Midnight Garden

Fenced off city land. Photo by Becks.

There’s a spot of unused open space in downtown that I’ve gazed at for over a year now.  I was part of a group of people who spoke at city hall in 2009 to protest the city’s building of an asphalt desert (car storage space) there.  Lately I hear there are other, newer proposals for the space.  No FREE-for-100-year leases like some apartment developers got, but who knows.

In any case, I seeded a garden there last night ahead of tomorrow’s showers.

What’s on tap:

  • garlic
  • sage
  • greenbeans, for fixing nitrogen
  • soybeans
  • cilantro
  • “bunny tails”, decorative, drought tolerant
  • 2 tree saplings, decorative, eastern redbud and goldenraintree (both 30′ tall and 30′ spread; pink and yellow flowers)
  • 3 apple tree seedlings, probably will crabapple but let’s see in… 5 years? haha
  • 1 lemon tree seed
  • tomatoes
  • flowers, decorative
  • pumpkins, ground cover
  • sweet clover, for fixing nitrogen

Will see how they do this spring and summer.

The point of gardening in the empty lot is to demonstrate  a better use of the ground besides another parking lot dirt.  Dog owners love this spot too.  It should become a community garden/ sporting green/ dog & people run.  The whole lot shouldn’t be developed though. We need “wild” spaces too — especially for kids and birds.

A garden also provides eye candy, food security, prevents soil erosion, remediates any contaminated soil (EPA would call it a brownfield) and raises the property’s value.  Well, I didn’t exactly plant any fungii for soil cleanup. Maybe Paul Stamets will.

I’m sure other people have thrown seeds or old fruit over the fence too… there are some crazy looking plants out there.

Cost to the city? Zero, like my pedicab.

Update: What I’d like to plant in addition: rosemary, dill, angelica, coreopsis, cosmos, sunflowers, dandelions (yes i know).  After that, boxes — raised beds.  Some  fish poo-ponics guys called Kijiji are doing this on non-profit owned land adjacent West Oakland BART.  Many great local groups such as Urban Releaf are helping them out.

3 responses to “Midnight Garden

  1. Great! I have some seeds if you need any, for native plants. (Don’t want to throw them over the fence if they’ll end up on top of what you did.) If you plant Calif. poppies right away, they’ll still bloom this year. And they will come back next year.

  2. Sweet! I love native plants, poppies sound good.

    I have the other kind here as decor but it probably wouldn’t seed properly.

    There are plenty of weeds in the lot, don’t know what they are. If you throw seeds over the fence it should be fine, since everything is spaced so far apart.

  3. it seems to be happening everywhere… there are a few other places that i have in mind

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