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May 2008
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July 2008

Victory Gardens In San Francisco

I have been on vacation, in the redwoods of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. When you walk through a forest of giants like that for several hours it just puts you in a different state of mind than anywhere else. The light is different, and the trees are so huge you feel tiny and humbled. We saw many wild flowers, including a phacelia, salal, spring beauty, clarkia, iris, and many native grasses. And there is a tiny yellow-flowered pea family flower that blooms at the edge of roads. I have seen it for years, and still don't know its name.

Near our camp was a meadow of tall native bunch grasses. I don't know the name of the grasses, but it was next to a path, so you could sit on the path and the grasses were as high as your eyes. Then you could just sit and watch them wave inthe breezes against the blue sky. Mesmerizing.

We are back now and my summer school class has started, so I have been busy preparing to teach, and haven't entered a new post in a bit.

I wanted to be sure that I mentioned the Victory Garden Project that is underway in S.F. You can read about it more on their website, A big part of the plans is that they are putting in a food garden in front of City Hall. Groundbreaking will be on July 1 and the final planting will be on July 12th. They are looking for volulnteers to help put the garden in during that time. The garden is to be in for only 3 months, butshould make a pretty dramatic statement. It is to be there during a Slow Food conference that is taking place in early September. More on this later, but check out the Victory Garden site and think about how much fun it will be to plant vegetable in front of City Hall.   

Chayotes Finally Planted!

2008 Early June 007 copy Sometimes gardening seems like the slowest of sports. Like tennis that you play by hitting a ball and then waiting a few months for it to come back. Last March, I planted four chayote fruits in a greenhouse. Three of them sprouted. Whe I tried to harden them off in a lathe house, they were damaged by cold, or wind, so it was back into the greenhouse for them. Then back to the lathe house in May. On the day I planned to plant them out, it was so windy that I had to put the pots in a protected spot so they wouldn't blow over. Didn't seem like an auspicious day to plant them. Finally, last week, we put them in the ground! They are at the base of the nylon trellis I put on the frame of the beautiful arbor that the City College construction class built. There are two bamboo stakes for the plant to climb as it angles its first branches toward the trellis. But I keep talking about two plants. You may ask, where is the other one? It is on the other side of the arbor. They aren't very impressive right now. In fact, you can barely see the second plant in the following photo. It feels sort of silly having all of that trellis, and that huge arbor, but the last time I grew chayote, it was thirty feet tall and wide, so I have great expectations. I had this arbor built as a defensible space, a structure the chyote squash plants could climbe without being able to find anything else to climb into.

2008 Early June 006 copy

Here is the whole arbor. The above chayote is in the front, next to the rather ugly hose bibb. The other one is way off in the distance, behind the arbor. The plan is for them to meet in the middle at the top. I'm hoping for many chayotes to share wtih students in November and December. (For more photos of the chayotes starting to grow in the greenhouse, and of the arbor, use the search feature at the right side of my blog to search for "chayote" and for "arbor" elsewhere in the blog.)