Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Community Gardens, Santa Monica


(Pictures to the right - experimental (top floor of public parking structure) container garden in Chicago. Examples of "wading pools" and used automobile "tires" as containers for a community garden. For more info, see: "Urban Agriculture: A Guide To Container Gardens". CLICK on pictures to enlarge.)

The City of Santa Monica City Council had an item on the Agenda that may be of interest to you.(also see Staff report on this item)

5-A: Community Gardens proposed rules and regulations - recommendation that Council approve the proposed rules and regulations for the operation of the City's Community Gardens.
This item may be of interest to cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians in Santa Monica.

The city council is being asked to put term limits on Community Garden plots space rentals. The staff are considering a one year term limit. There reasoning is that the space is public space and therefore should be shared more broadly with the public.

This is a very interesting dilemma. On one hand, there is a large population in Santa Monica whom rent apartment and are landless (gardenless). I highly suspect that group is a majority in Santa Monica.

Placing term limit access to our community garden plots would be counter productive, figuratively and literally, to the purposes and benefits of why people garden.

On the literal side, gardens, like other living things are not bound by the lifespan of human created term limits. Some plants have vast lifespans, that extend beyond the one year term limit proposed. Some plants don't even begin to bear ther fruit for a few year or more. And on the psychological and emotional side, gardens, like homes, are often acquired as a life time lifestyle or cultural experience, not limited to one year.

It may be of interest to you that there are community gardens in other parts of the world that in cities, sometimes called "urban farming" or "city gardens", or "movable gardens" which use existing, unused, paved space for their gardens.

One, that I think may be of interest to you is the use of the top floor of public parking structures as community garden space. This could significantly increase the amount of community garden space in Santa Monica with least impact and significant benefit.

Pictures above. Five of the seven downtown Santa Monica's Public parking structures. To the left no gardens and virtually no cars. Picture to the right of 4,500+, vibrant community garden container plots. CLICK on each picture to enlarge.

Pictures above. Picture to the left of the top floor of lot now(actual satelite image during the day in 2005). Picture to the right of the top floor of lot after installing container gardens(simulation). Notice the parking lot on left, there are virtually no cars parked there. Picture to the right of 750 (PLUS) community garden, container plots. CLICK on each picture to enlarge.

In the guide, "Urban Agriculture: A Guide To Container Gardens", there is directions and pictures on transforming the top floor of public parking structures to community gardens using "container gardening" method.

In the first picture to the right, you can see the garden containers, 3 per car spot, in the space where cars used to park. Further, there are instruction on making gardening containers from used car tires(see pictures to the right).

I thought that was quite interesting to see a community garden on the top of a public parking structure which uses old automobile tires as the containers for their community garden.

Using used car tires in space that was formerly used to park cars is intriguing.

I would also like to note that this space could be used as a theraputic tool for people with disabilities, seniors and as an education tool for all our community, including those, and all other adults and children to learn about growing gardens, food, and sustainable living skills.

Also, Santa Monica could experiment with using some of this space as a green house community garden and for hydorponic year round gardens.

In Santa Monica, the top floors of the public parking structures are often the least desirable and least used floors of our public parking structures.

People in cars often want to park under the cover of a ceiling and closest to the ground level to keep their vehicles out of the sun and rain and to have less distance to walk and drive.

However, those least desirable space for parking cars make the most desirable spaces to grow gardens.

Further, this space is also a great space to make a relaxing outdoor space as well.

Think of sitting and lounging in a chair, reading a book, enjoying a beverage, have lunch, with the sound of the seagull and waves in the far distance. With the sun shining up above.

It also could be used a meeting or performance space for our community.

For example, we could have community screenings of films or the performance of plays. We could have the display of public art, in which people could come to see and enjoy.

The space would give access to the wonderful sun and the ocean breezes. And in some cases a spectacular view of the ocean.

The top of just one of these parking structures, if there were two container plots per parking, six rows of twenty five car spaces space per top floor of each public parking structure could yield 300 container plots. If you multiply three hundred times the seven public parking structures in downtown Santa Monica, you get two thousand one hundred new garden plots. See the picture to the right of the top of one of those downtown Santa Monica Parking structures.

If you use three container plots, as shown on the picture to the right, or add an additional two per row in the in the middle aisle, that number jumps to seven hundred and fifty (750) per parking structure, for a total of five thousand two hundred and fifty if their were container gardens on the top floor of all seven public parking structures in downtown Santa Monica.

If we could accommodate 300 on the top floor of all of them, we would have an additional 2100 community garden plots. That is around 2000% more than the number of people currently on the waiting list for the existing community gardens.

It seems that the public parking structures could easily accommodate the weight of a container community garden. I estimate that maximum weight of each container plot of a few hundred pounds after a good watering. Many cars weigh anywhere from two thousand to over four thousand pounds each(empty).

Additionally, this space would give people refuge, a place to relax from the traffic noise, fast pace, hustle and bustle traffic streets down below. It would also give those living or working in downtown a place to go for time out from their work and to get out of the their house.

Using this space would be in line with the sustainability commitment of Santa Monica, by providing local opportunities to grow food, produce more clean air by growing more plant life, possible use of rain water collection system, and rain fall in the containers to grow the plants, lower rain water run off. It would provide more opportunities for our city dwellers to learn and practice growing gardens, including edible plants.

These gardens will provide opportunities for the production and use of more waste for composting.

This space will also add for more park-like opportunities in downtown Santa Monica. It will also provide for possibility for more cultural and arts opportunities in downtown Santa Monica.

The city could also collect a nominal fee for use of this space.

And I think preference should be given to our Santa Monica residents whom live in apartments. Also, we may consider giving preference or fee reductions to those residents whom are car free or whom commit to some level of car free transportation, such as by using public transportation, bicycle, walk, and or skate.

Also, if this comes into flurition, or if there is consensus to move this idea forward, perhaps, we could have the first public parking community container garden be officially opened with ceremony on Car Free Day, September 22, 2006.

Here are some links for your review and reference on this subject:
Together we can help make more community garden space available to the people within our community.


Related Posts:
- Send Email to Cycle Santa Monica!

Recommended Links
- Cycle Santa Monica! community forum
- Friends of Co-opportunity

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

briana007
Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:04 pm
Big ol’ rant here:

After a bit of subterfuge regarding a postal code discrepancy ( I live four blocks from the local CG but technically in another city), I finally got on the waiting list for the Santa Monica Community Garden.

FIVE YEARS!!! It’s a flippin’ five year wait list. It turns out the plots are “leased” per year, very cheaply I might add, so that there are a number of people who continue to renew but don’t use or care for their plots! Evil or Very Mad

The woman I spoke with said that they are trying to make some changes and would be holding a meeting at the end of the month, which should be interesting. I’m thinking I’ll post an ad on Craigslist in the meantime and see if somebody would like to sub-lease their plot (or a portion of) to me.

Anonymous said...

briana007
Location: Los Angeles
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 7:21p

Thanks Rosebud!

THE CALIFORNIA GARDEN
Together from the ground up
If you don't have a plot in a community garden, you might spend a year on a waiting list. In these places of kinship and cooperation -- and endless rules -- the vegetables are almost an afterthought. By Lili Singer
Special to The Times

March 3, 2005

Some gardeners want fresh, pesticide-free harvests. Some want their children to know how it feels to work the soil. Some simply lack a yard where they live.

But if there's one thing that the boosters of community gardens do share, it's common ground.

"You come here to forget all your problems and to be with other gardeners," says Ed Mosman, a retired electrical engineer who joined a Mar Vista community garden called Ocean View Farms in 1982. "We've had people meet here and get married."

Adds Susan Dworski, a graphic artist, freelance writer and six-year regular at the same garden: "It's my gym and my church."

Community gardens usually have rules: Straight-sided beds, tended by one or more individuals, are standard, as are annual fees, required work hours, strict organic practices and restrictions on fruit trees, tall plants or structures that cast shade. But they are also places of kinship and cooperation, as diverse as the neighborhoods they occupy and the gardeners who tend them.

"Each community garden is its own entity," says Yvonne Savio, head of the University of California Cooperative Extension's Common Ground Garden Program, an umbrella organization that oversees and assists community gardens in Los Angeles County.

The Francis Avenue community garden occupies a tiny lot in the Westlake neighborhood. Alhambra's plots sit on a leach field, so no manures can be used. The garden at North Hollywood High School straddles campus and an adjacent property that includes an orchard.

Manzanita in Silver Lake may be the smallest. Its 10-foot-wide plots run down both sides of a public staircase. The Long Beach garden, by contrast, is so huge that an entire section is devoted to growing tomatoes for a food bank. Savio says the Crenshaw garden is wonderful for its breadth of ethnicities and languages.

All offer the chance to bond with others in the community, often by tackling common challenges: foraging rodents, heavy clay soil or perhaps an infestation of late blight on tomatoes. Despite these and other frustrations — finding and keeping a site, scrounging for material donations, resolving disputes — the movement is thriving.

Although the number of gardens is in flux, more exist now than at any time since the victory garden era of World War II, according to the American Community Gardening Assn. Most in Southern California have waiting lists; Ocean View Farms, one of L.A.'s oldest and largest, with 500 plots worked by 300 gardeners, has a waiting list of more than 100 people and an average wait of 12 to 18 months.

"We've been doing this for more than a century," says landscape architect Laura J. Lawson. "It's always been hard and always been loved."

Lawson, a Glendale native and former coordinator of Berkeley Youth Alternatives' Community Garden Patch, visited more than 100 spots while researching her book, "City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America," to be published in May by University of California Press.

She found that interest in community gardens surges during wartime and when populations change because of immigration or de-urbanization — in essence, "anchoring communities with gaps," she says. In the 1890s the gardens were planted for sustenance, but over time they became recreational, social and educational.

"Community gardens are models of empowerment, self-sufficiency and social ideals," Lawson says. "And the people are so wonderful — the organizers and the gardeners."

Frank Harris got hooked on heirloom tomatoes and Blue Lake string beans while working at the Los Angeles restaurant Campanile. He joined Ocean View Farms to grow items he couldn't find at conventional markets. He's now the garden's president.

Dworski, the graphic artist and writer, says gardeners use their spaces in different ways and, in the process, learn from one another. She mixes roses, annuals, perennials, bulbs and edibles in a series of terraced beds but says her garden neighbor "really knows what she's doing."

The Oak Park Community Garden in eastern Ventura County was founded on a formerly undeveloped corner lot in May. Caterer Bobby Weisman has enjoyed bumper crops of tomatoes and lettuce there after only two seasons. He says newcomers don't realize how much they can grow.

"A 10-by-20-foot plot can produce a lot of food for a family of four," he says. "I tell my kids: The only thing it doesn't make is ice cream sundaes."

Weisman visits four or five times each week and never brings his cellphone into the garden. "I stop by for five minutes and leave three hours later," he says. "It's such a reprieve from the world outside."

Next to Weisman's plot is Kate Frankson's, a miniature English garden in which bands of dianthus and Dusty Miller contain vegetables and herbs. She attributes the abundance to good soil, organic fertilizer and guidance from another Oak Park regular, Jeanne Cope, a hospice social worker who started gardening at her grandmother's knee.

Cope raises flowers, bulbs and berries, and she expands her "vegetable repertoire" with crops she has not eaten before. This year, she grew — and liked — kohlrabi, a cabbage relative.

"Gardening makes you less afraid," she says. "It reminds you that 'there is a season,' and that things will be OK. Making plants grow brings you peace."

Education is part of the goal at the Learning Garden at Venice High School. Students from its horticulture classes and volunteers from the community tend to the plantings.

Surrounding the students' rectangular plots, designated "garden master" David King has planted a geometric patchwork of mounded beds with unusual plants, cultivated communally under his tutelage — "things you won't find in a store," he says.

On any given visit, gardeners may find themselves working with Chinese, ayurvedic or Native American herbs; California native, succulent or aquatic plants; heirloom apples, garlic and roses; or Florence fennel, fava beans, strawberries or kale. Crops sales subsidize the garden, and the excess harvest goes to the homeless.

The Learning Garden also has a compost coordinator, Brian Bailey, who manages a demonstration site funded with an Environmental Protection Agency grant. The garden's recycling efforts also include lining walking paths with old newspapers topped with chippings, to smother weeds.

Some locals gather on weekends for tai chi instruction, and King says gardeners often hang out on a patio and talk between shifts.

"It feels like I work in someone's kitchen," he says. "The sense of community is really profound."

*
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

How to start up

The urban landscape is dotted with thriving community gardens, and new ones are sprouting up regularly.

For information on gardens in Los Angeles County, call the Common Ground Garden Program at (323) 260-3348. A downloadable start-up guide and a roster of gardens is at UC Davis.

The website of the American Community Gardening Assn. provides publications, monthly tips and networking opportunities for garden professionals and volunteers at CommunityGarden.org.

Some community gardens operate their own websites, providing more insights into how the organizations operate. Examples include Oak Park Community Garden (Oak Park Gardeners) and the Learning Garden (TheLearningGarden.org).

Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
http://home-gardening.blogspot.com/
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,
Stan
http://yourebooksuperstore.com/vegetable/

Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
http://home-gardening.blogspot.com/
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,
Stan
http://yourebooksuperstore.com/vegetable/

Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
http://home-gardening.blogspot.com/
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,
Stan
http://yourebooksuperstore.com/vegetable/

wholesale perennials said...

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Termite Inspection Brisbane said...

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