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Featuring Green with Jason Packer

On what was prob­a­bly the worst rainy, cold, windy day this fall, Jason Pack­er, sus­tain­abil­i­ty con­sul­tant with Rec­ol­lec­tive brave­ly took an eager group of peo­ple on a tour through the Olympic Vil­lage to point out the green fea­tures of the devel­op­ment. Many of these fea­tures are inno­v­a­tive but large­ly invis­i­ble unless some­one such as Jason points them out. 


Seeds From Grow

The Grow Seed Exchange brought about some seed shar­ing at the Creek­side Com­muntiy Cen­tre. If you hap­pen to be the hap­py recip­i­ent of one of the Grow seed pack­ages but don’t know a lot about plant­i­ng and grow­ing the seeds look for details below.


Potatoes and Tomatoes

It’s har­vest time at the Bulk­head Lab. While many peo­ple have been help­ing them­selves to the boun­ty there’s still ample amounts of pro­duce to col­lect. This past Sat­ur­day Nigel and I dug around in the cof­fee sacks and were very sur­prised.


Swarming

The evening of the Swarm 12 event was pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar. The weath­er was beau­ti­ful and the sun­set on the water incred­i­ble.

Alexan­der McNaughton local urban farmer, wild for­ager and cat about town pre­pared and served some fresh sam­ples of organ­ic food from the local food­shed.


The Bug Lady

Maria Keat­ing, an ento­mol­o­gist with City Farmer came by for lunch on Fri­day. She brought a bas­ket of car­niv­o­rous plants and her exten­sive knowl­edge about plant/insect/human rela­tions.


Mason Bees at the Bulkhead

Mason Bees are a native pol­li­na­tor to BC. Unlike hon­ey bees they are soli­tary so they don’t live in hives and pro­duce hon­ey. To nest they seek out holes in wood where they can lay their eggs. Typ­i­cally a Mason Bee would find holes pro­duced by wood­peck­ers, but this form of habi­tat can be cre­ated to attract Mason Bees to cer­tain areas for increased pol­li­na­tion.


Green Graffiti with EYA

Kristi­na Parusel from the Envi­ron­men­tal Youth Alliance met with me on Fri­day to help build a small-scale liv­ing wall at the Bulk­head. The liv­ing walls are part of the EYA Green Graf­fiti pro­gram which takes urban agri­cul­ture ver­ti­cal. Using an alu­minum unit that con­tains 24, 6″ x 6″ cubes, fruit, veg­eta­bles and herbs can be grown. I was sur­prised when Kristi­na told me that they’ve suc­cess­fully grown toma­toes, beets and cab­bages in these small 6″ x 6″ cubes.


Canopy/Water Collection

Over the past cou­ple of weeks Kim Coop­er and I have been cre­at­ing a canopy that can also func­tion to col­lect rain water. We ini­tially met and looked over the site to see how we could take advan­tage of the nat­ural slope and the dif­fer­ent posts and poles already present.

We sketched out some ideas on how to use some of the remain­ing vinyl mate­r­ial from Eric Deis’s pho­to mur­al “Last Chance” to cap­ture and fun­nel the water.


The Vancooper Hen House at the Lab

Dun­can Mar­tin from Back­yard Boun­ty joined us on July 24th to give an infor­mal work­shop on rais­ing hens in your back­yard. He makes these tidy coops out of cedar and wire mesh. They are made to the para­me­ters set out by City of Van­cou­ver bylaws.

The “Van­cooper” was installed at the Lab on the Fri­day before the work­shop.


Kale Chips

O.k, so I prob­a­bly plant­ed way too much kale. I was excit­ed about grow­ing it and had no idea just how pro­lific it would be. I was try­ing to get cre­ative about ways to cook and share the kale and I hit upon kale chips. If you haven’t tried them before, I high­ly rec­om­mend this tasty and healthy snack.


Green Wall/Bird Feeder

Elisa Yon dis­cov­ered an inter­est­ing project by a Mona Hatoum called The Hang­ing Gar­den. For this project Hatoum filled 770 jute sacks with seeds to cre­ate a 10 metre wall. These sacks sprout­ed trans­form­ing this impos­ing bar­ri­cade.


Bombs Away

We spent this week­end cre­at­ing some seed bombs. If you haven’t made your own bombs before. It’s quite sim­ple, you can use this recipe pro­vided by Andrea Bel­lamy on her blog Heavy Petal or check out this video by UK gueril­la gar­dener, Richard Reynolds. The basic ingre­di­ents are clay, seeds and com­post.


Nets

Meaghen Buck­ley cre­ated a series of nets along the rust­ed steel ele­ments on the edge of the Lab. She cro­cheted both nat­ural and syn­thetic fibres into large asym­met­ri­cal shapes cre­at­ing dif­fer­ent ten­sion points in the net which allows for the wind to move freely in and through.


Homes for Bees

Chelsea Trous­dell, one of our reg­u­lar vol­un­teers at the Lab brought some untreat­ed fir to make homes for mason bees. If you aren’t famil­iar with mason bees, they are a dark metal­lic blue/green colour and resem­ble black flies. They are soli­tary insects that nest near each oth­er but do not share a nest or hive. Females seek out holes in wood to use as a nest. Once the eggs are laid they will plug up the holes using mud, hence the name mason bee. These active pol­li­na­tors are great for veg­etable gar­dens and they are non-aggressive.


Stuffed Pallet

Today, we put togeth­er a ver­ti­cal pal­let to grow straw­ber­ries.  We lined the inside of the pal­let with a weed block fab­ric and sealed it with addi­tion­al boards from anoth­er pal­let.


Planting

After a trip to the nurs­ery, we spent the day plant­i­ng. When we got on site, we dis­cov­ered that our friend from the Vil­lage had giv­en us a head start and plant­ed some seeds…radishes, let­tuce, chard and car­rots.


Roots and Herbs

Today we added the palette plat­forms for the pota­toes. We lined cof­fee sacks donat­ed by Ori­gins Cof­fee Com­pa­ny with land­scape fab­ric to help hold in mois­ture and block out light. We hope this method will allow is to get a good har­vest of pota­toes. We have five sacs pre­pared for plant­i­ng.


Tomatoes Passed On

At the end of the day, after we fin­ished fill­ing the super sacs with soil, a neigh­bour from the senior’s com­plex in the Vil­lage came by to ask if we would like some toma­toes.  She went home and col­lect­ed a hand­ful of seedlings and gave us a quick demon­stra­tion on trans­plant­i­ng.  We didn’t have access to water set up just yet so we end­ed up fill­ing a con­tain­er at a near­by water foun­tain. We man­aged to get them wet enough for over night.


Bit by Bit

After get­ting the walk­way and demo stage put togeth­er. We moved on to build­ing the pal­let plat­forms to sup­port the super sacs. We filled each sac with about 2 feet of soil. The rim of the sacs will pro­vide some pro­tec­tion from the ele­ments.


Yardworks Donates 8 Cubic Yards of Soil

We are very grate­ful to Yard­works for their dona­tion of soil to the Grow project. It’s an excel­lent blend that will pro­vide good nutri­tion for our plants.


Gargantuan Rosemary Finds Home

Lam­oureux Archi­tect is in the process of remod­el­ing their offices and Brad Lam­oureux and Anne Maison­neuve kind­ly offered their rose­mary plant to the Grow project. It was a long jour­ney for this large rose­mary.


Cleaning around the edges and under the mound

It was a rare sun­ny after­noon for our site clean-up. We approached the clean up with a light touch in some places and in others…it took a lot of cut­ting, pulling and thrash­ing.


The Bulkhead Lab is taking shape

Today, thanks to a kind dona­tion from Yard­works we received 8 cubic yards for rain­for­est mix soil.


The fence is complete..for now

The third Grow work­shop took place last Sat­ur­day. We man­aged to plant and hang the last of the pock­et gar­dens on the chain link fence. Many of them are sprout­ing and fill­ing out.