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Aug 012012
 
Pixxe Garden - Public Entrance

Pixxe Garden – Public Entrance

Pixxe has a new garden! It has been given the most original name: PIXXE GARDEN. It’s located in Rakowiec on the border of Szczęśliwice in Ochota, Warsaw, Poland.  GPS 52.198990, 20.967910, to be precise. We still have the Railroad Garden, but the main activities will now take place at the Pixxe Garden.

It will be open to the public for the upcoming SOIL GARDEN PROJECT, but there is an awful lot of work to do to make it ready for more ambitious activities. I’m hoping that with this new, more accessible, and less primitive garden (for example, it has water), we will be able to open up on a more regular basis by next spring. As such, Allotment Sunday / Niedziele na działce won’t be happening for awhile — it will be more like Codzienne na działce — everyday at the garden! So if you want to stop by, please let me know. Everyone is always welcome and there is always something to do.

Though the Pixxe Garden is not squatted, it also sort-of is. I thought I was beginning to understand how the allotment gardens work here, but now I have discovered a whole new in-between type of garden, called tymczasowy, or temporary. The Pixxe Garden is tymczasowy.

As I have written about before, there are “official” gardens (the Rodzinny Ogród Działkowy or ROD / Family Garden Allotments) and then there are “unofficial” gardens, like the Railroad Garden, which is basically a squat. ROD are gated communities. You must be a member and have a key to gain access. What is interested about temporary gardens like the Pixxe Garden is that sometimes they are located WITHIN an ROD, but are legally “unofficial”. This particular stretch of land abuts an “official” ROD and was taken by people in 1980. They have been temporary for 32 years! So the Pixxe Garden has one “Public” entrance, on Racławicka, and one “Private” entrance from within the ROD Zelmot. This dual status suits me well. I like being in between. And afterall, the city owns the land in any case!

Jul 162012
 
Bike cart with 120 l of dirt

Bike cart with 120 l of dirt

Got a bike cart. I’m happy. I have the urge to just drive around and pick up stuff. It was advertised as a “quality model” from Germany. Anything imported from Germany is supposed to be “quality”. But I think this one was probably imported TO Germany first. From China. But hey, it will do. So I can’t barrel over the curbs at 3 mph, but it can very slowly carry 120 liters (30 gal) of dirt without a problem. Maybe even 180 (50 gal) liters. I like how our bikes take up the space of a car. GO AWAY CARS!

Our Car Has Eight Wheels

Our Car Has Eight Wheels

 

Jul 142012
 
Yard clippings, yarrow, clover

Yard clippings, yarrow, clover

This morning I woke up early to go and collect the grass clippings from the housing complex near my allotment garden, which was mowed in its entirety yesterday. I just dug in and started to load the clippings into my wheelbarrow. The pile was so hot it was smoking; it steamed up me glasses! Isn’t it beautiful how life has, in itself, a perfect design to take care of itself, to give itself usefully back to the great pool of matter?

This stuff had a lot of plantain, clover, and  yarrow, a great compost accelerator I read somewhere. It also had a lot of dried grass and old leaves. Perfect.

I built two piles, adding straw here and there. They look like little straw houses for little hobbits. Or maybe more like my friend Zeek Sheck‘s beepers….

Compost House

Compost House

Jul 132012
 
Collecting jurassic water

Collecting Water from the Old Ones

In Warsaw, there are public water wells called Woda oligoceńska. Oligocene water. The Oligocene Period, I’ve learned since, occurred about 30 million years ago. Basically these are very deep wells, running more than 200m (650 ft) deep. They are housed in cute little buildings, and because it took me two years to be able to say oligoceńska, I always called them Dom wody, Water House. (But when I said Water House, not one person had any idea what I was talking about.) One can take the water all year. In the winter, you go into the house. In the summer, you tap the faucets on the outside of the house, as seen above.

In my neighborhood there are three such wells, though sadly, one of them has been closed for several months. We do not buy water. We go to the well. It tastes delicious. Someone else told me that her grandmother warned, “You must boil the water from the well before you drink it.” This never occurred to me. Two years and I’m still living, so I guess it’s O.K….

Because there is no water at the Railroad Garden, and no structure to catch it from, I haul it from the well. It’s about 2 or 3 blocks.  I used to use my bike, on which I could carry eight 5-liter bottles: three on the front, three on the back, and two on each handlebar. Now, I have a wheelbarrow and can carry 60 l (15 gallons). My arms are bulging. Soon I should have a bike cart and I’ll be able to carry 90 l (24 gallons). One liter of water weighs one kilogram. Brilliant, that.

One time an old lady came in and asked me, “Is it yellow or white?” White meant the water was good. It was white.

Jun 012012
 

In June, we’ll try to get back to a semi-regular schedule. I’ve been gone or busy so many Sundays, it’s been difficult to keep the Open Time. In June the Railroad Garden will be open the following hours, except as noted:

SUNDAYS 10am-2pm

Here is a plan of major activities:

June 2 – Build a batch compost pile; Cut, trim & sort branches & wood; Dig up concrete blocks & make new paths
June 10 – OFF. GONE BIKING.
June 17 – Remove remaining garbage; Cut, trim & sort branches & wood;
June 24 – TBD, Check back later in the month

 

May 052012
 

On Friday, we hauled about 700 liters of dirt to the Urban Greens boxes, and left them there overnight. This morning I found a beautiful present from my neighbor Wojtek (Pixxe Portrait be forthcoming, I promise!): three packets of seeds. What a lovely thing!

Seed Gifts

Seed Gifts

Next came Inga, a dynamite lady! A few others arrived: Wojtek P., Aneta, Kinga, and then Michał from Szczęśliwice, and Nina from the Warsaw Food Cooperative. Kasper helped with the stencils. The men-of-the-bench, the nearest neighbors and protectors of the little garden, looked on. One of them brought us water from his apartment. Here are some photos of the planting day:

Inga

Inga

Wojtek and Aneta

Wojtek and Aneta

Nina

Nina

Squishy stencils, from last year and this

Squishy stencils, from last year and this

Tomato Marigold Basil

Tomato Marigold Basil

The planted boxes

The planted boxes

May 022012
 

Allotment Sundays / Niedziele na działce will now be starting later in the day. Instead of 11-3 it will now run from 2-6 in the afternoon. The reason is that it’s too hot in the middle of the day.

There will be a lot of planting going on this week plus still more trimming back of weeds and trees. I would also like to build a table on Sunday…

Today, I planted some Broccoli, Kale, and herb seedlings. First Seedlings

May 012012
 

After six months, I finally did something about the lock. Something brilliant. If you didn’t know, last October someone cut the chain and put on their own lock.

I didn’t want to do anything destructive. For over a year, with the exception of cutting down some trees, most of what I’ve done here is constructive: fixing and building. So I was hesitant to break the lock or the chain. When I first arrived, there was a chain, but no lock. My gentlemanly neighbor told me the owner died fifteen years ago.

At first I thought that I would make two gates, but we thought of a better idea: two locks.

Two Locks

So now both of us can get in. The mystery man and I. As you can see, my lock is the weakling.

Mar 242012
 

This will be the last Allotment Sunday until April 15. This week we should be able to finish trimming the fruit trees, double digging the garden beds, and planting the cold frame. If there is time, I’d like to build another compost bin.

Please join me anytime from 11am – 3pm.

SUNDAY MARCH 25
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Pixxe – Railroad Garden

Map Wide:

Map to Railroad Garden

Map to Railroad Garden

Map Close:

Paths to Railroad Garden

Paths to Railroad Garden

Directions:
It’s between Żwirky i Wigury and Grójecka.

Via Public Transportation: Take Bus 175, 188, 504, 172, 228,136 to Rakowiec stop (Racławicka i Żwirky i Wigury). Walk west on Rakowiec until you get to Mołdowska. Turn Left (South) on Mołdowska. Follow map to the działka.

Via Public Transportation (Grójecka) Take Tram 7,9, or 15 to Korotyńskiego. Walk North to Racławicka. Turn Left (East) on Racławicka. Left on Sąchocka. Right on Gorlicka. Follow map to the działka.

Via Car from Grójecka: Turn East on Racławica. Left on Mołdawska. As you approach Gorlicka, look for parking. Follow the map to the działka.

Via Car from Żwirky i Wigury: Turn West on Racławica. Right on Mołdawska. As you approach Gorlicka, look for parking. Follow the map to the działka.

Mar 122012
 

Sometime in early November of 2011, someone came and cut the chain on my lock and replaced it with this lock. As far as I can tell, this mysterious person has never been here since then.

Locked out

Locked out

 

The irony of the situation still makes me laugh. Before I came there was a huge gap in the fence — there was simply no fence over a stretch of about 15 meters facing the tracks. It looked sort of like this:

Gap in the fence

Gap in the fence

 

For a while I just piled branches in front of the gap. In May, we built a make-shift fence out of sticks. It was a lovely thing. But over the summer some jerk knocked it down, so we built a “real fence”. I made wattle fences over the remaining holes.

So it is very funny to me that, after I secured the spot, someone comes and locks me out. Ha ha! Remember that this allotment has been abandoned for YEARS. It was full of an enormous amount of GARBAGE.

There was one hole I didn’t fix, right next to the gate and this has been serving as my entrance. I used The Beekeeper‘s gate as inspiration.

The New 'Gate'

The New 'Gate'

Mar 102012
 

(Proszę dalej — podstawowe informacje po polsku na dól)

I once again invite you to join me tomorrow at the Pixxe Railroad Garden for “Allotment Sundays”.

SUNDAY MARCH 11
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Pixxe – Railroad Garden

Tomorrow we will be pruning walnut trees, apple trees, and stripping the bark from the dead cherries and removed branches. The bark will be used to make dye for wool and fabrics.

Look at this amazing picture from Google maps, to the right and below the red farm icon. You can see  the circular shapes I made for the garden beds and paths! Probably taken in early May of last year because can see the horse chestnuts blossoming (upper right corner).  The garden is on the map!

Garden Circles

Garden Circles

What is Allotment Sundays?

Simply an open invitation to come to a reclaimed allotment in the Rakowiec neighborhood of Warsaw, in order to share work, environmental education, fresh air, and more. It will run every Sunday except for April 1 and April 8.

In the garden we are cultivating vegetables, nuts, fruits, edible flowers, and more. Many of the vegetables we cultivate are unusual varieties not commonly found in Poland (such as chards, kales, mustard greens, and others). We hope to cultivate some wild varieties, Polish heirloom varieties, as well as plants grown for fertilizer (green manure). We use techniques such as companion planting, composting, natural pest control, double digging and this year we hope to do some experiments with “bio-intensive” agriculture techniques developed by John Jeavons. (http://www.johnjeavons.info/ also check out great videos on youtube).

I am even hoping (with your help) to develop a special currency (Trinkets, Tokens?) which could be used to purchase food produced from the garden.

If you have saws, orchard saws, clippers, pruning shears, or axes please bring them! KITCHEN WASTE and HUMAN URINE for compost are ALWAYS WELCOME.

Activities planned for March – April

  • pruning and trimming nut and fruit trees — walnut, hazelnut, apple, cheery, plum, pear
  • removing vines that are strangling the trees
  • cutting out dead trees
  • cutting out ash trees which are blocking the sun
  • removing bushes which are encroaching on the elderberries
  • throw out garbage, always fun!
  • burn and chop wood and branches as necessary
  • build and plant early spring greens in a cold frame

Krótko po polsku:

Jeszcze raz jutro witam was na: Niedziela na działce (Pixxe “Ogród przy torach”)

11 MARCU
11.00 – 15.00
Pixxe – Railroad Garden

Jutro będziemy przyciąć orzech włosky i jabłonie; obierać skórę z gałęzie, które są usunięty. Kora zostanie wykorzystana do farby (dye) na wlóczki i tkaniny.

Co jest Niedziele na działce?
Po prostu jest otwarte zaproszenie przyśc do odzyskany ogród żeby podzielić się robotą, edukacją ekologicznej, permakultrą, świeżym powietrzu, i więcej.

Będzie otwarte co niedziele 11-15 (oprócz 01.04 i 08.04). Jest na rakowcu.

Jeśli masz, proszę przynieść: piła / piłka, sekator i zawsze możesz przynieść odpady kuchenne czy ludzki mocz do kompostowania

Jeżeli wiesz ktoś, który interesuje się, proszę dzielić!