Plants, Gardening, etc


Continuing the discussion from Should the work stand on its own?:

I felt the conversation in the discussion of rape culture and art was starting to deviate, so I wanted to start a thread about plants and gardening. I’ve never planted a garden in my life and, living in the concrete jungle of South Philly, generally felt disconnected from the natural world. However, I recently bought a couple indoor plants and feel like this is something that has been missing from my life.

So let’s talk about plants and planting things!

Books! What are you currently reading or just finished?

I’m just going to post my wife Nadine’s instagram for now, as she has been doing an excellent job recording our horticultural efforts.


Living in Vancouver, which has insane real estate prices, means it’s probably not realistic I’ll ever own a home with a garden until I decide to leave for somewhere else. But we do have a membership to a community garden nearby which affords us a plot big enough to keep us busy. Mostly we grow greens since my partner and I both love kale and chard, and kale grows really well through the wet winters here.


First thing I did in our new home was build a raised bed (we have a tiny garden in Glasgow).

I quickly realised that
(a) need a humane way to stop local cats digging up seedlings and crapping in the bed.
(b) I don’t like Swiss chard no matter how nice it looks and how well it grows!

In the end I found that in our small bed (6’x2.5’) it would be best to plant things we like. So rhubarb, strawbs and beetroot all grow well and we love them!

Got our daughter a small planter so she has grown nasturtiums for salads and food decor! I get a lot of pleasure seeing her take care of her plants, and the deliberation over which seeds/bulbs she plants.

I have access to a propagator in my classroom at work, so I can sprout my seeds there. I like to try interesting types and have successfully germinated moso bamboo and saguaro cactus seeds (although neither fared to well when transferred to pots). I’d love to get the giant bamboo in the garden.


We started our first garden this year with a bed I made from old fence slats. Green peppers, habanero peppers, lemongrass, basil, cinnamon basil, and tomatoes. Some other stuff too that didn’t pan out or had to move. Problem is the tomatoes, habeneros, and green peppers took over almost immediately and we had to work to fight them back. Plus, neither my wife nor I eat tomatoes, peppers, or habeneros (I know, I know). Still, our friends and family seemed to enjoy them and my son loved playing in the dirt. Everyday he would run to greet me when I got home and drag me back to show me what he grew in the garden (what he picked off, usually prematurely :slight_smile: ).

We spent $0 on the bed itself but over $100 on dirt from Lowes including soil and several bags of Black Kow which I highly recommend. There may be better sources for this but we initially thought we only needed a few bags. 7 bags later and three trips to Lowes, we were finally done. Next year, I’ll just buy a load of dirt from a wholesaler and mix some manure in.

EDIT: I will add that we apparently composted our pumpkins last year which got mixed in with the soil this year. We had a 15’ random pumpkin vine growing out of this thing and into our yard which my wife transplanted elsewhere later. Was pretty wild and yielded 6 small pumpkins which my son loved.


Recent slideshare on birds and gardens… might be relevant for some!


One of my favorite permaculture vids:


Medieval Gardening.

Well, I’m about to embark on a game design project related to medieval life, and was talking with the Boss, who is into garden design, and this morning she dumped several links on me that I thought would be of interest to some of you (and if you have more, plz plz add!)

Penn State U Medieval Garden:

Blog about Medieval Gardens:

Research report on Medieval Gardening at U.Mass.

Thought some of you might find this stuff cool!


I worked on a ecological farm for two years, which had around 50 cows, a little cheese making building and horticulture. It is a really beautiful place with friendly people. By working there I reconnected with the earth and my own body, a connecting I had lost at the university only living in my head.

I later also worked on a smaller garden in the city where I live, I will post pictures of that place later.

Anyway, I love plants and gardening, cool thread!


Tabletop or computer game? I would be hearing more about this game when it is finished. I have a circle of friends that are very active tabletop gamers (though I prefer RPGs and don’t always enjoy the worker placement/economic simulation type games that they get really into).


I’ve thought about this from time to time, it would be nice to regain a connection to the earth that is often missing from my plugged-in city life. In the ideal society in my head we would focus less on specialization and all spend more time connected to food systems.


There’s a nice bit in this film where Curtis Roads likens gardening to music composition:

Just a curious aside : )


We’re doing a mix of things. It is a research project on history and change in life in a specific area. Not really around the core mechanics of a game, more using the game engine to enable visualization of history.

I’m a RPG player (mostly tabletop but some computer games) myself.

I’ll keep people posted on the game design stuff. There are parts of the project that are sound-centric and I’m looking forward to integrating work and hobbies.


A landscaper here!!

I believe my time outside is the balance that allows me to get on the computer in the evening and work on music and feel great.


Yes I agree! Not only connected to food systems, but to all kind of other practical work which only specialists can do nowadays, such as building and repairing our own houses. (This overlaps with the off-the-grid thread I think)


Today I was reading this:

Great book so far btw! (A book of silence from Sara Maitland)


I recently moved in to a new place in San Francisco, which has a large deck with lots of sunlight ($$$, but worth the upgrade from my old dark basement apartment).

I setup a bunch of planters, where I planted strawberry plants I was given. I also got a bunch of seeds, but I don’t know if the weather right now will lend itself to any growing… I tried anyway for the sake of experimentation, and planted seeds that would be good to plant in January/February (peas, lettuce, radishes). I don’t know what I expect, but that’s how one learns… I’m certainly excited for spring, when I’ll be able to grow tomatoes, onions, etc. I don’t expect to never have to go to the supermarket again, but it sure would be nice to learn the ropes of how to grow my food myself.

I picked up 2 books that I hear are references - “The Market Gardener” (Fortier), and “The New Organic Grower” (Coleman). They’re more aimed for people who want to grow more or less full time (the subtitle of “The Market Gardener”, “A successful grower’s handbook for small scale organic farming”, speaks to that), but it’s really good to have this perspective.


Those are really excellent books, good choice! I just want to offer that if anybody on lines is interested in visiting us at Birdsong Orchards in Watsonville, CA, we’d be thrilled to talk through our organic process. Just reach out to me privately and we’ll make it happen.

We are growing 175 varieties (and counting!) of fruit, and several varieties of perennial cut flowers. We’re still a young farm, without much sales experience, but several years of growing experience under our belt. We hope for sales to finally ramp up in a big way next year.


Wow that’s awesome! If there wasn’t a big ocean between us I would’ve loved to visit…
I hope the sales are working out for you!