Tag Archives: empty uptown lot

Uptown Empty Lot >>>Plaza de Arte

♥ in SF

So if the Oakland School of the Arts kids weren’t spoiled rotten before, they’re gonna be now!!  OSA kids, according to parents I know, get to use the Oakland Ice Rink at least twice a week for PE class, among other immersive activities.  Those lucky plucky OSA kids also get to draw their own school building structure while sitting on the sidewalk on Telegraph outside on sunny days, play music indoors and out, have smallish class sizes, skateboard in Fox Square Plaza… future students will enjoy gazing out on and sitting amidst strange and wonderful public art installations too!

Anyway, back to the main story:

Thanks to the efforts of local activist residents like Becks, V Smoothe, retiree Joyce Roy and city staffers putting in additional effort somewhere between “normal” and “heroic”, the empty Sears-Fox-Uptown dirt lot will transform into a booming arts plaza! (And perhance lead to a small food-carty night market during the summer! One can hope. Yes, we have the street cleaner app for that.)

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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.

So who will help me bake this bread?

[8/4/09 update – read “sustainable blather” by an ashland, oregon permaculturist]

I like to think of the empty Uptown lot between Uptown Apartments, the 60%-off-Uptown-Apartment-price orange apartments, the FOX and Sears as an empty slate. Somewhere that a little red hen could peck some living out of the ground by planting wheat. Hence the title of this post.

We’ve one big dirt lot with a bunch of gravel strewn about, native plants (weeds), a sometimes doggie pooch runabout lot, and a perch for pigeons and giant ravens. Measures at least 100 by 200 feet in size.

Who will guerrilla garden the lot with me?

It is August and too late to plant sunflowers (should be planted in april/may) or corn… and the soil is mostly dustry, compacted clay. Here’s what should happen.

a) drop a few bags of compost on the ground in a geometric shape. (rectangle, triangle) maybe turn half of the area before doing this. water.

b) wait a month

c) plant garlic, because it grows all winter. everyone eats garlic right?

So who’s with me?