Category Archives: urban farming

garlic harvest 2012 video

harvested all the garlic this last weekend at the farm with help from the kids track at the allied media conference.  i had a really good time harvesting garlic, and at the amc in general.  it’s the first one i have been to in several years, and i had forgotten how much fun it could be.  i made a quick video of the harvest, hope you enjoy.

blocking workshop at detroit farm and garden

hey detroit folks, i’m teaching a workshop on soil blocks  for growing transplants at detroit farm and garden and its free!

why would you want to start making soil blocks instead of planting in pots for transplants?

  1. reduces the number of pots hanging around taking up space
  2. reduces yr carbon footprint by using less plastic
  3. grows healthier transplants which establish quicker and grow faster
  4. be the envy of all your friends and neighbors with your amazing skills and talents.
  5. have fun

making soil blocks is easy too – its just like making mudpies

the details – sunday may 20th from 1pm-3pm at detroit farm and garden located at 1759 20th st detroit (the entrance is on 21st).  we will cover the benfits and drawbacks of using soil blocks, the materials used in the mix, how to mix the blocking mix, making blocks, seeding, potting up, and pricking out into blocks.

if you get the blocking bug, soil mix will be available to purchase and limited numbers of soil blockers will be for sale.  call them asap at 313-655-2344 if you want one and you can walk out the store ready to start yr fall transplants in soil blocks.

look forward to seeing you there.

photos from the first week in may 2012

most recent installment of photos from around the farm.  tomatoes planted into kalemustard greenscarrots in the hoopcurrantspuckering and color change on the currant leaves caused by aphid feedinggooseberries apple flowersflowers on some collards that overwinteredpepper transplantsgarlicoverwintered onionsspring kale poking out of the row coverpaw paw planted in the woody area that managed to avoid trampling.  about four years old new bees pulling in pollen spring anemone.  that’s it.  what’s happening in yr garden?

urban roots movie screening this thursday

as if i’m not busy enough with all the things i have going on, i also serve on the board of a new school which will be opening in the fall (fingers crossed, we have applications in for charters) the boggs educational center.   this thursday there will be a screening of the film urban roots at the detroit film theatre, and proceeds will go to benefit the school.   more detail can be found here.

this movie is about urban agriculture in detroit, and features many of my heroes, the urban farmers of detroit.

hope to see you there.

photos from around the farm april 2012

april already?  this year has been flying by.

asparagus is up about a month early this year, but now that the temperatures have returned to normal, it is really grown slowly and some crowns have still not put any spears up.  usually once its up i’m harvesting something like 10 to 15 pounds a day.  this year i’m harvesting like 3 pounds every other day.  strange year.

the greenhouse packed pretty tightly.the hoop house fully planted.  we have been harvesting about 75 pounds of greens a week out of it.  tomatoes and peppers get planted this week.  currant flowersgooseberry flowerserviceberry flowersthe garlic on the left and overwintered onions and leeks on the right.  uncovered for weeding.  the sifters set up and ready for action.  we have had a number of alternative spring break groups come through, and they have been really excited about sifting compost, which means we have been able to get a pretty good amount of compost sifted.  we even have a little in reserve for a change.planting collards and kale.what’s happening with yr garden or farm?

photos from the first week of march 2012

welcome new readers!  we have had several new subscribers.  hope you will make some comments – it adds to the fun.

we made it to march.  as mild a winter as its been, it’s still be a long one.  i’m still ready for spring, and march helps me to feel like it just might come.  maybe.  so lets proceed with this months batch of random photos.

do you ever get sick of these shots of the inside of the hoop house?  i don’t.  lots of little spouts coming up.

freshly transplanted kale in the hoop house.

a praying mantis egg case on one of the currant bushes.

a service berry bud swelling and about to open.

a pile of branches from the recent pruning of the currant bushes.

collard transplants in the greenhouse.

tomato transplants.


new prototype compost sifter.  more on it later.  maybe a short film of it in action.

overwintered leeks.

compost laid down on beds to be planted in peas in a few weeks.

looking down through all the piles of compost.

garlic sprouts popping through straw.

writing soundtrack = can – tago mago

winter harvest carrots and spinach

we harvest the last of the bulk of the winter harvest out of the hoop house this week.  we left a little chard, spinach and lettuce, but all the carrots have now been dug.they are a little smaller than we would like but, on account of getting them in too late, but they are about as sweet as any carrot i’ve had.  i couldn’t resist eating a handful of them raw while washing them up.  roasted with a little orange juice and cumin and they were wonderful.

now that the hoop house is almost fully cleaned up, and the weather is starting to break, we have started  harvesting out of the hoops in the field.we easily harvested eight pounds in about 15 minutes, there is so much under the hoops, and we barely made a dent.  it’s not nearly so big as last years spinach, but very healthy all the same.

it feels pretty good to be able to harvest 50 pounds of carrots, plus plenty of greens on the last day of february.

detroit farm and garden

i’m super excited about the opening of detroit farm and garden.  i’ve been talking with my friend jeff, who is the mastermind behind it, for a couple of years about the opening of this space.  today i was able to visit it for the first time during the open house.  i was especially excited about the giant banner, as ma had a major hand in the logo design along with our friend nina.

what is detroit farm and garden?  well its pretty much what you would think, it’s a farm and garden store for detroit.  what will it stock?  that remains to be seen.  todays open house was part of deciding what would be carried.  there were stations though out the space where you could sign up for what you want to see carried.  looks like lots of great tools, cover crop seeds, soil amendments and plenty of compost.  this is just another reason why i love the idea behind the shop, not only is it serving an obvious need in the city, but it also has customers directly involved in deciding what they want carried.  i think it bodes very well for the space.  i also saw lots of awesome urban ag folks milling about, and enjoyed great snacks.

the build out is gonna take some work – right now its pretty much just an open layout where trucks are parked and materials are stored.  rumor has it they plan to open in the next month so it they have a lot of work to do.  best of all, it’s just a short bike ride away from home!  sorry for low quality photos – if you want to take good photos, i don’t care what anyone says – you should use a camera, not a phone.

soundtrack = dj rupture on wfmu

photos from the first week in december

i’m falling more and more behind with updates! not that i haven’t been writing, but mostly that i’ve been working on other writing projects, more on that later. glad ma is helping take up the slack with soap posts.

we have really turned the corner into winter in the last few weeks, light snows falling most evenings this week.  We have a nice inch blanketing the ground right now, wet and stuck to trees and making everything look so lovely.  since it has become so cold, it means most of our work is moving indoors into the hoop house, where many of these photos were taken.

asparagus mulched for the winter and turning a lovely shade of yellow.the greenhouse, new floor installed and cleaned up.  i feel bad that i have to mess it up by growing in it. a pile of bee equipment ready to get cleaned up and stowed for the winter.compost pile in the hoop house, full of lots of fresh spent grain and worms.  we have been collecting lots of worms out of this pile for worm bins.  this is turning into very, very nice compost once it breaks down.  it gonna be so much fun to spread it out in a couple of months when we begin planting again. row cover over the crops in the hoop house.  we need to get cloths pins to hold this taunt, it should not sag like this.  spinachscallionshakurei turnips! so sweet!swiss chardsnow gathers on the side of the hoop house.mustard greens these are the same ones i took photos of last winter.  they just keep holding on.  row cover over onions and spinach.  still in need of plastic over them.compost piles!  we are just about out of room in our current area.  time to move to the spot by the hoop house!

photos from the first week of november

i had big plans to get this out a couple of weeks ago before i took off  for the west coast, but it didn’t happen – so it’s happening now.  the west coast was great, and i’m currently jet lagged and bleary eyed from the overnight flight, but very glad to be back in detroit.

so even if they are late, here are this month’s addition of photos.

the late fall bounty at the market table.fall color on the service berriesthe recently flipped compost pile.  new compost piles! so neat!burdock seeds – getting stuck to all my clothes.onions ready for the winter.leaves down on the beds for winter.greens growing in the hoop house. sifted compost stowed in the hoop house for the winter.the last of the tomatoes in the hoop house.asparagus fronds turning yellow for fall.the greenhouse floor getting new fabric put down. bounty of winter squash

i hope to get west coast updates soon, but its gonna take awhile to sort though all the info and thoughts.