This past Saturday I took a walk down to the Charles Cobb Apartments @ 521 S San Pedro St. (http://www.skidrow.org/index.html). I was invited by Jayne Torres, who has a project called Ur-Bin. DLANC (http://dlanc.com/) was an early supporter.
Ur-Bin has set up, and is maintaining, a rooftop container garden there. Most, but not all of the containers she uses come from recycled plastic 55 gallon drums, or, “bins”. Within a few short months she and her crew, along with some residents from the Cobb, have selected, seeded and grown a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.
On the day I visited, Jayne was overseeing the setting up of some shade cloth to cover her tomato bins. This was done to cool the area directly above and around the plants. With rooftop gardening in DTLA, Jayne has found that temperatures can easily shoot 10 degrees higher on the roof than on the ground. With summer just getting started, she is concerned that it is already getting too hot for her tomatoes. Jayne told me that gardening on rooftops, especially in our hot, dry climate, poses unique challenges.
First, the bins were spaced 6 ft apart.
Next, Fred drilled in some curved metal holders horizontally up the bin’s outer sides.
Then, poles were placed through the metal holders on the bins.
Lastly, shade cloth was stretched to meet the clamps on top of the poles.
I couldn’t leave without trimming or pruning something back…I felt the need to be productive. Jayne mentioned that the cilantro needed trimming and handed me some pruning shears and gloves. I crouched down next to the bins and noticed something that I had never seen in Skid Row before…a ladybug!
This little creature sat on my shoulder while I was clipping and pruning —also observed by me were little white butterflies, some bees, and even a few baby birds all enjoying the rooftop garden. There was so much flora and fauna circling around me, that I thought I might faint from sensory overload. Was this the middle of Downtown Los Angeles, or the countryside?
Little did Jayne know, I was sizing up her and her industrious gardening crew for some yet-to-be-determined public beatification project on the streets down below….what? Oh—hi Jayne : )
Those craving a little of the country life should check out her facebook page: (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ur-Bin/154978894558256) and look her up to get your gardening fix. Her link is also on my green inspiration page under Ur-Bin.