Monday, November 30, 2009

Harvest time at Crestland garden!

Hey, look! It's that garden we started from seed! Man, it's doing really well!

But uh-oh... we forgot to thin the seedlings.

That means the Chinese cabbage are all crowded together!

And the red lettuce is kind of shoved into the collards...

I guess we will just have to eat it!

Come to the Crestland garden this Tuesday, at 7:30 pm, for a harvest and improving the garden! Please bring a bag for harvesting, tools, and any creative materials to add to the garden. We will also put in some new transplants for spaces where seeds didn't sprout. A flashlight will be super handy, as it will be dark by 7: 30.

Afterwards, we'll have some fall themed refreshments at Lindsay's house - a 5 minute drive from the garden. Please keep in mind that how much each of us harvests depends on how many people there are - and we want to leave some for the neighbors.

Here's a map:

And here's some peas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

E.A.S.T. is for cake

We're back! With more tales of E.A.S.T. and an unprecedented rate of blogging, previously unseen on the Garden Posse blog. It's because we feel inspired by the creative energy mentioned in the last piece, and because we met someone who actually reads this blog! Our readers are a silent bunch. That's okay, but don't be afraid to mention your presence in the comments. We'd love to hear from you.

Okay, so on to dessert.

The Garden Posse is not the only game in town when it comes to taking guerrilla-style action in public spaces. The Waller Creek is for Lovers Action and Adventure Society is taking on a very specific piece of public land. Unsurprisingly, that piece of land is Waller Creek, running through downtown. The area - that in parts, is the definition of neglected public space - is slated for large-scale redevelopment, aimed to transform the unassuming creek into a San Antonio style riverwalk.

The Waller Creek is for Lovers Action and Adventure Society, a project of Public Workshop, wants to get people involved in thinking about what this opportunity for new public space could be for them, personally. I admit, I'm guilty of ignoring and deriding redevelopment projects as an unnecessary city expenditure which is bound to inconvenience me during its planning and construction. I hadn't thought about how I could someday enjoy it. And I definitely hadn't thought about how I could be a part of imagining it as something new.

Not until I experienced Waller Creek made out of cake.

Alex, the founder of Public Workshop, said the idea came to him in a brainstorming session. A 6ft long topographical model of Waller Creek made out of cake must have hit his mind like a lightning bolt of sugar. A member of the group spent Saturday baking cake after cake, and on Sunday the cake map was assembled in front of the HOPE Farmer's Market entrance on 5th & Waller. There was frosting, chocolate rocks, sprinkles, and many more sugary topographical features. There were also stickers that asked participants to write what Waller Creek was for. I wrote, turtles.

It took about two hours to construct the cake from start to finish, during which time I met many cool people and stole some frosting on my fingers. At the end, there was cake eating. Lots and lots of it. The Waller Creek is for... estimates that at least 100 people took part in the cake eating. You can read their version of the event on their blog.

After witnessing the Waller Creek cake, my mind has snapped open to the ingenious idea of combining baking with community action. It is no secret that the Garden Posse loves to bake, and so I've spent the past few days thinking: How can we bake a guerrilla garden? Or can we guerrilla bake? What would guerrilla baking mean? If we made a garden out of vegetable shaped cookies on a base of brownies, how long would it last? I must know.

It was wonderful to meet all the inspired people behind the Waller Creek... Action and Adventure Society. Perhaps a collaboration lies in our future? Ah, the magic of E.A.S.T.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

E.A.S.T. is for lovers

There's a certain kind of energy that runs through the East Austin Studio Tour. Maybe it's because the doors to studios, galleries, houses, garages, and gardens are open, and inviting you in to look at and experience something new, something creative. There are finished works, works in progress, collaborations being made in the moment. People are talking to other people they've never met. There's plenty of wine and beer and snacks. People are riding on handlebars, or walking in groups like over-aged trick or treaters. Leaves are on the ground. Things have been made. Things hold ideas and purpose. The creativity and openess is in the air, and it's infectious. You want to be a part of it.

The purpose of Co-lab is to conduct that energy and give it a home. It's a new media project space with a small tin building that serves as a gallery, and a large, fenced in lawn with picnic tables and installations scattered around. The garden's Swiss Chard was gigantic. Sean, the main force behind Co-lab, told us that the lot used to be an auto body shop, and he had pulled two garbage cans full of man-made stuff out of the ground. The garden was built on donated soil. The purpose of Co-lab, Sean says, is an experiment in the gift economy - he doesn't ask for money, and relies on the help and creativity of artists to make it work. He had art and events lined up every day last week.

Sean had not hesitated to say yes when the Garden Posse asked him if Co-lab would host a last minute seed bomb workshop in honor of E.A.S.T. The day was a bit cloudy and chilly, but quite a few people proved unafraid to stick their hands in a muddy mess of seed bomb batter. Matthew, who is making a short video about the Garden Posse, documented the event. We were also visited by a woman who follows this blog but didn't leave her name or email address. (If you're reading this, thanks for coming! And leave us a comment with your email and we'll get you on our email list.)

So a new batch of Texas Wildflower seed bombs were made, and the old ones bagged up so we can give them to you when you come to Garden Posse events. If you already have seed bombs, now is the time to throw them! Wildflowers should be seeded in the fall and bloom in the spring.

Sean mentioned that Co-lab is extremely open to future collaboration, so we are thinking of art/gardening events we can do. We'd love to hear your ideas. As we learn from E.A.S.T., there is no limit on what can be done. Well, asides from planting edible plants directly in Co-lab's soil. The auto body shop history makes that a little sketchy.

After we finished up the seed bomb making, and made sure our hands weren't too muddy to touch art, we moved on to some of the studios in the neighborhood. One member of the Garden Posse has a small obsession with the Decoder Ring Design Concern - a top-tier design shop with an amazing office, tucked away in a bamboo forest. We met the man behind the bamboo, and the incredible landscape design. His name is David, and he is a guerrilla gardener, too. When we told him about the Garden Posse, he said that he had planted about 40 trees a block away, near the Capital Metro stop. David said he was engaged in a silent battle with the city over the trees - when they took them out, he would just go back and plant more. He reminds us of Denver's Tree Fairy, except not crazy.

David's nursery is called Utility Research Garden, and you should check it out if you have the chance. What's amazing is that everything you see in the garden - including the 20 ft tall pine trees (native to Afghanistan) - were planted four years ago. Yep. We wish we had those skills (the term "garden boner" was used). We hope to get to spend some time guerrilla gardening with David, and somehow soak up his gardening magic.

More tales of E.A.S.T. coming soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Garden Posse at E.A.S.T. this weekend!

The Posse has been in temporary hibernation for the past few weeks, taking a much-needed rest from the craziness and excitement of our filming with Central Texas Gardener.

So we figured we'd come back with something short and sweet - a seed bomb workshop during the East Austin Studio Tour on Saturday! Co-Lab is a new media project space featuring a new community garden, and they are hosting our event. There will be lots of other stuff going on, including an art sale!

Saturday, Nov. 21, around 1 pm
613 Allen St (at the intersection of Allen & Hidalgo)

We'll be making seed bombs - mixes of native seeds, clay, and dirt - and giving them away, if you ask nice.

More info about co-lab at EAST here:

Stop by if you are going to be out strolling the studio tour!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cherrywood garden expanding!

David stopped by to check out the Cherrywood guerrilla garden we dug two weeks ago, and found Melvin (standing) and John (crouching) adding a new bed, with five rows. There was so much energy behind the dig in Cherrywood, the fact that the neighbors have expanded the garden is not surprising - there was already talk of it as we dug the first two beds. Melvin has been mowing the empty lot across from his house for years, and he was really enthusiastic about digging it up. David says that John is a new neighbor working on the garden. We're so excited that the garden is being embraced and cared for by the neighborhood - this was definitely one of the best digs yet!

We have photos from the dig and the filming of Central Texas Gardener, which we will post and recap soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Central Texas Gardener filming this Thursday!

The Garden Posse is getting ready for our television debut - Central Texas Gardener is filming our gardens and a dig on this coming Thursday evening!

No, we cannot believe it either.

We'd really like for you to be a part of it. Have you not always dreamed of being on a well respected gardening show? Now is the time for you to achieve that dream! Come to Cherrywood & 34th Street (the address of the lot would be 1710 E. 34th St) around 5:45 pm on Thursday, November 5. They'll be doing some interviews, and then filming our dig before the sun goes down. Then, drinks?!

We'd particularly like you to come out if you have done digs with us before. This is a really great opportunity to show the public television watching public what guerrilla gardening is about, and encourage other Texans to guerrilla garden their own city.

As always, bring whatever tools, plants, and seeds you have!

Here's a map:

View Larger Map

Monday, November 2, 2009

Brunch & Garden: The phototastic epilogue

What better way to start a day associated with evil spirits and human debauchery, not to mention candy, than with a brunch associated with a gardening workday? Wait, don't answer that question. Let's rephrase: Don't you love gardening and eating in juxtaposition?

After the Garden Posse arrived at the Webberville Road Baptist Church, our stomachs were filled up by egg strata, homemade bread, doughnut bread, and coffee. The flies and wasps also got their share.

Then the real work started. We had to dig up and pick out the Bermuda grass - which we dubbed Satan grass in honor of the day.

We expanded the bed around the old tree trunk, and lengthened the other bed as well.

A few basil plants and a pepper plant were all that remained from the summer. We don't have any before pictures, but let's just say that the other plants were skeletal.

We re-bordered the beds with rocks we picked up from the cemetery in the spring. Appropriate?

Watch out for the fire ants crawling up the middle of that bed. Whew!

The summer garden was most notable for its productive watermelon patch. We found one last watermelon amongst the weeds, orphaned as we pulled up the vines. Pastor Ealey stopped by to chat a bit, and told us that the church had gotten a lot of peppers and tomatoes out of the garden, and the sunflowers had grown over 6 feet tall. The congregation had been really excited to see that we were working on the garden again, after we had started working on it on Tuesday.

Dan enjoys the last of the last watermelon.

Planted! A lot of greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and so on and so on.

Plus, two agaves we got at the Cherrywood plant swap!

Here's the expanded bed planted with broccoli, swiss chard, cabbage, and lettuce.

And the other bed heaped with more swiss chard and lettuce. Salad, anyone?

Great work from everyone who came out!