Growing up the wall in Jerusalem

Cool idea isn’t it? Tomatoes growing up the wall. Veggies growing in pyramids.

This high-school in Hod-Ha’Sharon makes research on agriculture which can be done by people in their apartments, balconies, walls or roofs.
They also study how to re-use and recycle water.

They test whether tomatoes can grow in bags on the wall or whether it is possible to cultivate plants in triangle-shaped pyramids, made from soil in plastic foils.
This method advantage is that the ground area can multiply in 3 times the number of plants growing comparing to conventional flat bed.

Given that most people in the world live in dense urban environments this is the way to go. How can we feed a growing world population? My guess is that the first thing is to learn how to “produce” soil and then find a whole lot of creative new ways of using it so we can grow on whatever spaces we have available.

Here we’re testing the idea of producing soil and growing in bread crates. It’s looking promising at this stage! 10 bread crates stacked on a wooden pallet (2 stacks of five shallow crates). Make soil in the lower crates (Bokashi and potting mix) and grow herbs and salad in the top ones. You maybe don’t grow so incredibly much food but it’s looking like a small family could take care of all their own food waste on a space no bigger than a pallet. On asphalt or a sunny corner at the back of an apartment building.

Love to hear your ideas! There are probably many crazy ideas worth testing — who knows, some of them may be what our children’s children end up using to grow their own food. It would be nice to think we’ve helped make it happen.

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Herrings make the best soil!

Last August a friend of mine gave me a bucket of Bokashi for my garden. And ran off. Fast.

Nothing strange about the bucket thing, she drops off her buckets all the time as her garden is much smaller than mine. So I didn’t get it. Until later.

When I read the post-it note on the lid. “Innehåller surströmming”. Contains rotten herring.

Nice.

Surströmming is a Swedish specialty. One I’ve managed to avoid very successfully until now. It’s herring, basically. Preserved in a kind of fermentation process. And it stinks to high heaven. God knows how anyone could eat it.

But her husband comes from that part of the country so they’d been doing the herring thing and obviously had rather a lot left over. So I just sort of looked at the bucket for the next week before I dared to open it.

And?

Didn’t smell. Just your average Bokashi bucket.

So I dragged the bucket along with me to a couple of harvest fairs we were at in September, a couple of workshops and diverse other sessions. Had a lot of fun watching people getting up the courage to open the lid.

The thing is Bokashi does the job every time. The stuff in your bin really won’t smell if you keep it as dry as possible.

The more interesting thing is what happened next, when I dug it down, finally, in the late autumn. That particular spot now has the best soil in the whole garden. Never seen such fat happy worms. It’s almost a bit perverse.

But now they have fat and happy leeks to compete with. A good outcome all round.

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Bokashi gardening in Edmonton

The good news is it’s thawed in Edmonton! As it has here (even if we got some snow this week!) The apple blossoms are just about to spring and life is good. Again.

Remember the Bokashi project that Mike in Edmonton is running? Here’s an update from one of the test group. Thumbs up it seems.

This little guy is doing great, he’s clearly in charge of sprinkling on the bokashi bran each day into the bucket. Anyhow, if you’re curious, have a read and see how the project is progressing.

Another lovely Canadian with a mission is Desi in Edmonton. Here’s her latest bokashi post (she’s done a few good ones on the subject). Now we’re just waiting to hear the latest from Edmonton now that life has once again turned green there as it has there. So Desi, how’s things in your bokashi garden?!

And Mike, the guy behind it all and rather an interesting blog. Here’s his latest update with follow-up from one of the other members of the test squad, Cara. This is a really nice way of cranking up awareness, no preconceived ideas, no flogging of stuff, no heavy scientific stuff, just some nice friendly kitchen floor experiments. I like it!