25 December 2005

Backyard fun - 24 Dec 05

Backyard fun - 24 Dec 05

Picked up about 12 of these bags full of leaves

Leaves 1stTrip - 23Nov05

Leaves 1stTrip - 23Nov05

Last trip - 29Nov05

and got them ready to chop under the blades of a lawnmower.

Before Leaf Mulching - 16dec05

Before Leaf Mulching - 16dec05

Half way through I added some bokashi compost to the pile.

Bokashi - 18dec05

Bokashi - 18dec05

I was able to shred an entire bag in about 10 minutes. I even shredded the bags and added them to the pile.

Leaf pile finished - 18dec05
Leaf pile finished - 18dec05

Now about those worms....

Worms - 23dec05

Worms - 23dec05

How did they get there? The container has been sitting on the bucket for almost a week. Did they hatch from eggs and just grow there? Any suggestions welcome.

One final mix of ingredients:

Bokashi Buckets - 23dec05

Bokashi Buckets - 23dec05

Coffee Buckets - 23dec05

Coffee Buckets - 23dec05

First on with the Bokashi

Bokashi Pile - 23dec05

Bokashi Pile - 23dec05

Then a layer of coffee grounds

Coffee Pile - 23dec05

Coffee Pile - 23dec05

and a final dressing of hay

Hay Pile - 23dec05

Hay Pile - 23dec05

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27 September 2005

The end is near - September 27, 2005

For the Car Barn Garden

I knew this day might come. The white post of death, courtesy of the City of
Vancouver Engineering Department, has finally
shown itself in one of my guerrilla gardens.

New Width of 1stAve #5 - 25Sep05"
New Width of 1stAve #5 - 25Sep05

Not sure when the contruction will start. Probably within the next year

It is the new width of 1st Avenue in advance of the Olympic Village

New Width of 1stAve - 25Sep05

There is some good news: The Transit Museum Society's Downtown Historic Railway
Car Barn will move to Chinatown which means they get an expanded route
and Vancouver gets some more sustainable transportation.

New Width of 1stAve #3 - 25Sep05

New Width of 1stAve #4 - 25Sep05

Other stories about the OlympicVillage

Vancouver Blows Its Olympic Village Opportunity

Olympic Village Neighbourhood Green Enough?

2010 Olympic Village Condo Prototype

Google search: "vancouver olympic

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03 June 2005

White Clover growing in the city [pics] - Friday, June 3, 2005

White Clover growing in the city [pics] - Friday, June 3, 2005
Al on Observations and Cover Crops

Update May 14, 2006 - Google cache links replaced with active.

Update June 16, 2005 - 3 pics added

Update June 15, 2005 - 4 pics added

Update June 9, 2005: Link to Melanie Watts' blog refering to this entry.

Two Canadian based websites - and probably many more around the world - promote the use of White Clover in lawns:

Consider Clover Campaign

Their brochure: http://www.pesticidefree.ca/Clover.PDF

Establishing White Clover in Lawns

White Clover: Weed or the Most Valuable Species?

White clover is an important species in temperate and subtropical pastures worldwide.[V39] In the turf industry, however, it is viewed as a weed. An 805 page volume on turfgrass science published in 1992, mentions white clover only twice, and only as a weed.[L24] It was not always so. Dr. R. Milton Carleton , who introduced the herbicide 2,4-D to the turfgrass industry, made the following comments in 1957: The thought of White Dutch Clover as a lawn weed will come as a distinct shock to old-time gardeners. I can remember the day when lawn mixtures were judged for quality by the percentage of clover seed they contained. The higher this figure, the better the mixture...I can remember the loving care which old-time gardeners gave their clover lawns. The smug look on the face of the proud homeowner whose stand was the best in the neighborhood was really something to behold. (In New Way to Kill Weeds by R. Milton Carleton, 1957. Arco Publishing Co., N.Y.)

Regardless of its low status in turfgrass science, naturally seeded white clover still shares the stage with grasses in mowed parklands and in institutional and residential settings where herbicides have not been used regularly.

These great expanses of turf receive little watering and little or no fertilizer yet hold their greenness and withstand the trampling of many feet. The robustness of these systems is in large part due to the presence of both grass and clover and the synergistic interactions between them.

Plants For A Future says you can eat it!

Edible Uses Condiment; Flowers; Leaves; Root; Tea.

Leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb[13, 94, 183]. The young leaves are harvested before the plant comes into flower and are used in salads, soups etc[9]. They can also be used as a vegetable, cooked like spinach[9]. The leaves are best cooked[172].

Flowers and seed pods are dried, ground into powder and used as a flour or sprinkled on cooked foods such as boiled rice[183]. Very wholesome and nutritious[115]. The young flowers can also be used in salads[144, 172, 183].

Root - cooked[172, 177].

The dried leaves impart a vanilla flavour to cakes etc[172].

Dried flowering heads are a tea substitute.

My images to date:

16 June 2005 - at 20th and Cambie


15 June 2005 - at 10th and Ontario


15 June 2005 - a long view at 10th and Ontario


10 June 2005 - On the south side of a mini-mall driveway entrance near 6th and Willow.


16 June 2005 - After cutting


10 June 2005 - On the north side near 6th and Willow.


16 June 2005 - After cutting:


01 June 2005 - A clover patch near on BC Women's Hospital


01 June 2005 - A clover lawn near on 10th Ave near Oak St


22 May 2005 - A clover field in the heart of the city. The site of a church burned down at 10th and Quebec.


A closeup view


A view from the opposite side


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19 April 2005


Originally uploaded by urbanwild.
Other people had gathered and one person gently pushed a thin stick through the mass.

Full entry


Originally uploaded by urbanwild.
What a sight. Hundreds of bees [thousands?] had made a mass to protect others from the cold. They were docile, calm and I could put my hand a few millimeters away from them and feel the heat they were generating.

Full entry

03 February 2005

Vancouver - Fruit trees in public spaces recommended by city staff

More good news about Vancouver's food policy.

Project won't bear fruit until trees grow up

By Sandra Thomas-Staff writer
If NPA parks board commissioner Allan DeGenova has his way, Vancouver will soon be covered in newly planted fruit trees.

On Monday night the parks board received a report from staff about planting numerous fruit trees throughout the city as part of Vancouver's sustainable food policy. The report includes suggestions for a community orchard-building on the community garden model-providing a suitable piece of
city property is available, an established organization commits to caring for the property and the community around the property is consulted. The board also wants to harvest excess fruit from trees on private property and donate it to local food banks.

DeGenova wants the board to speed up the orchard launch instead of waiting for more staff reports. And he'd like it expanded. The staff report calls for trees-apple, pear, chestnut and hazelnut-to be planted in public parks and spaces, community gardens and wide rights-of-ways, including boulevards.
"I want to see the board move forward on this as soon as possible," DeGenova said. "I'm tired of tests and waiting, when we could be feeding people."

DeGenova, who's involved with the city's fruit tree program through which excess produce grown by local residents is collected and distributed, wants a community website created for the project. Once people with excess fruit are registered on the website, volunteers would pick up the produce and transfer it to cold storage for distribution. DeGenova is hoping a local cold storage business will donate space.
"We could be contributing to that project," he said. "Wouldn't it be nice to give someone going through the food bank a bag of apples? Plus, most of the stuff grown in the city has no chemicals, so they're getting organic fruit for free."

DeGenova said speeding up the project is critical because fruit trees take time to flourish.

Feeding people isn't the only goal of the new tree program. The staff report argues planting fruit trees in parks and other public spaces will have environmental, educational and community benefits. It claims if organic fruit is grown locally and made available within walking distance of most
neighbourhoods, transportation emissions and costs could be reduced. Students in dense urban areas can learn about the way fruit grows, and possibly take part in caring for and harvesting trees, while longterm stewardship opportunities would create links between neighbours and

According to DeGenova, parks staff are proposing a cautious approach. Staff are researching which trees will grow best in the city's climate, and have planted several dozen small fruit trees at the board's Langley nursery for future planting in parks and rights-of-ways. A group of six fruit trees will
also be planted at Slocan Park when they are large enough. Parks staff are also working with the city's food policy council and social planning staff to educate the public about the benefits of planting fruit trees. "I say we need to get going now," DeGenova said. "Go big or go home."

COPE parks commissioner Heather Deal said a lack of mature trees is the only thing holding up the project. She said the board can't afford to buy trees old enough to bear fruit, and so is growing them at the Langley nursery.

"The cost of buying a tree that age is prohibitive," she said. "So now we're just waiting for the trees to grow."
posted on 02/02/2005

Fruit Trees in Parks and Public Areas[.pdf]

Vancouver Food Policy Council

Fruit Tree Project