Last updated on May 15, 2020

Started: During the COVID-19 epidemic my workplace was closed down and then we were furloughed. It’s in this moment, with time effectively depopulated from its labor-master, that I decided to start a small vegetable garden in my back patio.

Why did I start a garden: To detach myself step by step from the grocery-industrial complex. To open up avenues of action: I can grow more and more vegetables, where I want, giving food to whoever needs it, no cost. It’s a pathway to mutual aid. It’s a pathway to developing a healthy connection with the ecosystem.

I can grow whatever I want, as much as I want, eating whatever I want, whenever I want, giving food to anyone.

Starting materials and approach: Keeping it simple was the first key. Ten 3 gallon black plastic pots with drainage holes in the bottom. Some pot soil. A collection of seeds: carrots, parsley, cilantro, squash, tomatoes, kale, potatoes, and radishes.

Luckily my apartment is on the edge of the street, so two windows receive enough sun light to get some seeds started. I started off with radishes, parsley, cilantro, and a potato. Planted way too much radishes. Thinning them by either moving some to other pots or throwing away the less healthy ones was an ongoing process. The parsley seed packet said to “soak” the seeds for 24 hours to assist the germination process. I put half in a small cup of water, and the other half in a wet paper towel. (It’s weird how doing something that was prescribed feels dumb. Wasn’t super confident about that part of the process.)

Update April, 26 2020: one of my roommate’s grabbed several wooden pallets and turned them into one of two shelves for the pots. That way, we can access more sun during the day, also more space.

wooden structure made out of wood pallets with the outside plants
wooden structure made out of wood pallets with the outside plants

My other roommate’s cat, Simone, has begun to find interest in the patio space. He can’t escape from it, so it’s a nice little space for him to get used to the outdoor noises and smells.

Simone the cat, a yellow tabby, in the doorway to the patio garden
Simone the cat in the doorway to the patio garden

May 6, 2020 – The last frost of the season has passed. I’ll be planning to plant more vegetables in the coming week. My tomato plant is growing nicely, if I do say so myself. I’ll be moving that outside soon. I’ll be developing the two dirt boxes on the sidewalk, on the side of my apartment complex, soon. Plan is to rake up all the weeds and crud, till it a little, mix in some top soil and hopefully compost tea, then plant seeds. Should probably install a little sign telling passerby’s about the vegetable bed, please don’t let your dog pee there, and food is up for grabs.

A secondary garden project of mine is to clear out several sidewalk plots of dirt around my apartment building and turn them into vegetable/flower beds.

First stage is to clear several beds of weeds, and till the ground. Next, create a wooden barrier to raise the level of the beds. Then, add topsoil and added nutrients. Finally, transplant and/or plant a variety of vegetables and flowers there. I’ll need to make a sign so people don’t let their dogs violate the space.

May 15, 20202 – The wooden bed has been installed. “Found” a pallet, took it apart, and fashioned it into a rectangle barrier. I’m gonna put a second one – once I “find” another pallet – on the other side of the tree. Figured two beds would work better than one massive bed all around the plot. I dug up some of the dirt, moving it toward the edges of the bed, both inside and outside, making it sturdy and making more room for soil inside.

a sidewalk dirt plot with a wooden rectangle bed
a sidewalk plot with a wooden bed

Got new kale, radish, and cilantro seeds started. Including an onion: cut off the end of an onion (the side with the dried roots), soaked it in water for a few days until the roots started growing. Now it’s in a grow pod with dirt, and beginning to sprout.

One of my roommates is growing some flowers, and my other roommate built a bench for our patio, out of pallets.

a bench made out of pallets. Two bags of weeds are underneath it. Both against a brick wall.
A pallet bench on our patio.