Friday, September 30, 2011

The Daily Record

Ever since we broke ground on the Boone Street Garden in March, I've been keeping a journal of our plans, things we've learned, money we've earned, what we've harvested, and so on.

Monday the 26th got to have an exciting entry in addition to a small harvest of one pumpkin, five and a half pounds of cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, and sorghum:

There was an article about Boone Street in the Daily Record! Check it out:

"More urban farms popping up in Baltimore."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All This Rain

Gardening in the rain.

Some areas are a little bit flooded, but yesterday afternoon the plants didn't look completely awful. Of course, it then proceeded to downpour again last night and might rain again rained again. A lot.

The plants in the photo above here are kale (with the ruffly leaves) and peanuts (with the bright green oval leaves.) The peanuts are growing underground and are in the end stages of forming so I'm hoping they don't rot!

We've just got to wait and see how things turn out.

Good thing I had some trash bags and grocery bags in my car for some rain gear!

We didn't stay out long, just enough to lay down cardboard to make new walkways between the rows and kill back the grass in an area where we are building a new row.

Hope the plants don't get too moldy and the new seeds don't get flooded out. We'll probably have to add more compost and re-seed all the kale, carrots, and beets we put in.

Pull through this torrential downpour, baby watermelon!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Boone Street Garden Logo!

Special thanks to my friend Nick Biddle for whipping out a logo image for us!

I've been watching The Wire recently and just saw the episode in the first season when (spoiler alert!) Kima gets shot in a drug bust gone bad. Part of the confusion came from the fact that the street signs had been turned on their axis to confuse cops that weren't from the neighborhood. I really liked the image of the street sign as a symbol. So when I started thinking about labels for the Boone Street Garden, the image of the street sign reappeared in my mind.

Welcome to Barter Town, Nick!

p.s. Nick is also the mastermind behind the awesome DIY Fest website. Visit now to check out all the exciting workshops! I can't wait.

Help with Labels Needed. Will Barter.

So we'll have a ton of pickles at HampdenFest this Saturday. Now all those jars need a label!

Searching for anyone interested in bartering goods for help with design.

I have these 2" round labels and a general idea for the design, although advice is always appreciated.

I'm thinking of converting this street sign photo to a simple black-and-white image. One of the signs should say "Boone St" and I'm thinking the other sign could be a leaf?

I know it's last minute, but I thought I'd throw it out there. Options available for the barter are: all of the pickles mentioned in the link above, homegrown herbal tea, bundles of duck feathers or aromatic basil flowers for decoration or crafts, bunny snuggles, heirloom chicken eggs, compost worms, or other options can be discussed.

Email me at for more information. Thank you!

HampdenFest 2011

HampdenFest is this Saturday, September 10th!

Come on out if you don't want to miss the Toilet Race Competition, the Mac and Cheese Competition, and of course all the usual local music and festival fun.

Boone Street will be hanging out on the porch of my former residence at the corner of 36th street and Elm Ave. We will just happen to have our produce and home-made canned goods available for suggested donations! So come on out to support your local urban farm. All funds will go to future seeds, tools, and other garden necessities.

Here's a general list of what we have available:

- Fresh greens
- Seed-strewn cucumber pickles
- Pickled okra
- Pickled peppers
- Zucchini kimchee
- Sweet and spicy zucchini relish
- Dill and celery seed half-sour pickles (fermented!)
- and more!

All the pickles will be perfect on burgers, quesadillas, or as a side dish snack with beer for any end-of-summer barbeques. I'll definitely be saving myself a stash!

We may even have homemade pasta, depending on how crazy Cheryl and I want to get.

An update of our market at HampdenFest 2011 is posted here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to Market in Baltimore

We're harvesting every two to three days right now, picking about four to six pounds of produce each time.

This photo is from last night, right before we had our first neighborhood door-to-door market.

We sold cucumbers, a zucchini, a bag of okra, tomatoes, a few banana peppers, and have an order for $10 worth of greens on Sunday.

We made $13 in about an hour, which isn't too bad! It's not as fabulous as our two-day vegetarian Banh Mi blockbuster at Artscape, but a lot better than the market we spend all day cooking for and broke even at. 

The door-to-door market seems to be a helpful model so far.

Previously we tried setting up a single table at a busy intersection, but that still felt like we were too isolated. No one knew we were there, or wanted to go out of their way to walk up the block for a cucumber. So we decided to bring the market to our neighbors!

The first step was printing out a flyer with a list of our available produce, prices, and our contact information:

My graphic design skills are minimal, so I try to keep it simple! We plan on modifying the flyer to include information about how to volunteer in exchange for produce, and to keep neighbors around the garden up to date on any news we might have.

Since the neighborhood around Boone Street has a really high number of vacancies, we didn't exactly go door-to-door. It would be a waste of time to knock on so many vacant doors, and there might be some folks in the neighborhood who don't want us knocking. So we had to come up with a more strategic way of going around the neighborhood.

Luckily, Baltimore City has a great culture of porch-sitting!

Thanks to for the photo!
Rather than knock on each door, we first visited the homes of our community gardeners. On the way we talked to anyone outside, showed them our produce display, and handed out flyers. Many people said they had seen us working in the garden (which we do about five days a week) or visited the August block party.

Working at the Boone Street Garden has been a great experience in learning how to spread information old-school style, without Facebook pages or email listserves.

Frequent visibility, block parties, getting to know community gardeners and neighborhood kids, and attending monthly community meetings has been a great way to really get to know the neighborhood!

I'm definitely curious to learn more from those of you who have experience spreading community information, and what you've found works and doesn't.

We should have at least another two months of harvest: pumpkins, tomatoes, greens, radishes, beets, peanuts, sorghum, cilantro, cabbage, endive, lettuce, and cauliflower are all crops that produce in fall.

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