in your area.
And I’ve added a Yardshare Garden tag if you’d like to follow along with the food we’ve got growing in ours.