McGarden [Uptown Fox Farmette] checkup #2 w/ photos

What I’m calling “Fox Farmette” is an empty City of Oakland-owned piece of land bounded by four streets: Telegraph to the East, Rashida Muhammed(sp?) to the West, William to the North and 19th to the South.   It’s the bare brown square next to the red letter A on this map.
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It was supposed to be a lot filled with Forest City-developed condos (and yes FC got a free 99-year lease from the city, and FC also gave generously to Jerry Brown’s State AG run) but now FC has no money so no condos.  The city then thought of repaving the dirt again to build a 1-story parking lot downtown. The public said no so now the lot sits fallow. I’ve been working my magic there though. Behold, baby steps to community gardenhood.

Photos from Saturday at Fox Farmette.

Kentucky Pole Beans.


Sweet Clover

Young trees…


Apple seedling

Another tree, with clover ground cover

You will notice there are no raised bed vegetable gardens.  No corn, sunflowers or squash. So far this has been a one-man project.  I can use your help.  Your time, knowledge, seeds, soil, wood, nails, money, whatever you fancy.  It’s fun to garden and the soil is rocky. It’s also a dog run.

Saturday I planted some white clover. Clover fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil through symbiosis with bacteria who do the real N fixing. P and K are harder to add but not impossible, especially if there were composting toilets around.

Future plans: would like to add 1-2 raised beds, sunflower patch, corns-beans-squash rows.  All gardening would need to be drought tolerant since there is no irrigation.  There are plenty of weeds in the “empty” Uptown lot… dandelions (or look-alikes?) and other things I don’t recognize.  Will post those up later.

What I’m doing is not unique. Two people have said it’s like the Octavia/Fell/Hyde Street gardens in SF that got publicity recently.  To me it is similar to the Garden Boyz project on the east coast or the shrinking and bulldozing of Detroit into a smaller, manageable city, or similar greening of cities in former East Germany.

4 responses to “McGarden [Uptown Fox Farmette] checkup #2 w/ photos

  1. update… some city contractors came in this morning and weed whacked all the nice weeds on the lot. boohoo!

    i asked them to leave my beans alone, not sure if they left my trees alone.

  2. I live at The Uptown Apartments that surround this lot. I was talking with my partner the other day that this should become a community garden and maybe even a dog park. There are tons of dogs in the area, and I have two myself. I would love to help make this lot something useful. It’s such a waste of space and that fence is just horrible. Do people actually let their dogs run around in there? Is that trespassing?

  3. Hi JR,
    When the fence was open (up until 2-3 weeks ago, contractors fixed that) I often saw Uptown residents using the lot as a dog run. It’s good for that besides a little broken glass around the rockier area by the entry gate.

    I also think it should contain a Community Garden of some type, does not have to cover the whole thing.

    If you’re willing to chip in for dirt/wood I think we can start at least one bed just to kick things off. Let me know!

    Also feel free to join this fb group for uptown residents:

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