I think that's a little unfair. The concrete appears old and was probably canopied by all the other foliage growing in from the sides and the one dirt spot that he now has cleared. In order to make use of the concreted area without tearing it all up, he would have to first clear the area and figure out how to implement some sort growing medium, whether it be in containers, deep raised beds, or whatever. Perhaps the "new garden" is the only area that wasn't blanketed in concrete. It appears to be an urban area with limited space. I can't tell whether any of the existing plants were edible, but at least he's trying to still grow food.
I see you point Mitsy, however what this person has created in order to grow food is a space that will literally act as an oven. It is an unfortunate space to be sure, but the foliage that used to exist helped to keep the asphalt on the ground and in the wall cool--at least cooler than what it is now. Now he has a small garden that is subject to heat and he's going to have to figure out what he's going to do to protect his crops. Had he cut down enough of the plants to allow enough light in for his crops, planting the crops among those plants, he'd have shade and mulch as he cuts them back further. Cutting the canopy plants growing at the edges, not even in his bed, is just crazy to me.
Depends where he is. If he's in Texas or Arizona, the shade issue is very valid. Here in the PNW... not so much. While everyone else was baking, we had "Junuary" and the weather has only just reached summer status in the last week. Even in a normal year, sun is at a premium.
Chris, I understand what you're saying as well, but you're making the assumption that this person is done with his renovation. Maybe he's brand new to gardening in general and is excited but doesn't really know where or how to start - his first thought is, "I need a blank slate!" Maybe the landlord is letting him use the space on the condition that he clean it up. Maybe he saved all that biomass out of frame and is struggling to figure out what to do with it. Who knows? I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I just think that coming down on someone for trying to make their space better (to them), especially when it comes to growing food, is counter-productive to relaying the message of permaculture in general. Everything is an experiment because everyone is dealing with different growing conditions - it is an ongoing learning process to figure out what works best in one's given situation. This young man will likely discover the heat issues you mentioned, and as a result, strive to learn more about gardening and maybe even permaculture approaches. Anyone that is actively trying to know their food more intimately, via permaculture or not, is doing something good in my book.
Mitsy, I like your position here! HA! I'm a newbie here. Assumptions are SO varied here. Personally, I was moved to comment when I read your position, because the FIRST thing I thought when I looked at the photo is the young gardener is SO fortunate to have this warm little recessed area on his hillside overlooking the chilly Pacific ocean! HA! No reason at all to assume he's in dire need of a snug, warm spot... Just the impression I got. SO, really, it is assuming MUCH to think we have a clue as to his circumstances. Either way, he put in hard work, and will reap some rewards from it. That makes me proud of his efforts. I live in a forest, have gardened for so many years I cant begin to tell you all the things I have seen and done, and every time I see a garden that is thriving, orderly OR chaotic (like mine) I feel peace wash over me. I try to always imagine gardeners as kind, patient souls, and I believe you are one of them! hehe.
Personally, I was moved to comment when I read your position, because the FIRST thing I thought when I looked at the photo is the young gardener is SO fortunate to have this warm little recessed area on his hillside overlooking the chilly Pacific ocean! HA!
Yeah, if that was the PNW, he might even be able to squeeze out a melon or two and some peppers. To be fair, I would have done it different too, but it's not my yard. Of course now I'm thinking a little south facing wall to capture the heat, maybe a tall, semi-circular hugel-bed, I wonder if I could grow watermelons. Ok, back on track, you know that guy isn't going to stop there. If he doesn't give up on gardening altogether, that sparse square eventually isn't going to be enough. Pretty soon he's going to be either pulling up bits of concrete or building raised beds, or stacking pots in the corners, maybe growing hops along the walls. It's like an addiction. He will end up on permies, wondering how to make it all fit and work together...
posted 8 years ago
I appreciate the guys effort, hope he gets some good food from it.