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Posts tagged ‘re:farm’

地上On the ground:

玉米 corn and 南瓜 pumpkin competing over a rectangle of dirt revealed by the removal of a section of cement.

turtle den becomes a jungle, and potted plants struggle on. We think the clay-rich soil from the riverbed may not have been nutritious enough for some plants.

黄瓜 cucumber and 紫苏(大叶) shiso, like many other plants, are complemented by a deceptive and ubiquitous 杂草 weed.

Once these 杂草 weeds are removed, you can see how small these 紫苏 shiso plants have remained.

菠菜 spinach, 芝麻菜 rucola, 香菜 cilantro, and 杂草 weeds.

屋顶上On the roof:

(L) other 紫苏 shiso crops benefited from a transplant; (R) 秋葵荚 okra

(L) green beans and weeds; (R) small tomato plants and weeds

土豆 potato stacking: when the 土豆 potato plant pokes above the soil by about 20cm, cover it over again with more soil. The potato plant will revert to root state, and will grow more potatoes in a single area. This can be repeated again and again, forming a sort of potato tower, increasing productivity in one area by moving vertically.

The roof system simply uses a small platform to keep the boxes from direct contact with the roof, over areas supported by structural walls downstairs.


The 南瓜 pumpkin grows out of its area, and needs some structural support.

南瓜阶梯 The pumpkin ladder.

Digging down halfway, we find the 堆肥compost in the white pot has produced 好的土good soil. It is used to fill a box for a transplant.

Behind the ecstatic 南瓜 pumpkins are three 西红柿 tomato plants that need to move out.

甜菜根 Beets also need more space, and are transplanted to a larger area.

A transplanted 南瓜 pumpkin pouts. Notorious over-achievers (in German: streber). A question that comes to mind: Even if we are successful, what happens to all the stuff that is produced day after day—ideally becoming more healthy soil in the process—but still, basically dictating a general structural expansion, expansion of material, surplus, excess. Where does all this material go? Can we ever really generate a system that recycles? Or do we constantly need more land to exploit, more time, more converts? This in a way illustrates the paradox of self-sufficiency in the city. Surplus is the norm, in fact. Implying: we must go beyond ourselves..

See how other people do it:


The HomeShop farm continues to gain momentum! Some updates…

potato minimalism with neighbor seedbed (葫芦 hulu, 丝瓜 sigua, 南瓜 pumpkin), compost pumpkin seeds (in wood box, foreground) and stubborn tomato starter seeds in leftover takeout.

The permanent compost facility before (left) and after (right). (On far left you can see basket containers we picked up from fruit vendor, they were mango boxes.)

豆子 Beans. (type?) and maybe grass. Or 芝麻菜 arugula.

甜菜根 Red Beets

龙蒿 Tarragon


Turtle den with 大葱 onions, 葫芦巴 fenugreek and various seed pots.

Double decker; 紫苏(大叶)shiso on top, 大蒜 garlic and 黄瓜 cucumber below.

秋葵荚 Okra, we hope!

Today we did some re-organizing of the space and the full range of containers that are now almost fully planted (many already 2 weeks ago) with the following plant types:
草莓 strawberry plant (from LDF)
葫芦巴 fenugreek (from Indian friends)
南瓜 pumpkins (seeds started growing from compost)
葫芦 hulu gourds + 丝瓜 towel gourd + 南瓜 pumpkin (from neighbor)
大蒜 garlic (from leftover head)
大葱 onion (left in soil last year)
龙蒿 tarragon (commercial seeds from Canada)
香菜 cilantro (commercial seeds from China)
紫苏(大叶)shiso (commercial seeds from Japan)
黄豆 soybeans (from neighbor)
西红柿 tomato (commercial seeds from Japan, trying to sprout them, no sign yet)
秋葵荚 okra (commercial seeds from Japan)
土豆 potato (from leftover potatoes)
芝麻菜 rucola (commercial seeds from Canada)
甜菜根 red beets (commercial seeds from Canada)
芹菜 celery (commercial seeds from China)
薄荷 mint + 迷迭香 rosemary (cuttings from “Italian” farm in Beijing)
苦瓜 bitter melon (commercial seeds from China)
西葫芦 zucchini (commercial seeds from China)
菠菜 spinach (commercial seeds from China)
and probably some more…

One batch from the riverbed near Little Donkey Farm; another from last year’s mobile garden; some lifted from a nearby park (with clumps of grass); some even resulting from the compost underway since last month or so.

The compost systems were also checked up on and updated.
The various types: EM plastic box starter w/o micro-organisms;
cardboard box blend;
styrofoam box blends;
clay pot blend;
worm compost, slow but still going.
They are all more or less converting to useable soil, we mixed this material with drier dirt from the park today, as some had moldy parts. It seems to be going well.

Baskets from a fruit vendor, pots and containers from here and there. A large plastic container brought by a re:farm participant to hold “grey water.” Still needed: windshield wiper pumps, ladder.

See more at re:farm. Coming soon…

Without knocking the door they came. Ripped rooftop and started to shovel into our house. NOOOO! oh no no no, very scared and didn’t know what was going on but knowing  had to escape from their hand, so went into dark dark spot but much faster and stronger, they were catching my mom and babies and friends… did not have time to say good bye…….then all the sudden, rooftop came back and being quite again… (a red worm from Gloval Village, environmental NGO in Beijing)

Dealing with food waste in city so full of concrete that you cannot rely on natural soil/microorganism to break it down (or a pig to eat them). We are experimenting 4 different compost to make fertilizer and soil. EM compost, cardboard compost and food waste just mixing with soil. Got red worms for worm compost, there are 20 adults and many small bits living there right now. Everyday on the news about Japan, that polluted vegetables and water are found even polluted water running into the ocean. Fukushima prefecture told all the farmer in this area to postpone their seeding process, prefectural assembly investigate for the possibility of soil pollution. All the milk got to discard and domestic animals has to be kept inside. Things are up side down. Many people on the stricken area are lacking for food, Disaster relief network (Donations we collect at the HomeShop, Country Fair go to here) are making 1000 and more food everyday on the spot. When water, soil, air and seeds get contaminated (I guess already has been) what can you do? …..Though, its not all down turn, you can always find a way around and get by, like this and this.

Update of Jan 18th meeting Tue to build worm compost:

About worms, we could not find some right now. Worms live deep underground and no fishing shop carried them in this time of the year. But, good news is that a friend of mine knows the people in NGO who are promoting worm compost so she can help us contacting with them. Worm compost structure is finished today by Elaine and Michael. Now, just waiting for worms to come in.

Since kitchen of HomeShop was started in mid-Dec 2010, we are collecting food waste which stayed outside for now in a big ceramic bowls. If you live on the land with animals, you can just give left over to pig and leafy vegetables to rabbit and chicken, also make compost by put food scrap under the ground and mixing with soil and old leaves. Not producing so much of food scrap is always better so I tend to not scrape the skin (also lazy) of vegetables. Do not know if worm compost is the best way to deal with food waste in the city, but at least we can easily build material from whatever we find from scrap and shops around the corner. Rococo style castle is welcoming for prince / princess worms to get waste with endless supply, seems very unnatural. That is conflict I have so far but better than dump them into garbage bin with all other material and hid inside of the ground somewhere in country side. So, worms, hope them to arrive soon. We use the finished worm compost to make vegetable from this April.

Here is the link to the instructions we used to make this compost container: “ Worm_bin_bag_for_indoor_vermicomposting” [PDF, 1.7 mb]

Have been taking workshop of Re:Farm the City in past week, it is part of  Tsinghua Art & Science MediaLab program / Environment and Ecological Art.  Making urban (this time indoor) farm and compost shed with found object with electronics to solve the problems of city people (watering, pesticide control, not knowing how to start…). For now, we have 2 farms that grows the vegetable of Beijing dish. This farm is attached with water and electronics with humidity system to control water supply.  For a water pump, using the  internet cable as a water tube, and inner cable for making panels. This panel is inside of the scare crows (hot).

Panels with all colorful electric cables are crossing eye experience but now geeky-san in my classroom can invite me for dinner and we have something to talk about. Our food waste goes to make soil for coming up season. Re:farm the city is the project happening in different places in the world and the local people of each place carried on, experimenting their own way. In Beijing version will start regular meeting from tomorrow at the HomeShop, we will develop compost shed and perhaps small green houses for spring time to sprout the seeds. Also, would be amazing to develop small solar system for the building, or any. If there are any engineers / students who would love to experiment with real situation, please join us.