Sunday, November 11, 2012

Playing catch-up

One more post today, to get back on track: here's some urban farming -

My partner's house in Vitry-sur-Seine (suburb of Paris) is an anomaly along his street - these are houses with stone or stucco fronts, clay tile roofs, and those ordered, tidy, geometric gardens that consist of a gravelled yard with severely pruned roses, or window boxes filled with geraniums, or a strategic palm tree in lonely splendour.

Fred's house, on the other hand, sticks out like a sore thumb, or rather, it vanishes from sight behind the tangled jungle of his tiny urban farm. The front yard, which is maybe the size of my living and dining rooms, has a pear tree, an apple tree, a cherry tree, a row of red and white currant bushes, and a goldfish pond, in addition to ivies and yew trees. The back, which is even smaller, is host to a giant fig tree, grape vines, a hazelnut bush, another cherry tree, a plum tree, and a kiwi vine that threatens to overrun the city. On a swelteringly hot Paris summer day, this backyard is an oasis of shade and cool.

The current harvest is fig jam and dried kiwi; other times there have been cherry ice cream, currant jelly and more. The climate in Paris is so much milder than here in Nova Scotia - no fig trees for us here, we'll have to give global warming a little longer. But it's a great example of what you can do in a tiny space. These are mostly mature trees that not only provide food, but also are busy fixing carbon dioxide, proving a comfortable micro-climate, and providing a haven for birds, salamanders, bees and other critters.

Not our garden, but funny all the same
There's also a huge compost pile, but that's actually so big, it's a topic unto itself, for another time.

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