Although the city of Alameda and Bay Farm Island historically had considerable farm land, and still have some large yards, many of us live in multifamily units that, at best, have small patios or balconies. With some thought and planning, these areas can still provide adequate space for gardening.
As Alameda’s deciduous fruit trees have come out of dormancy, passers-by might be forgiven for having simply enjoyed the beauty of their blossoms, unaware of the dynamic little miracle advancing the tree’s true mission. In super-slow-motion and from the ground up, reproduction takes place in the form of juicy, sugar-laden fruit. With the help of a root system in a new cycle of growth, and the process of winterstored sap being drawn up into every reach of the tree, flower and foliage growth are thus ensured.
The impending return of the drought presents challenges for Alameda gardeners. Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate the impact, protect the soil and save water. Soil is key here. Healthy soil is alive with billions of organisms per cubic inch and it is vital that it remain that way so that it can support plant life in future, rainier years. This means keeping it moist through the summer whether it is used to grow plants or left fallow.
There should be some more rains coming, so plan on implementing a few of the following tactics to save water and protect soil:
Join Alameda Backyard Growers (ABG) as they kick off their “Year of Sustainable Gardening” for a free screening of filmmaker Mark Kitchell’s new film: Evolution of Organic at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, at Rhythmix Cultural Works.
The film tells the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. By now organic has gone mainstream, split into an industry oriented toward bringing organic to all people and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture.
The local group dedicated to helping people start and maintain their gardens, Alameda Backyard Growers (ABG), has a workshop to help “Start Your Gardening Year off Right” scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 7 to 8 p.m. Alameda gardeners Cynthia LaCroix and Linda Carloni will lead the session at Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding Ave.
Earlier this year the Alameda Sun presented the Alameda Backyard Growers (ABG) with a specific donation for a specific purpose (“Project Tree Seeded,” April 14). The idea was to seed a tree planting program in Alameda that would help restore and maintain the city’s urban forest.
Since January, Marla Koss of the ABG, who you might call a fruit tree scientist, has established groundwork for planting 29 trees in various locations around the city as the Project Tree pilot program.