In early 2020 our community – like many other in the world – experienced a serious time of reconstruction. Limited in access and free movement we focused on solutions to survive and to initiate peace and hope around us. We collected plants and seeds and started to prepare a urban garden on the terrace. We published news around this theme to guide some friends far away asking for urban gardening solutions and we documented the progress.
We shared and donated plants in the village and we prepared some seeds for having more plants in the future.
We created some frames out of pallet wood. We tried plants in different locations of the terrace, in different pots, compagnioned by different other plants.
So far after 4 weeks we experienced this:
Potatos – even out-cutted piezes with buds – are growing well.
Salad is growing fast in some pots, very slowly in others.
Bigger frame constructions containing more soil are working better than little once.
Replanted onions are buildung flowers. Leek doesn´t look good.
Tomatos in bigger plastic bottles (including a bigger deposite of water) are growing better.
Watercress is growing fast and better in protected areas with some shadow over the day.
The mix of garden soil, compost and starter soil makes a big difference.
We decided to continue the project and to expand the production of new plants with donated seeds from friends. We will replant some in our big garden.
In these times (March / April 2020) we used our terrace garden as a home office and added a new segment including a dry cabinet.
The lower part again contains a box for plants and gives the structure weight and strength. With two bars in the middle we used the given space for plants in little pots. The dry cabinet contains two refurbished windows. The whole structure is made with wood from two palets.
In one corner we planted the lower part of leeks. According to some online tips they should grow and create some new little eatable plants. We will document the progress later here.
The dry cabinet is painted black to reflect less energy. Inside we used milk carton pieces. The temperature reached nearly 34 degree at 4pm with cloudy sunshine.
With this segment we added space for nearly 40 new plants on less than 1 square meter. In the next days we will optimize the energy management to reach higher temperatures inside the cabinet. And we will start to collect – and later publish – some recipies for drying snacks, fruits and vegetables.
In a more holistic way of thinking and doing we like to upcycle whatever is possible. We get sometimes donations of wood pallets and we store them in our color garden. As part of the terrace gardening project – which is growing as well – we used two pallets to create a new structure for tomato and some other plants.
The truth of upcycling is that – like every other action – it creates other types of waste. We collected the left overs form wood for heating. The ash will be re-used for our chicken stable (mixed with sand it reduce flies and tricks) and become later with the animal shit and add-on for our compost. The nails – separated in the heating process – we will use for natural ink production.
The vertical terrace garden segments contains three layer. At the bottom we created a box for planting to give stable weight to the segment. In the middle we are able to use the structure as a intermediate place for plants. The upper layer is designed for bottles to hold the soil for the tomato plants.
We filled the bottom of the box with wood pieces. These pieces are waste of orange box production and – because of its use to transport unwrapped fruits – not contaminated with poison. They will store water and manage humidity in the soil on top of them. Over the year they will be composted as well and therefore we create new organic material at the same time in the same place.
Like in our bigger raised beds in the color garden of CASAdelDRAGON we use hay to cover the soil between the plants.
To be able to route the tomato plant through the tiny spout of the plastic bottle we cut lower bigger leafs of the plant and prepare a soft fabric to hold the soil.
In the creative process of solving problems on the way we invented a little tool to help us to pass the spouts.
Every bottle is prepared with 5 wholes. Two of them are for later mounting in the structure. The other are used as a drainage of excess rainwater.
The first four bottles are in place. Now we are looking in the neighborhood for more plastic bottles.
These post, like others before about our terrace gardening project, like to inspire you for your own solutions (we will enjoy feedback and your ideas about other nice solutions to use the terrace as a vegetable garden).
We saw some videos about tomato plants inside of bottles. We like to discover this design and its pros and cons. We will keep you updated about the progress.
In working out these little vertical gardening segment we already get some more inspirations of new designs.
In March 2020 we are limited in free movement and for some of us shopping become a rare social activity. To feed our terrace garden we can use little plants if we have access to professional sources. Maybe in a city it will be not easy to find a source for these plants. So i publish this to stimulate you to discover what you could use even out of you shopping bag.
Disclaimer: Some of the seeds you will discover are inside hybrid plants and they will not grow. Some of your food was exposed to radioactive waves or otherwise “cleaned” before it arrived to the shop. Some of the seeds are given without permission to plant because of a patent.
All this will not work, but maybe you could get some food out of bio-shops or direct from a local farmer.
Words are also seeds, and when dropped into the invisible spiritual substance, they grow and bring forth after their kind.
Charles Fillmore, American mystic
Also you could look for some already spreading potato on stock. We use – as you see – only part of the potato and it works well. Some hints we collect here:
Tomato > Before you use the tomato take the seeds with a spoon and put them with water in a glass with screw cap. Shake this glas every day once for 7 days. After this open the glass and run the liquid with the seed over a paper towel that you have placed in a sieve. Let the paper towel dry and peel the seeds apart. Store them in a dry place (max. 5 years) or plant them.
Peppers > Cut the plant and peel of the seeds in a paper towel. Let them dry one day. Store them in a dry place (max. 4 years) or plant them.
Kiwi > Use the same method like above for tomato. Store them in a dry place (max. 3 years) or plant them.
Pumpkin > Use the same method like above for peppers. Let them dry one week. Store them in a dry place (max. 5 years) or plant them.
Garlic > Take a strong clove of a garlic plant and re-plant it. It might be a good companion for tomato in the same planting pot.
Potato > Cut a piece from the potato. It should be minimum 0.5 cm thick below an spreading eye. If you could select 2 or 3 eyes at once its also fine. Dry the piece for 2 days without to much sunlight. Plant the pieces (eyes upside) within the next 2 or 3 days. Water the area not much in the first weeks. We suggest to use hay to cover the potato piece and the soil around.
It is highly recommended to plant different types of tomato not nearby, as well as pumpkin and cucumber not close to each other. If you have only on terrace garden we suggest to plant only one variation of tomato and pumpkin or cucumber at the same time.
Feedback : if you have more ideas to add other plants to the list please send us a notice. We will update this post from time to time.
In March 2020 the Spanish government expanded the time of traffic limitation till April. Cloudy weather and some rain motivated us to expand the terrace garden project as well.
We found a abandoned wood box in the garden and drilled two wholes in one side, about 3 cm higher than the bottom.
We used also a old sheet of plastic to protect the wood against humidity. We prefer to re-use and upcycle material and the rotten plastic was big enough.
We placed two pipes into the wholes and fixed them with stripes. We glued the pipes against the blue plastic to protect the wood.
We charged the box with some wood pieces. Its a donation of a company which produce orange boxes and the pieces have a perfect size to be used like pellets for heating or in this case to store further rain water. The wood also will be populated by bacteria and insects and later transformed into useful compost.
To develop a bigger space for the water and reduce the speed of de-composting we placed a layer of carton on top of the wood.
In the next step we charged the box with a soil compost mix.
On top of the soil we placed some potatos. We used a mix of left overs we found in the garden beds and some new seed potatos as well.
Finally we covered the potato with a layer of hay and grass. Just in time it started to rain again.
I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see
Bill Callahan, Author
All material was re-used and compost and soil where borrowed form the color garden of CASAdelDRAGON. Most of the seed potato are the 3rd generation of potato we developed in the garden area. For time investment we have to calculate 1 hour. The installation cover a space of less than 0.5 square meter. Like the upcycling of water bottles we post this content for our friends in Belgium and for everybody looking for some gardening activities which are easy to realize in these times of limited mobility.
When i was a child i was collecting plants from outside and brought them into my greenhouse, constructed by some well-known plastic bricks. Inspired by movies like Silent running i invented my own story of enjoying the nature and its beauty.
Many years later – now (2020-03-21) – in times of limited access to nature and locked to private spaces – i was asked by some friends about a useful advise to set up a urban / terrace garden in small size.
I promised to share all my limited knowledge to help them to develop a garden in their city flat in Belgium.
One solution is to use old plastic water bottles. They are maid out of PET. First you should cut some fabric in stripes of 40 x 5 cm.
Than you should cut a star into the screw cap. It is useful to make this step before you cut the bottle into two pieces.
The fabric is – turned to a double strip of 20cm – placed into the cut of the screw cab – 15 cm outside. The bootle is cutted with a scissor – 60% for the bottom and 40% for the top part.
In the bottom part you should burn or drill 8 wholes – each ca. 1 cm wide – 3 cm below the open side. In the top part you might burn or drill 4 wholes – each ca. 1cm wide – 4 cm below the screw cap.
I used a old soldering iron to burn the wholes. It reaches temperatures higher than 265° – which is the melting point for PET. Even if you are planning to prepare a lot of bottles the burning Methode is quick and easy. But work only outside or in a well ventilated working environment.
Before you place the top reverse into the bottom part prepare 4 to 6 short cuts into the edge of the lower part – each 1 cm length.
I used old plastic fruit boxed for handling. It make sense if you find a solution to place the bottles in a safe way – wind – and to allow the free flow of excess water. You should fill up each bottle with rainwater till you see the water inside the cap before you insert soil.
Your plant soil you can mix out of forest soil, sand, mother soil, humus, compost soil. In these times – March 2020 in Europe – you might not be able to create the best soil, but these circumstances should teach you to focus the best possible solution. Maybe your salad will be not so big or your onion not so tasty, it doesn’t mapper.
If you set up your garden on your terrace, be aware of the final payload. A normal floor inside a flat supports between 1,5 kN/m² (150 kg/m²) and 2,5 kN/m² (250 kg/m²). In Europe 3 kN/m² (300 kg/m²) is mostly supported for a terrace or balcony. You should check this before you set up a large garden on your place. In my case – like you see in the Foto above – i have to calculate 1,8 kN/m² (180 kg/m²) in case of a heavy rain event!
And where is the social art here? In times like this – i name it times of reconstruction – i feel very happy and i am full of humility that i can work as an artist. I was looking for logistical and technical solutions when i was a young child to protect my plants in my little green house. I used this PET bottle solution in some workshops with youth in Europe in the last years and i am happy to deliver some ideas to my friends in Belgium now. The design is based on a solution from Cecile Thevenot (Permacultura Penyflor) and modified a bit.
These times will be seen as times in which the society will need creative and realistic solutions. I am happy to contribute to this. I use this little web blog as a tool to paint. My art work is a message. And the message is: we will survive. And we will learn a lot about ourselves, our needs and re-adjust our priority lists. I will continue this posts in the next days…
Thanks to Eline and Ruben, for giving me a reason to publish this. They where helping a lot in our color garden some years ago and its a pleasure to give back something. I will return in this garden tomorrow and i will work with an new generation for the food for tomorrow, to deliver the most important message now: There is a – tasty – tomorrow.
Today our local mayor – following national law – limited public access and even interaction with officials. The world, and specially countries like Italy, France and Spain are experiencing a unique challenge driven by COVID-19.
We decide based on our past and we will be judged based on our future.
Juan Petry, artist
All life is falling back to privacy in flats and houses. We are living in a little village in the countryside and we are happy to stay over the day in our big garden, full of flowers, salads, vegetables and fruits.
Every person is triggered by love or fear. Both are implemented into our thoughts to motivate us. But only love leads us to arrive in a joyful future.
anonymus, artist and friend of CASAdelDRAGON
On one side its right to follow the law and to limit social contacts, on the other side there is a big impact even for youth. The new generation is passing a fundamental lession about their relation to other people and to nature at all.
Actually we are planting vegetables in our garden. We trust in a future, and we deliver confidence to a new generation. We will share what we will harvest and we will give to those who need it.
And we enjoy the solidarity between the inhabitants of our beautiful village in Castellon.
Maria Isabel, archeologist from Swiss, living in Spain offer her second workshop in the color garden of CASAdelDRAGON in Cervera del Maestre. This workshop will be about prehistoric illumination and light.
In a 3 hour session you will experience how to assamble material and how to build a light, like the prehistoric people did it 40 – 35.000 years a.DC.
The workshop will be held in the colorgarden / art camp of CASAdelDRAGON. In case of bad weather the workshop will be held in the gallery itself.
Meeting point is 10.30 am at the house of the Dragon (Calle Las Parras) or 11 am at the color garden 1000m down the hill from Cervera del Maestre.
You are interested? Great. Please announce your partizipation till 10.04.2020 12am via email (juan / at / petry . eu) or use WhatsApp 0049 160 99131933 (artsurpriseme).
Agnieszka Merta is a mother (of a 4 years old boy) and an artist. She is living in UK and Spain and she will offer a workshop about drawing and painting and sculpturing based on natural materials and inspired by nature.
I like to invite your children for a very special art class where our creative energy is inspired by nature. We will draw, paint and sculpt looking at the nature around us in the FamiliaFeliz community garden in Cervera del Maestre.
The sky, the ground, the trees and animals around us have always been inspiration for artists! Let your child imagination go, grow and blossom. Hope to see you soon
Agnieszka Merta, Artist
The workshop is created and held by a mother and professionally trained artist. The fee of 10 Euros per children includes all used materials. We will meet 26.04.2020 at 11 am in the color garden (or in case of bad weather events inside the CASAdelDRAGON).
For further information and answers to your questions please contact the artist directly: WhatsApp +447984458808 or mail agymerta/at/gmail.com.
As part of the artistic and social project of CASAdelDRAGON in 2020 we invite you for one very special art & cooking event. Sunday 25.04.2020 at 11am we will meet in the color garden of familiafeliz. We will cook together in a two hour session and enjoy after the color garden and art camp of CASAdelDRAGON.
The workshop is open for vegan & vegetarian friends as well as for those who eat meat!
This event is linked to previous events in Spain and Germany and also to the upcoming exhibition in the house of the dragon.
You are interested? Great. Please announce your partizipation till 20.04.2020 12am via email (juan / at / petry . eu) or use WhatsApp 0049 160 99131933 (artsurpriseme).
We expect a contribution of 10 Euros for buying the food and drinks. The workshop itself is free of charge. Meeting points are 10.30am at CASAdelDRAGON Calle Las Parras,19 12578 Cervera del Maestre or 11am inside the art camp in the color garden (1000m down the hill from CASAdelDRAGON).
experimental cooking – smoked out of tajine participative art event CASAdelDRAGON Las Parras,19 12578 Cervera del Maestre Castellon
Start 11am / Duration 2+4 hours / 10 Euros for food and drinks per person / limited places / Apply till 20.04.2020 12am