I guess my interest in gardening started when I was a kid growing up in Minnesota.
One of my chores was to tend the rhubarb patch and pick it when it was ready to be made into rhubarb sauce by my mother. I now grow my own in my home garden and can hardly wait for the first crop to come up in the spring. We also had a crab apple tree in the yard and I was the designated climber and picker for the apples when it was time to make the apple butter. These memories and others helped me see the importance and pleasure of growing and harvesting your own fruit and vegetables in a home garden.
25 year home gardener
My wife and I have been successfully organic gardening for 25 years in Redwood City.
Our focus is to harvest and enjoy fruits and/or vegetables every month of the year right from our front, side and back yards. It can be done! We have a typical size lot for the neighborhood and from that we have yielded 40 – 60 artichokes, hundreds of apricots, apples and plums and many, many pounds of tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc. every year. Not to mention all the herbs like oregano, thyme, tarragon, mint, rosemary and bay leaves
When we first put in our in-ground vegetable garden in the front yard many years ago we were a little concerned about what the neighbors might say about a front yard other than grass. To play it safe, we started with a small patch up by the house. Since then that small patch has expanded to fill most of the front yard, about 20 by 30 feet. We now get many neighbors walking by to ask about the garden and inquiry about what we will be harvesting next. In the back yard, we have our mini-orchard with fruit trees and fruiting bushes including blueberries and currants. The small side yard handles the lemon, orange and pineapple guava trees. Overall we have 18 fruiting trees in the yard.
Urban Forestry with CityTrees
I have been the board chair, board member and volunteer with a local urban forestry non-profit called CityTrees for 12 years. The group has planted over 2,700 trees along the street scape of Redwood City and helps to maintain and prune those trees. We usually have 5-6 plantings and pruning projects each year. The group hosts an annual Pruning Workshop and conducts seasonal tree walks to inform residences of the wonderful diversity of trees in our neighborhoods. CityTrees has worked with thousands of volunteers over the years and partners closely with the Public Works Department of Redwood City. During its 13 year existence, CityTrees has been responsible for planting nearly 90% of the new street trees in Redwood City.
Recently, I joined a local chapter of an international movement called Incredible Edible
The group is focused on planting edible gardens of fruit trees and vegetables in public spaces and unused plots and then allowing the public to help themselves. Their goal is to help make fresh, local and seasonal produce much more accessible to the whole community. The local chapter is working with the Parks and Recreation Department in Redwood City to plant 9 fruit trees in Red Morton Park in January 2014.
Another project I have undertaken recently is to become a Community Champion for Farmigo.
Farmigo is an online, community farmers market which provides fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce, diary and eggs delivered right into your neighborhood. The local Redwood City ‘market’ (which is currently at my house) has deliveries to its 30+ customers every Tuesday afternoon.
Taft School Garden and Veterans Memorial Senior Center Garden
Two edible gardens I volunteer at are the Taft School Garden in the Friendly Acres neighborhood and the Seniors Center garden at the Redwood City Veterans Memorial Center. The Taft garden provides an opportunity for me to help support youth getting excited about and involved in producing their own food. It’s amazing how much they like to eat tomatoes when they were the ones who planted and maintained the garden! The Senior garden helps provide fresh, locally grown produce for the seniors lunch program at the Vets Center.