For those who missed the first Bronzeville garden post for #WeekendCoffeeShare, I stated I would follow up with more garden and roof top post updates. If we were having coffee this week i would have you meet me at home because i live one block away from the rooftop farm. I would make us both cappuchinos using my favorite home coffee machine my Nespresso. I’d of course give you a heads up, that the quality is a lot different from what you’d get from a regular grocery store or cafe. So take your time and enjoy it because it’s a limited supply. After, i’m taking you for a short walk to visit the urban oasis.
During our walk i’d remind you of our conversation and what we discussed last week regarding the Bronzeville roof top farm and how it helped save me. So now we’re on to the next stages in development. Arriving at the deck of the farm and pointing to the back stairs, i’d tell you this is when i learned that gardening and or farming was an alternative form of working out.
When I started here, most of the soil foundation you see here in the direction of the train station, had been complete. For these areas the crop beds were ready, so remember we started prepping the soil for transplants. This week I’m showing you the final stages of the installation process. So walk over this way with me towards Prairie Street. Here you can see is the remaining areas where we still needed to create the soil foundation.
The soil was brought in by truck and stored in huge pile. On days we had know one available to operate the lift, we had to fill these buckets with dirt and walk them up the back stairs to the roof top. So for weeks, filling and emptying buckets of soil in each area, to gain certain hight, filled the tasks for the day. More than 20 people worked on bringing up soil collectively, using a lift and manually, to get that stage done within weeks time.
In between bringing up soil, we had to take time to measure the height of the soil which determined how much more was needed. Then had to take time to spread the soil using the garden rake you see here. Once the soil was spread evenly, we had to flattened and smooth it out to ensure the foundation was leveled. All three steps introduced me to a new method of strength training lbvs (Laughing but very serious). It was definitely more intense than I initially imagined but i knew it would all be worth while.
Working on the roof definitely required staying hydrated as the weather warmed up over time. I would often get teased by the lead farmer Mecca, who always called me glamour girl for wearing hats. She called it glamour, I called it smart having learned from experience in my childhood gardening days. By the end of the season, I was told they had taking a note from me and are all getting hats for this upcoming summer lbvs.
I often kept bottled water, wore sunscreen and a protective hat to preserve my protective hairstyle. The one thing this part of the process reminded me was, gardening is not all roses, it’s work! The following picture collages features Lauren, the gardens intern, yours truly, my ace Keith and community members from the ground level community garden.
As you can see, everyone did a great job working together and rotating tasks when necessary. Aside from filling and building a leveled foundation, the first few weeks also consisted of maintaining crops that had been planted. Some of the transplants, we learned down the line, had difficult time adjusting to the imported soil and required special fertilizer.
Other methods of successful adjustment required paying close attention to extract the whole root attached to the original soil of its flower pot and inserting into the new soil beds. For the crops that were seeded, it didn’t take long to see growth. Some of the crops planted included Swiss chard, Habanerja peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. while tending, i often imagined all the wonderful dishes i would soon create from all theses freshly planted homegrown crops, yum!
For the next update I’ll provide a blueprint picture of the entire roof top layout giving you a better perception of the beautiful aesthetic lead gardener, Mecca Brooks added. In the meantime take a sneak peak of the other side or the roof top. This side contains crops and beautiful flowers. Urban Oasis Part: 2 will show more detailed pictures to come. Until then, I hope you enjoy. Please tag and share and subscribe for more updates.