Tag Archives: traffic islands

Garden Day Notes 9/23

26 Sep

On September 23rd, we had a special presentation from our guest artist, Ari Kletsky. He educated us about the unconventional use of traffic islands. Did you know that..

  • …islands were developed before cars? Very ironic, because we think of them today only as traffic dividers.
  • …islands are considered to be the freest place in the American city? There is a twist to this. Although they should be protected by the First Amendment, they have a very peculiar standing in the Constitution. Since islands are a free public space, you would think you could do almost anything on there right? Wrong. In Santa Monica, you can walk or run over a traffic island, but you cannot simply stand there.
  • …the city considers the appearance of traffic islands a trivial issue? This should not be the case. As citizens, it is our duty to make sure we do the best that we can in order to make our neighborhood look nice. Guerilla gardening is not exacly encouraged–get permission from the city first. Be a good citizen and transform your traffic island into a piece of art.

Back to the Garden

It is our turn to be good citizens and care for our little community garden. So far, we have been doing a good job, but Florence Nishida returned and gave us some more tips to ensure that we have the healthiest garden possible.

  • Add organic fertilizer. The soil appears to be drying out because of the hot weather we have been experiencing lately. Remember that aside from water, plants need plenty of nutrients to grow healthily. Also, keep in mind that the fertilizer concentrates in certain spots. It is very likely that the plants growing in areas with more amounts of fertilizer are growing much better. In order to ensure that all of our plants can be healthy, we must make sure the fertilizer is uniform throughout the garden.
  • It is definitely best to maximize our production. Right now, we have our plants growing in separate rectangles, but it’s okay to spread them out in a nonuniform manner. This way, instead of wasting so much space on borders, we can grow as many plants as the space in the garden permits.
  • Tie up plants with long stems. If we leave them hanging, they will shelter smaller plants, thus blocking them from sunlight.
  • Some plants in the sun are dying because they are not receiving an adequate amount of water. when watering, we have to be sure they are getting more water than the plants in the shade because the moisture will evaporate more quickly out in the sun.
  • We have recently been discussing transplanting. Florence has recommended that we wait until the plant’s true leaves have grown. The plants in the sun are at this stage already, but the ones in the shade still have their heart-shaped (seed) leaves. Once the longer set of leaves has grown in, we will know the plant will survive if it is transplanted.
  • When transplanting, selectively pinch the plant with your fingernails or a pair of scissors. Be careful–don’t damage the roots! We already know that without roots, the plant cannot survive because it will starve.
  • Increase space between the plants in case something goes wrong. That way, you won’t have to pry them apart once they are done growing.
  • Although it appears as if the plants in the shade are doing much better, the opposite is true. The plants in the sun are smaller because they are receiving adequate sunlight. If you notice, they do not have as many seed leaves as the plants in the shade. However, the plants in the shade have to stretch in order to receive solar energy, which gives them a larger appearance. So, even though they look a lot healthier, they really aren’t.
  • Be careful when stepping on the garden bed! You don’t want to destroy the environment needed for the plants to grow adequately.
  • You don’t have to wait till the plants are huge. In fact, picking and trimming the leaves will be better for it.

Hope this was helpful!

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Today’s visiting artist–Ari Kletsky

23 Sep

A traffic island repurposed for public enjoyment.

Ari is going to come talk to us today about his project “The Islands of LA,” an overlooked and under-known bunch of spaces, one that may be lingering under your very eyes, maybe at this very moment. Here is a short description from his website:

Everywhere there are islands hidden in plain view. Surrounded by road, archives of the in-between, traffic islands are a vehicle to investigate and interact with an urban landscape marked by transportation and neighborhood, public and private, urban and nature. Many are picturesque panoramas or concrete slabs of conceptual art to be appreciated from the car or sidewalk, while countless other ones are gems of publicly owned space. These are islands where you can enjoy a picnic, spend an afternoon painting, protest, serenade a lover at midnight, raise money, hold a small event or otherwise share your thoughts with the bustle of undifferentiated humanity humming along the way.

Have a look around the website, and ask lots of questions!