Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gathering Gardeners

If you were unable to attend our Edible Garden Tour ... I missed you, we all missed you! 
I can do the next best thing and share a little about how it all started and let you take a look at what I call "your neighbor's garden".
 Most of these gardens are located on typical neighborhood lots, lovingly planted and cared for by extra-ordinary people. They are people with hope and vision for the future, just taking their little piece of urban earth and turning it into a small paradise!

The whole idea came to me about five years ago, when I felt like it was time to spread the inspiration, satisfaction and very possibly, the necessity of growing a garden in our changing world. I knew that if people could see an edible garden first hand, they would remember what they were missing and rethink the way they use their own back yards.  First, I had to gather gardeners. I began with the gardens I happened to pass on my way to the local nursery (because I go there a lot).

This is David's garden, doesn't it look like it could be a cottage in the country? Well anyway, I drove by his house a few times... until I finally found him working in his garden one day. I'm sure he thought I was some crazy lady, but we soon got past that and he,( like all the gardeners) was ready and willing! 

Garden # 1
Cares A Lot Farm
     This little structure is David's new aquaponics  house. Oh, and those are his ducks too!
Here is the inside, everything looks good, huh!
David has 60 or so fruit trees on his corner lot. The one below is a miniature Bonanza Peach. It's small, but it offers up plenty of big peaches!
Garden # 2 
  You can't miss Troy and Rebecca's garden,  The entire front yard is lined with raised beds, filled with artistically planted veggies! The trick to finding gardeners is catching them in their gardens. I stopped at "My Farmyard", one day when Troy was out working. I think it took two stops to finally meet the other farmer, Rebecca. Yep, they were up for the tour too.
Here, I stopped on a day when the farm was hosting a field trip! 
As you can see... no ordinary front yard. The kids are taking it all in and Rebecca is loving it too! Also, see those Giant zinnias, they were gorgeous (yes, Becca let me save some seeds!)
When you go around to the back yard, you will find Nutmeg and Pepper the goats, chickens and more garden beds!
Sarah, Rebecca, Roseanne and my grandson (he goes everywhere I go!). Below, you can see the amazing varieties of lettuce that famyard has on display. Some of this goes into their CSA baskets.

Garden # 3
Jack and Leah's Goat Chick Farm

 These two lovelies live just around the corner from me. They were riding their bikes around the neighborhood and stopped when they saw my garden. So, technically they found me! Jack has lots of great ideas, and we always seem to go along with his suggestions, somehow he makes us brave enough to do things that we wouldn't do on our own.( like processing meat chickens) It makes things so much easier when you have extra hands! Doesn't Leah look like a model? That's because she is one!
This is Dorothy and Charlotte, the Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, we also call them the village goats, because Leah and Jack will be sharing them with us. Jack built the house so they could play "king of the hill". Dorothy and Charlotte are pretty good at modeling too.
Leah and Jack have put every bit of available space on their property to good use. I drive by their house a few times a week, and it always makes me happy to see their garden boxes and fruit trees right there in front for all to see!

Garden # 4   

 This is Larry's garden, he lives around the corner from Jack and Leah. Jack brought Larry by one day, and ... well you could see that this neighbor was ready to get going! Larry is relatively new to gardening, but you couldn't tell from looking at this set-up! He is also a master builder and very efficient at what he does! He's also the only one that has a secret contract with the local grocery store for their coffee grounds, but he's willing to share with everyone! (thanks Larry)

I'm pretty sure Larry and Susan have the luckiest  chickens in the state, he has enclosed the garden (instead of the other way around) so his girls can have the run of the place! It also makes it easy for him to turn his structure into a greenhouse or shade it in the summer.
love those beautiful cabbages!

                                                                  Garden # 5                                                                              
                         Kim and Rizal's Garden                                      

Kim and Rizal live in the area of Phoenix that has wonderful native desert landscaping. The landscape blends and flows naturally with its surroundings  This particular property does not have flood irrigation like most of the homes on the tour. This hasn't deterred Kim from using her water wisely and well. She plants her vegetables, fruit and citrus trees around the perimeter of her backyard, and has added raised beds built with beautiful Arizona flagstone. Oh, Kim met my husband, Hal at the local big box hardware store, probably in the garden department!

Fall weather has caused the grapevines to start turning dormant. Usually the lush vines cover this trellis and also shade the windows from the summer sun.

Garden # 6
 I heard about Caroline and David's garden the year that we both participated in the local Permaculture's Tour de Coop.When I heard talk of a Caroline's chicken coop, adorned with a french chandelier, I knew I had to meet this girl! 
Everywhere you turn, there is something beautiful to see and savor!
Really, there is a chandelier inside this coop!
Garden boxes, protected from the chickens. Fruit trees and espaliered apple trees surround the beds.
Garden #7

Word was spreading fast about this place, it is as special as the people that run it. We met Lylah and Michael at one of our first garden tours, and it just seemed natural to include them in the loop.

Simple Farm is an amazing, bustling suburban mini-farm in north Scottsdale. Lylah and Michael have a created an oasis in the midst of homes and desert and provide an abundance of organic produce and other good things at their little French Market.
A peaceful place.
I consider all of the tour gardeners part of my village. That is, people that you can trust, rely on, find mutual support and share in a connection in which to celebrate. This group is not exclusive however, we all want to extend our village to include the community around us. That's the thing about these friends, they are all ready to reach out and change the world by sharing a piece of their passion. I hope you'll join us next time!

                                                              Thank you my friends!

We linked up with The Prairie Homestead, here!


Lylah Ledner said...

So many wonderful farmers's as if I got to meet some of the new folk in our village through this fabulously kind post.....

thanks friend! you're a treasure....xoxo lylah

Nikki Green Caprara said...

What a beautiful post and so inspiring! Thank you for pioneering such a wonderful event and philosophy.