Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spring 2011 Garden

The garden is more or less complete for the season. I've expanded about 80% more than my previous year's surface area, now occupying more than half of the walkable area of the top level of the fire escape.

In here I have some Basil, Rosemary, Peas, a Pepper, a bunch of Fennel, Chamomile, 2 Easter Lilies, some cosmos and some duck foot ivy.

From left to right: in back in pots: Broccoli, Peppers, Chocolate Mint, random indoor plant, Sage; in middle planters: random stuff and String Beans, 4 each of Red and Green Bell, Cayenne and Jalapeno Peppers (that I got from Dad in Philly) , a Tomato Pot; Rain Catchment Bins; Compost...

To note is a funny "weed" I kept pulling out. It was obviously something that made it into my compost with a lot of seeds that eventually found themselves in pretty much everything I had planted for the past couple weeks. But I couldn't figure out what the darn thing was...

Yesterday morning I figured out what they were, as I was walking around a farmer's market in Madison, WI.

The plant caught my eye and I knew at once what had settled all over my garden. My roommate Dave had definitely put scrap zucchini in the compost bag, which had a whole bunch of seeds that would end up in the big compost bin and eventually get mixed in with soil to use. I'm going to get some of it growing in a pot or two and see if I can get some fruit out of it.

Biking Madison

Madison, WI was the setting for CNU19, the annual conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a non profit sustainable urban planning organization. The bicycle culture there was appropriately refreshing, to say the least. There were bikes everywhere, all over. Maybe it was the 1500 visitors they had that week, who knows.

Their new bike share program proved effective. See the lockup station that was found in several key locations throughout the city.

It was free if used for just a half hour, and $10 if taken for more thann that up to a whole day. Besides the fact that it looked like a clunky cruiser with a heavy metal basket welded to the front, they seemed to be well received and frequently used. Again, maybe it was just the conference.

Most surprising to me in Madison was the lack of bike security (which is obviously a huge concern of me in my current city). Bikes were locked up all over (or not) with nothing but cable locks. I saw maybe 3 chains the entire 4 days I was there. I went to rent a bike for the week and they weren't even going to give me a lock until I asked for one. A person I was with asked what happens if the bikes get stolen, to which the shop attendant responded in a confused and slow manner, for which he had no real response. "It's never happened so I don't really know."

There were also these other red bikes that were rented, these for free with a deposit. Although these were old bikes spray painted red. The entire bike, over cables and gears and brakes and everything. Really.