Last year, on this day, me and about a nine other Queens residents got together and broke ground on the guerrilla garden in Long Island City, now affectionately known as Smiling Hogshead Ranch. Our goal was to add some beauty tot he area, grow some food and not get arrested or kicked off the land. I’m glad to report we were successful on all three fronts! I have not posted too much on the internet about this project because of the various “informal” arraignments but I wanted to take a moment and offer a brief retrospective of our first year…
We had picked up trash in late February 2011 (and found a pig skull, hence the name;) but Sunday, March 6, 2010 was the first big workday that really kicked things off as a group. We rented a tiller three weekends in a row and tilled up just over 1,500 square feet. Which is about 1/10 of an acre. We had a blast.
In early April 2011 we received the seeds and starts we had ordered from GrowNYC’s annual plant sale and began planting.
On June, 06 2011, Lenny Librizzi, Assistant Director of GrowNYC‘s Open Space Greening program posted about our garden. He referred compared it to Manhattans High Line and dubbed it Queen’s “Low Line”. Check the post out here: http://commmunitygardening.blogspot.com/2011/06/community-garden-version-of-high-line.html
On September 10th I invited several professional colleagues out to the farm for a little tour. Among the guests where Philip Botwinick and his partner Tom, Shan Jayakumar, Brandon Cappilliari and Gordon Douglas.
On October 18, 2011 (my birthday) the Environmental Club at Bard HS (about 20 students) came out to the garden for a field trip, they where accompanied by their group advisers Christine Carouso and one of her colleagues.
Of the many delicious veggies harvested and eaten, I think I got the most joy out of cooking the swiss chard and onions together for vegetarian empanada filling. The corn, cabbage and radishes made a nice medley when roasted together with a drizzle of olive oil and S&P as well. So many cucumbers where eaten raw after a bit of chill time in the fridge. Mmm Mm Memories…
Many of us met most recently last weekend after a bit of a break over the winter, including several new faces which bring new blood, enthusiasm and skills to the group. We have some ambitious projects planned for 2012 and I for one look forward to publicizing the project a little more widely now that we have been around (and not been kicked off the land or persecuted for trespassing) for a while.
For some more pictures visit the folder I’ve dedicated to Smiling Hogshead Ranch in my Photobucket account:
New year, new beginings. Spring is right around the corner!