the small work* only looks small on an individual level, microscopic. it is repeated in a network of interrelationships that circumnavigate the earth and reverberate across time, compounding, small to the power, of the people, of all of life. exponential. growing our own food within our communities could look like this.
some of the mentors for our small work are with us as we build new veg patches:
**master gardener and fellow islander linda gilkeson who supports in how-to grow your own veg courses, the incredible edibles group, her books and invaluable email list on what to do in our gardens throughout the seasons. look out for her talk on ‘resilient gardens for a changing climate’ through transition salt spring. from her list (http://lindagilkeson.ca) for this weekend:
“If you plan to have a garden where there is currently lawn or soddy/weedy vegetation, the easiest way to convert it into a garden is to cover the area with opaque material (heavy tarps, cardboard) for 3-6 months. Hold down the edges with boards or rocks so no light gets in from the edges. If you do that right now (this weekend!), the first beds could be planted at the end of April. The benefit of doing this is that you keep the best topsoil you have, which is in the roots of the sod, in the garden. You also retain all that lovely organic matter from the killed roots and tops of the grass and weeds. Once the vegetation is killed by excluding light, all you have to do is lift the cover, spread compost and other return the soil to the garden sometime later. It takes longer to kill creeping buttercup and morning glory so if these are infesting the soil, covers need to be on for full 5-6 months. The covered area should also be several feet larger in all directions than the intended garden beds. These plants have runners that can continue to feed plants under the edges of the covered area so it takes longer to smother them.”
***no need to dig? @Charles_Dowding is always testing that theory to great effect, at a similar latitude and climate, in southern england. his videos and books are a no-dig immersion.
****we love this variation on sheet mulching, to layer compost first then cardboard to sheet mulch, from permaculture teacher @MoragGambleOurPermacultureLife down under whose videos and podcasts from her beautiful permaculture village steady us in our work. look for her events, youth activism and outreach across the world with the permaculture education institute. moraggamble.com
for more about growing on vacant lots into vegetable gardens, made effectively modular and social by our own foxglovefarm organic farmer and writer michael ableman. look for his book ‘street farm’ for more.
growing potagers on verges and suburban contexts is particularly beautifully illustrated by my little sister and @roundabouturbangardens in north vancouver and down under look for @retrosuburbiaofficial‘s invaluable tome of a pay-what-you-will book by permaculture co-originator david holmgren and illustrated by @brenna_quinlan
those wood chips paths will want their own minute-film. check out victoria’s @hatchetnseed for more right now.
who are your local experts and growing groups? tell us below! this is how we relocalise and create a more stable, equitable, ecological and economical food system quickly.
this short is a friend and relation of the long-form film “coldframe” from the journal of small work*, on extending the gardening season to grow year-round for local food security, adapting to climate change. this is a great time of year to get one ready!
(still photograph by the great stasia garraway for folklife magazine)