Thursday, October 30, 2008

New news

This morning, I've got a couple of pieces of information that I'd like to share with y'all.

1. On Tuesday, we met at Megan's house to paint the sign. After having 15 people respond to the poll, we had a disappointing turnout (not that the people who did turn out weren't wonderful). I'd like to institute a policy of RSVPing on the comments in the blog to tell us if you'll be able to come. It's best if we know Tuesday morning if you'll show (I'll try to post and email earlier). Megan and Carly had made food, and food is best if eaten by many people when the effort is made.

2. Katy, who you may have noticed shows up with a large camera and audio equipment to meetings, has two weeks left of filming on the documentary she's making about the Garden Posse. Let's try to give her some good footage by doing stuff! Like planting!

3. You may have noticed next week's meeting is timed on Election Day. I have put up a timely poll on the website, to create the endorsement that may well decide the election: The Garden Posse of Austin, Texas endorsement. Vote on the poll and vote early!

4. In more Election Day news, Travis has offered to host the Garden Posse at his election party at his house. It may be outside, it may be inside, but either way, there will be drinks to enhance celebration or numb the defeat of your candidate. (And in the case of defeat, to kick off your 4-year binge.) And to keep in line with our goal of planting stuff, Megan had this idea: Buy a bunch of old shoes, fill them with dirt, and plant flowers in them. We would then, as individuals, place them around town. Good idea? You tell us. RSVP!

Guide to our gardens

A couple of weeks ago we spoke about creating Google maps for our gardens, and for our resources. I finally got around to doing it. (Lo and behold, it was incredibly easy and took about two seconds. Yay for user friendly.)

Let this map be your guide to Garden Posse gardens:

View Larger Map

If you choose to venture out and pick some of the bounty, please remember to leave some for others. And you'll make a guerrilla gardener very happy if you take a moment to water and weed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tonight! East Side! One more time!

The polls have spoken: By a nearly unanimous decision, we're returning to finish our business on the East Side triangle garden tonight.

Apologies to the one person who wanted to work on our awesome Halloween costumes: Let's save it for another night.

Tonight we'll meet at 7:30 pm at the traffic triangle. It's at the intersection of Lott & Eastfield & Mansell. Here's a google map. (Cool feature - if you click to Street View and turn around, you can see the triangle pre-garden.)

We'll paint our sign, finish the walkway, label the plants, and do some standard garden maintenance. And then, a celebratory dance if anyone feels up for it. And finally, we'll discuss next week's site. Whoo! New garden!

I'd like to draw your attention to East Austinite, a blog about happenings on the East Side, and the nice post they wrote about us. If any devoted East Austinites spot an empty lot, or field, or swatch of public land that could be transformed into a useful garden, please let us know.

See you tonight!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eastside Triangle Garden

I think we need to finish up the Eastside garden before we move to south Austin. I feel like our 34th street garden was for us so we felt ok leaving it when we did, but this garden is for that community. Honestly, I probably won't head over to it after we finish.

So, with that said, I think it is important that we leave those people a fininshed product, that ourselves are satisfied with. Then move on to South Austin. I will take some pictures of a couple bus stops and a couple other places.

But, for now, I think it would serve our mission better to make sure the Eastside garden is the best it can be for the people on that block.


Photos from Maker Faire

Maker Faire was a blast. Above, McAllen rocks out on the Cyclecide, fair rides powered by pedaling.

McAllen, Lindsay, and Carly.
Megan couldn't be happier. Really.

The Sashimi Tabernacle Choir! Coolest car ever.

There was also a food and garden tent, with a seed bomb making station! And lots and lots of crafts, and cool shiny things to get distracted by. Plus, ROBOT BATTLES. Yeah, Maker Faire was cool.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Next week's plans

Last time we spoke, as a Posse, we said we would take our hiatus to scout new sites, post pictures on the blog, and decide on our next garden.

Also the last time we spoke, we had some unfinished business at the East Side traffic triangle. It really rained on our plans that night. We still have to finish painting our sign for the garden, building the rock walkway, plus people had some good ideas about labeling the plants and providing suggestions about how to use them. I believe a few of us were of the opinion that the garden would have greater potential if the community knew more about it.

So we have a couple of choices for next week:
  • Move on to our next garden
  • Finish business on the East Side
  • Plan our costumes for Halloween
I will put a poll up on the side of the blog, and please discuss on this post. Or post pictures of potential sites if you have them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Miracle on 34th Street

Okay, so it's not quite a miracle. A vegetable garden, if all goes well, is expected to grow and prosper and give fruit. But you have to admit, it feels like a miracle. Baby tomatoes are growing before our very own eyes.

Is there anything more beautiful than a zucchini flower?

Yes, when that flower is attached to a healthy squash.

It's a cucumber, in its furry fetus stage.

Sprouts coming up where I planted the spinach and lettuce.

A bit of rain in the past week has done this garden a bunch of good.

The lantana, which I'd given up as a dud, has come out with blooms again.

And it looks like this cosmo, planted from seed, is finally about to burst. It reminds me of a baby with a scrunched up face, about to explode into tears. Except I think the cosmo will be a more pleasant experience.

Also, our pizza plant has finally fruited! I ran into the owner of Salvation Pizza while I was watering yesterday morning, and he said he would trade us a small pizza for basil. Mmmm.... I didn't make the trade yet, because I want to share, but I don't want to bring the Posse a week old pizza.

Sharing goes for the rest of the produce from our first guerrilla garden. Everyone, even those not in the Posse, are welcome to take anything from the garden. It's all public. Basil, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and eventually melon, beans, peas, spinach, and lettuce will be there.

Just keep in mind the guidelines we came up with last week: Take some, and leave some for others. Take care of the garden. It's yours!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trees n' drama on the East Side

Last night, the Garden Posse was all set: We had our tree, we had our tools, we had our plan. As we got organized, and I carried the Meyer Lemon tree to the garden, one of the neighbors drove up, threw the car door open, and yelled, "Yo, where's my tree?!" Another man in a truck stopped to say that every time he drove by the traffic triangle, he looked to see what was going on. He said he was excited about the tree, too.

Since last week, we saw a Miller Lite had grown next to the Wild Irish Rose. Something about all the broken glass must make the soil especially fertile for alcohol.

We didn't think the same soil would work for lemons, so here is Travis, adding mulch to the box.

Other Posse members were hooking the hose up to the spigot that a local business owner gave us permission to use, when they were rolled up on by the cops. This isn't a particularly good photo, but it is evidence: We had our first run-in with the police.

They thought we were stealing the water. When Megan informed them that we had gotten permission, they told her that if they received any complaints from the neighbors, they would have to charge "the manager" for criminal trespassing, even though this cop said he agreed with what we were doing and the idea behind it. Well, okay. With the response we've been receiving from the neighbors, it seems unlikely that someone would complain. Really, who hates public gardens? Show of hands?

Undeterred and unintimidated, we planted our tree.

We had started watering it with buckets of water when the heavens decided help out by opening up and raining buckets upon us. Thanks, heavens! We all (besides Jonathan) got drenched and ran to Megan's house. Then we had a pizza party. It recalled the humble origins of the guerrilla gardening project.

We also wrote down some garden guidelines for the sign, and discussed our next potential site. Travis is working on finding a spot in South Austin, and will post some pictures on the blog for consideration.

Next week we're on hiatus, and we'll resume on Tuesday, October 28. If you find yourself without activity on Tuesday, feel free to think about guerrilla gardening projects you'd like to do, or write on the blog about how you miss guerrilla gardening.

In the meantime, if you're interested in going to Maker Faire on Sunday, let's have a response/discussion thread in the post on Maker Faire below. Then I'll email info out. Please respond by Friday, because I don't check the internet on the weekends. Otherwise, you can call me. But just to entice you to come, here's a list of the awesome things you can learn to do at Maker Faire.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do you want to go to Maker Faire?

I'm psyched for guerrilla gardening tonight, but I'm also excited for Maker Faire on Sunday. Megan and I went last year and had a fabulous time and saw lots of cool things. It would be great if we could get a group from the Garden Posse together for an excursion. Because if you're into guerrilla gardening, you're at least a little DIY, and that's what Maker Faire is all about.

Maker Faire is at the Travis County Expo Center. It's pretty far east. If anyone is interested, we could carpool from a central location.

It's $20 for a day, if you pre-purchase tickets at Whole Foods or the Austin Children's Museum. Otherwise, it's $25 at the gate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do you want to watch this movie?

Here's a trailer for The Greenhorns, an ongoing documentary project about young urban farmers. It needs funding to be completed, but I can't wait to watch it.

This reminds me of someone I know!

Do you want a guerrilla garden?

Tomorrow is our last night at the garden on the East Side traffic triangle. I've moved the meeting time up to 7:30 pm because it is getting dark earlier, and we have a lot of projects to complete. The Garden Posse has shown me the true meaning of "Many hands make quick work" - it's not just a fun phrase on needlework pillows. Hopefully we will have a large posse tomorrow to share in the triumph of completing a wonderful and useful guerrilla garden.

A key part of that usefulness is our tree, the centerpiece of the garden. As I mentioned earlier, Ted's Trees offered to donate a tree. However, they don't carry fruit trees, and we feel that the edible aspect is central to our objective in planting the garden. So this weekend I purchased a Meyer Lemon tree. Sure, you can't bite in to a lemon, but you know what they say when life hands you lemons, or when a guerrilla gardening group plants a lemon tree right in your neighborhood. The tree was $40, and it would be much appreciated if you contributed just a few dollars. You know what they say: "Many pockets make cheap fruit trees."

Also, finishing one garden means another garden must begin! It is time to ask yourself, "Do I want a guerrilla garden in my neighborhood?"

If you think you have a good site, consider: Can I irrigate it? Meaning, can you commit to watering it every day, and do you have a nearby water source? (Local businesses have been kind to us in allowing us to use their spigots, and it's good to ask beforehand.) Other things to consider: the relative permanence of the site, other people's interest in the site, and how you are willing to take leadership on the project.

We'll discuss potential sites tomorrow.

Also, this just in: Community garden leaders are in the process of planning an Urban Farm Bike Tour on December 6th. Sounds cool.... would you be interested?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Last week and next week at the East Side garden

Hello everyone! Sorry it has taken me a while to post this update. I think we're all feeling the crunch, between the election debates, a deepening and worrisome global financial crisis, and work (aka putting food on the table for you and Joe Six Pack at your failing mortaged home on America's Main Street, etc).

But enough of that. We had a smaller turnout this past Tuesday, but we got a lot of work done and had a great time doing it. First, we took the plants that didn't make it through the past two weeks of drought, and replaced them with a variety of flower called, "Bat Face," and more veggies.

Here, Megan deep waters the doughnut garden. She admits deep watering is one of the great joys of her life.

We also readied the tree box. Robb deconstructed the bottom of the box. We'll be filling it up with manure to give the tree a nice cushion before it has to deal with the poor soil on the traffic triangle.

Then Megan got the idea to attach planks from the doughnut garden up to the box, and plant vining peas at the base. That way, our box will be covered in beautiful edible greenery! This is what it looks like:

Here is Robb hammering in the planks.

While we were planting the peas, we had a neighborhood visitor named James who gave us all nicknames, and was convinced to plant a single seed.

I'm optimistic that the neighborhood will eventually take ownership of this garden. At least one woman has done some watering, and we were happy to find that someone had made a border of rocks around the perimeter of the garden.

Next week is our last week at this garden, and we have a lot of work to do! Here are the projects that need completion.

  • Planting the tree in the box
  • Creating a welcoming walkway of rocks up through the garden
  • Painting a Garden Posse sign, informing the neighborhood that this garden is theirs!
  • Planning the next garden site and needs
We'll be meeting at 8 on Tuesday, as always. Bring your friends - we need extra hands!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LBJ Wildflower Center Native Plant Sell

One more thing for that us gardeners may enjoy. Oct. 18th and 19th is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Native Plant sell. Today in our staff meeting they said they would have almost 300 species of Native Texas plants for sell, and they are reasonably priced. I think there is an admission fee to go to the sale (which I find weird), but that is also your admission into the garden and hiking trails.

See for more info, prices, and a species list.

Take this info as you wish.


I am being a bad guerrilla gardener

So, I apologize for being truant three weeks in a row. I have no excuse except that my father came in town for a meeting and he took me out for Thia food, and the food and a six pack of Kirin took the night later than expected. I said I would be there yesterday, and for that I am sorry. I got some packets of native wildflower seeds, so I will make some seed bombs for everyone to make up for it. Also, if you guys can give me any chores to do before next week, please do. Again, I apologize for not showing up three weeks in a row. I am not blowing guerrilla gardening off, and do really enjoy it.

On another note. I get wildflower seeds at a discount at work, so let me know when we want to make a mass amount of seed bombs. I bought a $30 bag of 99% pure native wildflower mix that can cover 1,000 sq. ft. for $20 bucks. So, if we can not get donations, that would be an option for us all to chip in. I do not think the Wildflower Center can give any donations because the bureaucracy at UT is tremendous, and there would be no way around it.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tonight, our return to the East Side

It's been a slow news week on the blog. But don't try to tell me you'd rather read about guerrilla gardening rather than hearing the harbingers of our oncoming financial doom. Last week's social club included discussions on these various harbingers, as well as some tasty tacos. I think we all agreed that guerrilla gardening and tacos are the answer.

Anyhow, this week it is back to work. Tonight, Tuesday, we are meeting at 8 pm at Megan's house. (If you need directions, please email Your construction skills will be called upon this week, as we'll be building a bottomless box to hold our tree. In case you missed previous plans, we'll fill this with delicious soil, compost, and manure to spare the tree the trauma of trying to survive on a former gravel road.

We'll also be doing some replanting, as this rainless weather has taken its toll on our doughnut garden.

And where is the tree, you ask? First of all, thank you for asking. Second, the tree is on its way. Ted of Ted's Trees, the premier location for trees in Austin, has agreed to donate a tree. It will be ready for a new home in its bottomless box next week.

In other news, the garden at 34th & Guadelupe is continuing to grow and expand. I planted some leftover flowers from the East Side dig, and had enough to offer a plant giveaway on the curb. I also planted some lettuce and spinach seeds. You are all welcome to add your own contributions at any time!

see you tonight,