I’ve posted before about Todmorden, England, but I had no idea Quebec was doing so much with urban edibles! This is fantastic and really inspiring to see a city so committed to food security, beauty and empowering locals. Other cities could easily copy this model, and I hope they do!
Les Urbanculture uses the Big Bag Beds and Smart Pots I mentioned most recently in my June Blooms and CPL post when talking about a solution I found for planting under and near mature trees whose roots I want to protect. I have grown blueberries and chocolate mint in Smart Pots and the Junior Big Bag Bed, even though I have a huge yard here in Goshen. The juglone poisoned soil from black walnut, plus all the stumps had turned certain areas into no grow zones, so I decided to experiment with these larger fabric containers.
Much to my surprise, the two blueberry plants in Smart Pots are now five times as large as the ones I planted in the ground a year prior. They’re also loaded with blueberries, whereas the in ground ones from the same supplier have yet to produce any berries. Apparently, the Smart Pots are especially good for blueberries, since they encourage a much stronger root system with the air pruning. Blueberries require acidic soil and don’t like root competition. They’re kind of like the Goldilocks of fruit bushes — not too wet, not too dry … they need it just right to thrive.
A few people have asked me about these Smart Pots and Big Bag Beds, so I thought I’d post a link (no affiliation): http://bigbagbed.com/. You can find them in retail stores and on Amazon. Along with the Garden Tower Project, it’s yet another way to free up growing space in areas you wouldn’t normally be able to produce food. For our new place, the Garden Tower will grow strawberries and lettuce in an otherwise difficult to use area behind our shed. I bought ten 20-gallon portable Smart Pots for fruit trees and fruit bushes — a mini backyard orchard, as well as two Juniors and one Big Bag Bed for the front yard. Given the number of plants and trees I plan to add in a short time, I can already tell I’ll be ordering another 5-pack of the 20-gallon pots.
I had originally thought of these as last ditch solutions; however, my phenomenal success with the blueberries I so often forget to water has made me enthusiastic to use these in our new yard. They’ll allow me to grow while also doing the year or two “observation” phase of permaculture. If something needs to be moved, I can do so without disrupting the beauty already there. Just wanted to share for anyone else who might benefit sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, back at Faery Hof and Haus Am See, I’m so pleased to see the yards turning into a community garden. Between the family now living in the blue house (Haus Am See) and Linette, plus my own efforts, we’ve got so many things planted, and it’s so great to share gardening with someone! Watering becomes a catch up time and a chance to swap garden knowledge. Bumper crops will balance out between two households, although this yard could still provide farmers market produce if anyone wants to go that route. I already have a farmer selling the over-abundance of Egyptian Walking Onions, and he says they are very popular!
In any case, it feels good to see others enjoying the productive beauty and caring for what I so lovingly created here. Blessings abound!