radicle beets

The Curious Garden by radiclebeets

Sometimes I feel like what we’re doing is a lot of work, and that we are alone in what we do, and that maybe it doesn’t matter all that much anyway, especially as the toxic legacy we have inherited becomes more and more apparent. Then, a really beautiful human and a dog named Frank ring my doorbell to give me a children’s book and I cry four happy tears… Because this is what we are doing, and this story is a gift, and we are that boy.


Goodbye Garlic by radiclebeets
So every single one of our garlic plants were taken from our Vernon beds at about 11:00pm Monday night. We planted them last October, and now we are mid-July. As easy as it would be to blame the folks who ripped and cut them out prematurely, it is really clear that this is a systemic symptom and that our counter response needs to be around community development rather than community blame. It ain’t easy to love the life that is the most raw and sore, but that is why we gotta fucking do it. Otherwise, who the hell else will. Otherwise, how the hell are things going to get better?
Our gardens are about taking what you need, and sometimes and right now that might mean different things for different people. Hopefully in the future taking what we need will also mean trusting there will be enough to leave for others.

So Much Dirt! Season Update by radiclebeets


Holy muck, so much to learn! The Guerrilla Gardeners are in our 5th season of gardening, and we’re growing! This year we wanted to focus more on education and finding mentors, so we’ve had folks come in and facilitate workshops, we’ve sent folks out to learn about mushrooms and tree pruning, and along the way we ran into a few life jams! So far, this year’s jam themes seem to be how to better interact with our funny industrial community. We’ve come across challenge after challenge with folks vandalizing our gardens, whether it be bored folks breaking things, broke folks stealing trees, big business folk tearing down living walls, squatters idling by to power their hockey games, or urbanized humans dumping in our wetlands. Hit after hit, we recognize our battle to reclaim and regenerate life in an industrial wasteland is massive and long-term. Each blow hits us deep in our spirits, but we recognize each new situation is a symptom of a system that is founded on alienation and dislocation that is free-market capitalism. If we want to change that system, we have to get to the root of it. Take a machete to the Himalayan Blackberry, and it will grow back fast with aggression. We gotta dig down to the root and pull it out before we can plant something new. There is no better place, no more of an obviously painful place than where we and our gardens are. If we can grow good food here, if we can heal land here, if we can restore ecosystems and life here, where all there seems to be is dead cement, if we can heal ourselves HERE, we are soaring.

unicorniaUnicornia: Permaculture Design in case of Zombie Apocalypse. Natural border of defense? Blackberry bushes.

Past Workshops/Classes: 
Intro to Bioremediation:
Leila Darwish came from Victoria to facilitate a 2-day seminar on grassroots bioremediation. Fun, and intensely soul-squeezing, we came to realize how important it is to take care of the land we live on, as the land is our home, food, and medicine. We recognize how civilized humans got real good at making toxic soup out of it all, so some of the folks who attended the workshop felt inspired to put our new knowledge to use. The witches of east van teamed up with us, and with Leila’s help, we concocted some awesome compost tea to spray around Strathcona for their annual May Day fertility march.

Mushroom Food Forest Workshop


Our collective decided it would be a good idea to send a few folks to Portland, Oregon to boost our mushroom knowledge.  Ja Schindler and Maria Farinacci of Fungi for the People did an amazing job teaching us hands-on a few different ways to grow a few different mushrooms. Four of us drove an old VW hippy van (where subsequently we also learned a bit about engine maintenance) across the border where we inoculated logs with Turkey Tail, Chicken of the Woods, Reishi, and Lion’s Mane. We made stacks, poles, buried logs, drilled, and prepared for a time where we may not have electricity by hand-sawing wedges out of logs and stuffing them with spawn. Ja and Maria were amazing, and even taught us a bit about mushroom identification. One of the things that stuck out most was Ja’s idea that we should learn to describe the smells of different mushroom species without using the word “mushroom”. Try it! It ain’t easy!


Radical Mycology 101:


Radical Mycology co-founder Peter McCoy came to visit us from Olympia, WA to share some of his knowledge. We learned the basics of fungi life including their ever-expanding gender spectrum, different ways of cultivation, how we can use them as allies to remediate toxic land, and also how we can learn from them to form stronger communities with each other. More about Radical Mycology: radicalmycology.wordpress.com/ Thanks Peter for helping us inoculate coffee grounds with Oyster Mushroom spawn! You are right, mushrooms are sexy!radicalmycosmiles

Garden Camp:


From April to mid-May, we invited youth between 8-12 to come hang out with us in our gardens. Here we guerrilla planted Sunflowers, dug up Dandelion Root for tea, picked Stinging Nettle with our bare hands, played with red wriggling worms, brewed compost tea to help heal the land, hung out with the honey bees, designed a permaculture home base in case of a zombie apocalypse, transplanted squash, pulled out horsetail, harvested a giant conk mushroom, painted signs so folks will stop stealing our trees; we ate together, sang together, danced together, and had a huge blast!! We are so grateful for the opportunity to hang out with such rad kids.


Workshops coming up!

gardencampbees Honeybee Series with Brian Campbell:

 Saturday May 11, 2pm: Queen-rearing basics

 Sunday May 12, 10am: Starting work in hives—stimulating queen cell production

 Thursday May 16, afternoon: Removing started queen cells

 Sunday May 26, morning: Introducing queen cells into mating nucs

Since these are hands-on workshops and we don’t want to out stress the bees, there is limited space available. Please email Hannah for more info: hmjcarpendale@hotmail.com

Projects on the Go!
Natural Building with Cob – email Jenni to be part of the design team! Actual building of the cob shed will be taking place in July. jentigchelaar@yahoo.ca
Mushroom Enhanced Greenhouse – We just scavenged about 50 windows to use for our greenhouse. We’ll be using mushrooms to boost plant growth as the shrooms release heat and CO2. Help us design and build it for August! Email Phanh at abcwhatever@yahoo.ca or Kelsey ki2freedom@gmail.com

Look out for upcoming events and workshops that include Quinoa Sprouting, Food Forest Mushroom Cultivation, Herbal Medicine Making, and Permaculture 101. If you want to come help out, our garden parties are Sundays 11am-4pm, and Thursdays from 2-5pm. Also feel free to come eat with us at our Monthly Potluck Meetings every first Tuesday of the month. Invite your friends!

Mush Love and Peas!!

The wind that shakes the rye – – – ~ by radiclebeets
May 10, 2012, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Food Forest | Tags: , , ,

Last night the Food Forest Design Pod had its first meeting.  15 awesome folks came to share ideas, perspectives, and do some applied armchair gardening – otherwise known as permaculture design!  We took a sunset stroll through the unusually windy Vancouver evening to see the rye grains bend beneath the breath of the night one last time, talking about the history of the land and how we’ve prepared it so far for its new role as a beautiful and bountiful forest garden.  Then we talked and played a card game to identify permaculture principles at work and explore how we could further apply these ideas to our design.


We’ve split into small design groups to design guilds (mutually beneficial plant communities) to take care of our new trees.  We’ll meet again on Wednesday, May 23rd from 8-1opm at the Thistle to present our research and take  the next steps.  Contact adamthuggins@gmail.com if you want to jump in, and take a look at the groups and photos below, why don’tcha?

Eddie, Kelsey, and Tiare – Apricot, Hazelnut

Shawn, Nick – Cherry

Beng – Tea Tree, Paper Birch

Phanh – Olive

Daniel – Pear

Matt – Apple

Adam – Asian Pear, Plum, Peach, Fig, Mulberry

Rye – our winter cover crop and spring biomass

the lay of the land

Apple blossoms on one of our young trees

our March tree planting

Eirlys and Adam demonstrate planting techniques

look how short the rye was in March!

The day we needed a disclaimer by radiclebeets
May 8, 2012, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Food Forest | Tags: , , , , ,

Our rye is on the run. It’s choking out the trees.

So it’s time to harvest.

It’s time to chop.

It’s time to scythe.

In lieu of the weed whakers failure, Adam went down to South Vancouver in search of a scythe. A scythe (pronounced syth–like saying “sight” with a lisp) is a traditional agricultural tool used to harvest grain. Seemed appropriate and right for the job.

All those on the email list must have gotten the same email I did yesterday night, the one titled “Anyone want to use how to use a sycthe” followed by “… then come to the food forest tomorrow for the Tuesday Workparty between 2 and 5pm and we’ll try not to kill ourselves.”

That’s when I decided to type out some legal forms. Too bad I don’t have a printer. Let’s hope every one comes back in one piece so that we can get some photos up.

Yes, we all have all our fingers, and we did take photos.


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