Okay that’s gotta be the most ridiculous and possibly crass musical reference I have ever made. I love that song and Sam Cooke but I have officially maxed out the recommended safe usage of “CH-CH-CH-CHANGES” as a header/title.
You will notice that the homepage and some inner pages of this site have a new look. If the site still looks as it did last week or pages are crazily wonky please refresh your browser or cache. You may also notice a new archiving system to your right. It contains all of the old-school section headers (top and bottom of the page) with additional subheaders listed below. I hope that once implemented this new archiving system will make it a lot easier to navigate the site and locate older but very handy information.
There’s seven year’s worth of content on this site amounting to a WHOLE LOT of pages. Lots of information is good, right? Unfortunately, many of those pages were hand-coded by yours truly back in the day. You know, the olden days. As a result we have lots of work left to make all old pages reflect the new style and/or work within the new archiving system. Please excuse the mess while this integration is cobbled together. A crack team of tiny, kind of snarky, sometimes grumpy, but highly efficient elves are on the job!
And finally you will notice that the You Grow Girl site is no longer functioning as an online magazine with multiple contributors. There are all kinds of reasons for this but the short of it is that seven years is a long time and I’ve been slowly burning out. Moving the site in this new direction has reignited my spark and reserves some energy for me on a personal level. I will continue to write here regularly, and once the madness of the spring season rush and site changes have passed I will be recruiting guest posters to spice things up. I may even get to that newsletter thingy! Many who receive the newsletter have been emailing or stopping me on the street (I was surprised too!) to ask if I am okay and whatever happened to the newsletter. I didn’t know you cared. It is coming, I swear, but despite my efficient set-up those things take a surprising amount of time to write and prepare!
And last but not least I want to assure you that the forums are still running smoothly. In fact with spring in the air (except in my miserably cold and sunless part of the world, HELLO) the forums are in full swing.
-Peace out! (Is that still “cool with the kids?”) Gayla
I often dream of hens clucking around in a small garden pecking at bugs and laying fresh, organic eggs but alas that is not going to happen living in the cold, white north with no backyard or shelter against raccoons and minus will-it-never-end winters. And seriously, that was an actual question. Will winter never end? I see photos online of people working outside in tank tops and flip flops. Dangling their springy, warm weather like an evil, tortuous carrot. We’re still wearing layers and big jackets over here people! Local weather reports keep reminding me that it is unseasonably cold. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I like to hear. That and the words “possible flurries.” But I digress (a lot). I found the book “Keep Chickens!” by Barbara Kilarski at Pistils Nursery in Portland, Oregon and while I can not provide a full review it looked like a very thorough introduction and resource to urban chicken-keeping.
The ultra modern, ultra stylish, and ultra expensive Eglu is not helping to curb the fantasy one bit. It’s like an imac for chickens!
Over the long weekend we happened upon an open garage door while walking through a Toronto alley. Two large bird coops lined the side walls. So strong is my chicken-keeping itch that it took me half a minute to clue in that those were not chickens cooing back at me but fancy pigeons. After five years, I think I’ve finally solved the mystery of turkey pigeon!
Urban Chicken Keeping Resources
Once again I am trying to catch up on the garden visits I have made over the last three months. La Plaza Cultural is a community garden in New York City’s Alphabet City neighborhood (9th and Avenue C) that I have visited twice but only from the outside. But what a fantastic outside it is. The garden spans a large corner block and the fence along both sides is covered along the top with beautiful junk flowers artfully fashioned from tin cans, detergent bottles, beer caps, and just about any indestructable junk imaginable. Like other gardens in the area it was built up from the rubble and debris of abandoned tenements and trash and nurtured into a community space that has thrived since the late 70s.
This is the entrance on 9th Ave. The text on the wall reads, “The Struggle Continues” in spanish and english.
Someone in the area has been making and installing homemade birdhouses utilizing more junk materials. I found a few scattered around the neighbourhood. Surprising little discoveries like these are one of the aspects of city-living that I cherish most.
Someone altered the text on this sign. It’s too bad that there are class issues arising around the garden although I would bet most of those problems are tied to the swiftly changing face of the neighborhood rather than the garden itself.
Take Time to Blog the Roses
Gardening blogs offer advice, reflections, beauty and wit.
By Kate King
Jennifer Perkins of the famous Naughty Secretary Club just reposted this interview we did… a whole bunch of years ago. I have to admit that when I saw her message in my inbox my first thought was, “Oh [insert expletive here], what did I say to embarrass myself?” Thankfully there is no blackmail material in there. I do find it odd however that I said I was not a vegetable gardener and then went on to list all of the vegetables I had grown. I think I must have still been carrying a touch of that thing where I felt like I wasn’t completely valid as a gardener because I was growing in containers on a rooftop. It’s hard for me to believe I felt that way at one time since I almost exclusively talk and do workshops on growing edibles and consider edible urban gardening my passion and specialty. Go figure!
In other news You Grow Girl was featured in this month’s Sierra Club Magazine (pg 26 of print version). I did a phone interview with the writer a few months back and was disappointed it didn’t make it into the article — it was one of the best interviews I have ever done! She asked me questions about topics I’ve been itching to talk about from my thoughts on city living to urban agriculture, to ecology and beyond. Interviewers always ask me how to garden, they rarely ask me what I think about it or why I do it! It’s about time I started writing more about these issues here. All in due time.
And because I couldn’t resist….
First look at Gayla’s tomato bump! They live! It really is amazing isn’t it? Go seedlings go!