Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Crestland Garden gets a facelift

Welcome to the old Crestland Garden! We love the location of the garden - the triangle is like an oasis right off the busy, barren street of North Lamar. It's surrounded on three sides by houses full of neighbors, who we met when we knocked on their doors, to invite them to work on the garden with us. Our hope for every garden we plant is that it will become a part of the community. In our dreams, the neighbors treat the guerrilla garden like a community garden - planting their own plants, expanding it when it's needed, and weeding and watering. In that way, the whole neighborhood can share the fresh food that comes out of the middle of their street.

Above you'll see the garden filled with with the remains of the fall crop. We planted everything from seed, and it did very well - full of cabbage, brocolli, beets, and kale. 

But the garden was also being strangled by weeds. This is kind of a good sign, because it means that the city workers who mow the triangle have left the garden - bordered by a variety of rocks and wood -  well enough alone.

And most of the plants had bolted. Here is the broccoli turning into tiny yellow flowers.

We were joined by a neighbor, Chris, who we met at a neighbor's Canadian Thanksgiving potluck last fall. We started off by attacking the weeds - quite a task. We pulled most of the plants out, but we thought this Chinese cabbage made quite a nice centerpiece. (Eventually we pulled it up.) Chris carted the discarded green stuff back to his compost pile.

We had a few visitors as well: A neighborhood mom and daughter gardening team walked over to give us a tomato transplant and a pod of okra seeds. The mom told us that whenever they drive by, she and her daughter check out the garden and what's happening there. They said they wanted to garden with us, but they had already done a lot of gardening at their house that day, and the daughter (who was about 7 and very cute) looked ready for bed. We told them that we would save room for them to plant their own veggies in the guerrilla garden.

And then a stranger encounter: A white mini van drove into the neighborhood and circled our triangle, calling out, "Headlamp gardening! Cool!" After one complete rotation, the car stopped and out came a skinny man who proclaimed himself a professional dumpster diver, a freegan, and career chef to diplomats traveling the world. He gave us each a business card to promote his line of dressings, available at your neighborhood market. He told us he was totally on board with what we were doing, then jumped back into his van, circled the triangle a few more times (calling out, "Cool!") and then disappeared back into North Lamar traffic.

But back to gardening. The other bed was more manageable, and we left the remains of the kale and cabbage to come to their natural end. 

After we were done weeding, we got ambitious and decided to expanded the garden. We dug up a third bed. We've found with experience that pick axes work best, even better than tillers. 

We neglected to take any photos of the plants, so you'll have to trust us when we say that we packed those beds full of peppers, tomatoes, herbs, sorrel, garlic chives, cucumbers, and we can't remember what else. There's sure to be quite a harvest... that is, if the cat we saw dive into the bed right after we were finished learns a valuable lesson.

Here are the ladies of the guerrilla gardening night after the dig. 

We are planning a return to the Crestland Garden, to encourage the neighbors to come out and learn about the plants in their neighborhood. Details to be announced.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garden Posse screenprints at SXSW!

Yesterday was the last big day of SXSW (everyone knows Sunday is just for recovery), and the Garden Posse spent it in a blur of screenprinting, music, beer, and crafts at the Stem & Leaf day party. Seen above are Mount Righteous, an incredible marching band from Dallas playing inside Rainey Manor, a random house on the west side of I-35. The Silent Chase was playing outside, on a cold, windy day which many people braved to come to a raucous party. Luckily, the Posse was warm inside, sharing a room with Skillshare Austin, and screenprinting to our heart's content.

Here's just one of our satisfied customers, wearing a hoodie sweater made exponentially cooler by our print.

Truth be told, none of the Posse had ever screenprinted before this day. It was an idea that sounded good to us, so we made it happen, with a lot of help from a more experienced friend. We used a photo emulsion chemical to transfer Carly's design onto the screen. The process takes about a day.

It came out looking beautiful. And the process of printing couldn't be easier. Just put some paint on the screen, get some fabric under there, and spread the paint across with the squee-gee tool. Here's Carly at work.

We printed up a bunch of these fabric posters/ patches.

We also screenprinted clothes people were wearing or bought at Treasure City's sale. My personal favorite was a friend's velour jacket, which despite concerns about the fabric, turned out really well. We also printed on a huge puffy jacket, and a fleece vest. It was cold.

This is my tank top. It looks good, no?

We are really pleased with how the design came out, and we hope to sell Garden Posse t-shirts at more events! Tell us in the comments if you want one! FYI, it helps to let people know that you're in a posse.

Just a bit of cuteness to close out South By... the dog sneaks into the photo shoot.

Crestland Garden rescheduled!

Due to a day full of rain, a week of South by Southwest, and a misunderstanding involving the meaning of the word "snout" in a text, last week's dig at Crestland Garden was postponed. That means, if you hadn't planned to come last week, you can make it this week!

Tuesday, March 23, we'll meet at the triangle on W Crestland closest to North Lamar. 7:30 pm. We'll have the plants, you bring your tools.

You can get all your relevant information (including a map and photos) on the last post about this event, here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden Posse screenprinting at SXSW! This Saturday

By now you should know that one of the Garden Posse's secret strengths is having an awesome graphic designer as a member. Carly designed our logo in anticipation of our September benefit concert at the United States Art Authority, put on by Stem & Leaf showcases. Garden Posse and Stem & Leaf just sound like a natural fit, right? So we've teamed up with them again to support what is sure to be a kick-ass day party at South by Southwest.

This year Stem & Leaf is celebrating their fifth birthday with 16 bands, free beer, snacks, crafts, and screenprinting by the Garden Posse! On March 20, come to "Rainey Manor" (90 I-35 South which is kitty corner to Lustre Pearl. Also directly located off of the I-35 Frontage road just past Cesar Chavez.) You can get this image screenprinted on fabric provided by us, t-shirts purchased by Treasure City, or stuff brought by you!

RSVP, band lineup, and more infor on Faceboook
. (Note: RSVP not required.)

Bands I recommend: Squalor Victoria (their first show, they will be wearing warpaint), Mount Righteous (super fun marching band from Dallas), Stephaniesid, One Hundred Flowers, the Distant Seconds, Peter and the Wolf, Monarchs, and pretty much everyone else. And you can check out Sondre Lerche at 6 pm across the street at Lustre Pearl.

Bottom line: It's going to be awesome. Hope you can make it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crestland Garden on Tuesday!

We stopped by the Crestland Garden off North Lamar today, and we found this beauty.

It's ready to harvest, along with kale. The garden has sent up bright yellow sentinels in the form of the Chinese cabbage bolting. That means, time to clean up from winter and replant!

We'll be meeting at the large triangle on W Crestland Dr, right off North Lamar, at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, March 16. You can search for it with the approximate address 679 W Crestland Dr. Here's the map.

View Larger Map

If you're driving up North Lamar, it's kind of a quick turn to the right across from the Surplus Warehouse and a big carpet outlet.

We'll be weeding out the garden and planting new seeds and transplants for spring. Depending on how many people show up, we might expand the garden.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seed bombing 2/2/10

Last Tuesday marked our first foray into East Side seed bombing. We set off from our garden at Chestnut Park towards the yet-to-be-opened-and-we-haven't-been-holding-our-breath-for-it-thank-God train station at MLK.

However, a little birdie left a helpful comment in our last post that is going to open on March 22, only a year after the launch party was planned. We'll believe it when we see it. But we figured we'd give the hypothetical riders something nice to look at off the side of the tracks.

We were looking for spots that were not landscaped and had bare dirt - the exposed slope, the tree wells. It's important to place them in an area where the seeds won't be overcome by weeds, or chopped down by a mower. Wildflowers have no natural defenses from mowers.

We moved up from MLK towards Manor Rd, dropping seed bombs along the perimeters of construction sites and the edges of curbs. Our best site was an abandoned airport parking lot. The airport closed over ten years ago. We plopped seed bombs over the fence, and found bare spots among the weeds. Hopefully they will provide a little beauty in contrast to the broken beer bottles, and used fast food wrappers.

Our next meetup is planned for Tuesday, March 16. We'll be replanting and possibly expanding our garden at the Crestland Triangle, off North Lamar. We'll meet at 7:30 pm. Put it on your calendars!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Seed Bomb Chestnut Park!

The Garden Posse is somewhat like squirrels and acorns in our behavior regarding seed bombs. We make them, and we horde them. Over a couple of fall seed bomb making sessions, we've accumulated an impressive stockpile. Now it is time to spread them.

This Tuesday, March 2, at 7:30 pm, we'll be meeting at Chestnut Park (16th & Chestnut) to divvy up our pile and seed bomb wherever needs seed bombing. On the map below you'll see the park and the garden. If you enlarge the map (meaning, make it so you can see a larger area by hitting that "-" sign), you can see three sites for potential seed bombing.

View Seed Bomb Chestnut Park in a larger map

One site is nearby the MLK train site (hey, when is that train coming in anyway?). There are two more nearby, at MLK Blvd and Manor Rd, respectively. We'll check out these sites, spread our seed bombs around, and wait for the magic to happen. Seed bombs release their seeds when rain comes and dissolves their little package of compost and clay.

This shouldn't take more than an hour - maybe afterwards we can grab a drink! Hope to see you there.