Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lippit St. site shaping up nicely!

This weekend we got a lot done on the Lippit St. site --
Violet got us dirt, Andre and other folks built and filled beds with dirt, Laura and Andrea planted a ton of little seedlings: red cabbage, kale, spinach, beets, more kale, onions, red peppers, broccoli, and Andrea seeded some carrots and radishes.
Our garden mates Pam and Julie have been cranking away at their portion of the site as well and have so many different veggies sprouting in their compost-rich beds.
Kayla and John and Andrea scored a trellis whilst dumpster diving in the generously wasteful aftermath of graduation.
We now need some more soil and a decent amount of compost to mulch everything with to keep the moisture in. There have been tentative discussions about building a water catchment system.
Over on Pearl st. , we have dirt and compost and are working on lining the beds according to recommendations from SSCLT and should be ready to plant a ton of stuff in the next week.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Digging Our New Site!

Yesterday a whole bunch of folks showed up to work, which was great to see! And we got so much done! I arrived a little after 1 pm with Andre, and the garden site was full of people raking and shovelling chunks of rubble and random junk out of the ground and leveling it out, and over the course of the day some of the more interesting items ended up as decorations on the fence. Brower was artfully assembling a sine-curve shaped urban version of a New England stone wall near the back of the site, made out of all the debris being dislodged from the dirt -- mostly rocks, various concrete fragments, and rusted metal objects. There were already some railroad ties and GIANT mill beams piled up. It took about three or four people to move just one of those beams. We managed to lift, pull, roll, flop, drag, and shove them around to form a 6'x16' bed about 14 inches deep. The railroad ties were much easier to lift and we had enough to build one bed 2 ties deep. We needed many more, so a small caravan of vehicles left to fetch more from our well-stocked local derelict railroad. We were able to gather about 6 or 8 ties onto Brower's truck, and a ton more onto Gerry's truck, along with some other lumber. I got to ride in Steve's bumble-bee colored SUV on the way back, and we got to experience some adrenaline as he played in the off-road terrain. Steve took a lot of pictures throughout the day which I hope to post here eventually. We stopped at Wholefoods on the way back to pick up some free buckets they saved for us, and when we got back to the site there were even more people than before and things were cleaning up nicely. We unloaded and built a few more beds.
Dauna had membership certificates to sign and keys to hand out, which helped me to feel like it's really ours now.
Yarrow, the man from whom we are leasing the land, was right there with us in the sweat and dirt, helping enthusiastically. He also owns a legal grafitti supply and car customizing shop adjacent to our site, and there is some really amazing art happening there. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him, and to thank everyone else, who came out to work yesterday. Good Job!
The Lippitt St. lot needed some more bed building materials too, so 6 of us went to make one last scavenging trip in our friend's truck. We got 10 decent ties and were heading back home when the two people in the truck got pulled over by the police. I was in my car with the 3 others and pulled over as well to see what the deal was, and the policeman came over to talk to us. After a stressful few minutes of him making us feel like we'd done something wrong, he called the railroad company and they informed him that no, they didn't mind us taking the railroad ties for our project. "It's your lucky day," he said.
Thank you, Providence Worcester Railroad Co.! Rest assured that your half-decomposed, decade-old ties are being put to good use!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

welcome to the fertile underground

We are here to cultivate community, guerrilla gardening, art and urban agriculture. We coalesced as an intentional community back in January, and have been holding meetings once a week to plan and discuss our goals for this season. We have very little money but a lot of talent, energy, knowledge, vision, creativity, and ridiculous scavenging skills. Our goal is to transform derelict, abandoned, or neglected urban spaces into food and art gardens, and inspire others to join us.
So far, we have two sites to work on for the 2009 growing season: one larger site that we are leasing down on Pearl St., and a smaller site down off of Hope St. where we are guerilla gardening with some neighbors.
We are building our raised beds out of old railroad ties that we've gathered from down by the river, and we're getting our compost from the East Providence Public Works.
Tomorrow is our first Fertile Underground Work Day, over at the lot on Pearl St. We'll be building beds, filling them with compost, and sowing some of our seeds and seedlings. Come check it out!