Scenes from the 2016 Del Ray Urban Farm Tour
This past Saturday, we held our second Del Ray Urban Farm Tour, traveling by bike to seven backyard gardens and one community garden in the Del Ray neighborhood. We met some pretty amazing gardeners, all who grow a sizable amount of food in their own yards. Here’s how the day went:
The tour started at 9 a.m. at the top of Mt Ida where neighbors Catherine and Lauren (whom we featured last year) showed us what’s growing in their shared garden space — it gets bigger and better each year. They had a pepper tasting, gave away extra canned goods and answered questions about the enormous amount of vegetables they grow.
Next, the crew road down Russell Road to Alex’s terraced front yard garden, proving yes, even if you live on a sloped yard, you can have a successful vegetable garden. Alex’s garden spreads around the side and back of her yard as well, with perennial flowers, fruit trees and an intricate watering system.
Our third stop was Kay’s house. Although Kay doesn’t have a huge vegetable garden due to lack of sunlight, her raised beds are home to many types of herbs. She also has a host of native plants, a dry creek to control water erosion and a 2-compartment compost bin that she and her husband built.
It’s always a treat to visit Melenie’s garden, our fourth stop, where she produces herbs and loofah for her popular soap company. She has fruit trees, all sorts of vegetables and a unique structure, an original early 1900s chicken coop, now used as a shed.
We also wanted to showcase some out-of-the-ordinary plants, so we stopped at Art and Jen’s house to see the various types of hops Art is growing for his home-brewed beer. Hops need to grow vertically, so in addition to the trellis in the backyard, he has also trained hops to travel up a cable to the second story of his house.
Right around the corner from the hop farm, we visited Everett and Janet’s backyard oasis, complete with a grape arbor, a wide variety of vegetables they use for Mexican cuisine, and a very special hand-built tiny house.
Our seventh stop took us to the other side of town in Rosemont to see Jeff’s jaw-dropping garden and apiary. Words can hardly describe how amazing his garden is — every square inch of the front and back yard is filled with a raised bed, fruit tree or trellised vine. The cage below ensures the birds don’t nibble on his prized blueberries. Plus, his yard is home to another impressive dual compost bin (with some volunteer squash growing on the side) and bees that calmly buzz about in the yard producing large amounts of honey!
And for those without their own garden space, for our final stop, we visited the GW Community Garden. Anyone can join the co-op, paying a set $25 membership fee (for the entire season) and agreeing to a certain amount of work days each year. The rewards are spectacular.
If you missed the tour and would like more information about this or other tours, please send us an email.