New urban gardens sprout amid coronavirus, aiming to feed N.J. cities

Trenton, a city of nearly 85,000 people, contains only one full-service supermarket. It is one New Jersey’s several food deserts, where access to groceries — let alone fresh produce — is scarce.

Now, as the coronavirus pandemic has provided some with more free time and plunged many more into poverty, local community groups and residents are getting their hands dirty to address the problem.

Urban gardens have experienced a boom in community interest and participation in recent months — more people are learning new skills, connecting with their neighbors and, importantly, helping to fill nutritional needs.

New urban gardens sprout amid coronavirus, aiming to feed N.J. cities

Trenton, a city of nearly 85,000 people, contains only one full-service supermarket. It is one New Jersey’s several food deserts, where access to groceries — let alone fresh produce — is scarce.

Now, as the coronavirus pandemic has provided some with more free time and plunged many more into poverty, local community groups and residents are getting their hands dirty to address the problem.

Urban gardens have experienced a boom in community interest and participation in recent months — more people are learning new skills, connecting with their neighbors and, importantly, helping to fill nutritional needs.

San Diegan is raising Monarch butterflies in her backyard

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — I designed my garden to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, specifically Monarchs.

A family in Eastlake is doing the same.

“I went out and bought Milkweed and they just showed up. They have radar for milkweed,” said Airam Marlett, who was inspired by an Instagram post and has had success from day one. “My first year, I had 30 Monarchs, and it’s been wonderful to watch.”

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/outreach/earth8/earth-8-san-diegan-is-raising-monarch-butterflies-in-her-backyard/509-d249de4b-64a0-4d7d-ba0e-60ef8f1dea24

GCU’s urban farms plant seeds to nourish neighbors

 

Nathan Cooper, Urban Farm Manager at Grand Canyon University Friday, June 5,, 2020 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Nathan Cooper was back on the southwest Minnesota plains, where farming engaged four generations of his family, and didn’t think he’d ever return to the Arizona desert, where he graduated with a business degree from Grand Canyon University in 2019.

But after GCU President Brian Mueller hatched the idea for a community garden to provide food for the neighborhood and asked Colangelo College of Business Dean Dr. Randy Gibb if he knew any farmers, Cooper soon was asked to return.

By September, he was leading the expanded idea of Canyon Urban Farms. Its centerpiece is a small plot north of Agave Apartments on campus. The farms’ manager already has harvested 40 pounds of squash that GCU donated to Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest on Thursday.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT: https://news.gcu.edu/2020/06/gcu-urban-farm-nourish-neighborhoodnager-plants-ideas-to-nourish-neighborhood/

In Baltimore County, interest in gardening keeps growing during COVID-19 crisis

Those into gardening and landscaping usually are pretty much on auto-pilot when spring and summer roll in, weeding, planting, watering, etc., but this year, with the coronavirus pandemic, their hobby may have taken on an even more important role. It’s a way to relieve stress while expressing creativity.

Even with many businesses locked down for months, gardening and nursery centers have remained open and thrived to meet those needs of customers and clients.

TDH Landscaping, an arm of TDH Design, has undertaken a number unique projects for clients during the course of the pandemic. Some involve creating stumperies, in which a decomposed tree stump is incorporated into a garden design.

In Pasadena, James Revere, with a big assist from his wife, Erika, decided to turn a furlough that hit one week into the pandemic shutdown into something positive, nurturing a garden. Erika began the process back in November with small indoor plants coaxed into sprouting by a heat lamp.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.baltimoresun.com/coronavirus/cng-co-gardening-pandemic-covid-19-20200615-cbbykdirovhkhfglin5b3creou-story.html

Tips For Becoming A Better Seed Saver

Saving your own heirloom garden seed year after year can be very rewarding! Here are just a few reasons why gardeners everywhere are saving their seeds

💰SAVE YOURSELF MONEY

🥗HAVE BETTER FLAVORED FOOD

❤PRESERVE GENETIC DIVERSITY

🐝SAVE THE BEES

💪BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT

👭SHARE WITH A NEIGHBOR/FRIEND

🌎CONNECT WITH YOUR GARDEN

 

Check out the 4 important TIPS below on how to get started saving your own garden seeds:


Seed Saving TIP #1:

When saving your seeds, make sure you are using open-pollinated varieties. These will produce true-to-type crops year after year!

Seed Saving TIP #2

Start with EASY TO HARVEST crops such as peas, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes! Each of these are annuals and self-pollinating. Plus, you will only need a few plants to reap a decent harvest of seed.

Seed Saving TIP #3

Curious as to when it’s time to harvest? For crops with wet fruits, you’ll need to leave a few fruits on the plant to fully mature in the garden. If your harvesting from dry fruited crops such as grainslettuce, or beans… they can be removed from the plant once the seeds are dry and hard.

Seed Saving TIP #4

Always store your garden seeds in a cool, dark, and dry place. This rule of thumb makes THESE seed vaults the PERFECT solution for long term seed storage. Place your properly dried seeds into the airtight container and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for several years!

Residents plant more gardens; retailers see revenues grow

Photo by: Kendra Caruso

BELFAST — Since Belfast resident Elsa Mead started her “victory garden” over two months ago, she said she has noticed more raised bed gardens in people’s yards. The coronavirus has given people more time for gardening and provided local garden and hardware centers a business boost.

Victory gardens are rooted in World Wars I and II, when people started growing their own food to supplement the nation’s limited food supply and to lift people’s spirits during a time of uncertainty and economic hardship.

“It’s something to look forward, to have something beautiful to look at, to be involved with growing food, be able to share our harvest. That’s why we call it a victory garden,” Mead said.

She said she is not traditionally a gardener, but when her daughter, Stephanie Mead, and her boyfriend, Erich Winzer, came for a visit right before a coronavirus outbreak around their New York City neighborhood, the two decided to wait out the pandemic in Maine and spend their time planting a garden with Mead.

Stephanie and Winzer have an urban garden on the rooftop of their apartment building, where they grow much of their own food, they said. The couple had been looking for properties in upstate New York to have a little farm and workshop for their work of building sets and props for theaters and TV shows like “Sesame Street,” Stephanie said.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://waldo.villagesoup.com/p/residents-plant-more-gardens-retailers-see-revenues-grow/1860748

Doorstep delights: why front gardens matter

Photograph: Pål Hansen/The Observer

Last month, with more time at home than usual, Charlotte Harris, one half of the landscape design duo Harris Bugg, decided to dig up her paved front garden in Newham, east London. “It was a discussion we’d been having for a while,” says Harris, who gardens with her girlfriend Catriona Knox. They’d already removed the paving from the back garden of their house, which is in a densely populated area of the city undergoing vast amounts of regeneration. “Around here every bit of green space feels precious,” she says. “Obviously there are parks, but I think each of us has to take responsibility for any space we have.”

As you’d expect in a city, the new front garden needs to work hard to accommodate bins, bikes and a composting hot bin, but Harris is determined to plant as much as possible in the rest of the space, including a small tree (on the shortlist are a Sichuan pepper tree, hawthorn or a Chinese fringe tree) underplanted with perennials and bulbs.

In an area where 50% of the front gardens have no plants, the ones that do provide moments of joy. Harris’s neighbors include a couple who boast “the most beautiful magnolia” in their shady spot, while on the opposite side another front garden has been turned over to an abundant veg patch complete with frames and climbing squash. “They were the inspiration, really,” adds Harris. “It’s a gift isn’t it? It’s the ultimate in gardening altruism, because your back garden is for you to enjoy, but your front garden is about improving everyone’s experience.”

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jun/07/doorstep-delights-why-front-gardens-matter

Community garden helps immigrants heal, and grow their future

Quinton Amundson, Canadian Catholic News

Growing fruit and vegetables at a 30-acre urban farm has provided Kamo Zandinen sustenance for her family and a window into her past.

Preparing the soil, planting seeds, adding water, and fertilizing transfers her mind and soul back to Sinjar, Iraq, to the days when she cultivated vegetables alongside her husband and seven children.

Two or three times a week during spring and summer, she gardens at the Land of Dreams, a long-gestating initiative launched 11 months ago by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society(CCIS).

“Since we have begun to plant on this land in Canada, I feel physically, mentally and emotionally better than before,” says Zandinen through translator Kheirya Khidir, a settlement counselor for the CCIS.

Profound devastation was inflicted upon Zandinen, her family and the Yazidi people of Sinjar starting on Aug. 3, 2014 when ISIL forces invaded the northern Iraq town in the Nineveh governorate — an area with a long history of being the homeland to Iraq’s minority populations.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://grandinmedia.ca/community-garden-helps-immigrants-heal-and-grow-their-future/

 

Protecting Our Pollinators

Hannah Ridings, Daily Sun

Take a look at the butterflies and bees in a garden, and the colorful flowers they feed on for nectar. They all serve a $24 billion purpose.

Pollinator species are responsible for one out of every three bites of food, pollinating 87 of the world’s 124 leading food crops, according to the United Nations.

Pollinators contribute about $24 billion to the U.S. economy, including $15 billion from bees alone, the White House estimated when it launched the Pollinator Partnership Action Plan in 2016.

Conscious of the roles pollinators play in the food we eat and the products we buy, Villagers are helping conserve the tiny species that have enormous environmental and agricultural footprints.

Many have transformed their home landscapes into habitats for butterflies, birds and non-aggressive bee species.

Ann Marie Acacio, a butterfly gardener from The Villages, said the reason she gardens for pollinators is simple: to help the planet.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://www.thevillagesdailysun.com/local_news/protecting-our-pollinators/article_7903d7ea-a980-11ea-85a2-479580936c10.html