Sunday, April 8, 2018
Every new place where I live comes with the urge to create new space to garden. My current apartment is no exception but there's a slight difference with this space. For one it's much large than than I've previously had to work with and it's not actually attached to the apartment. In a rather unique arrangement, the parking area provided for the building I live in is a small lot that backs a neighbouring house and is reachable only from the laneway. The lot is wide enough for two cars but considerably deeper than needed for even the largest vehicle. That extra space has been used as a dumping ground for yard and construction waste for years and as it is open to a public laneway, other trash appears there regularly. So with the landlord's permission, a team of friends and neighbours hope to turn what is currently a pile of rubble into a green space capable of growing vegetables and fruit for the neighbourhood, as well as plants to encourage pollinators and wildlife. And a hedgerow, I'm slightly obsessed by the idea of hedgerows!
Starting last fall, we began sifting the debris that has accumulated for years. We hauled away some of the trash and sorted piles of metal (which went to a scrapper), rocks and concrete chunks (which we might use to build pathways or retaining walls) and wood. Some of the finished lumber will also be repurposed, and the logs and branches will be set aside to become the base of the garden beds using hugelkultur techniques. I previously used a modified version of this for raised beds and it works remarkably well and cuts down the need for watering. (See posts here and here).
At the time we had hoped to clear enough space to plant some garlic to winter over but it quickly became obvious that there's a lot more to be done to make the space useable. Over the winter we've had time to start planning and compile lists of task we need to do. And if the weather every warms up we'll start putting those plans in action!