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edible forest rooftopgarden:
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edible forest rooftopgarden


name: edible forest rooftopgarden
type: rooftop garden
address: vlaamse steenweg 66 brussels 1000 belgium
gps location: 50.8517, 4.34583
dimensions: 20.00x17.00 meter
start date: 2010-03-05
end date: 2014-11-07
webcam: http://thoughtsandtalks.so-on.be/archives/1362
download information: http://so-on.be/SO-ON/OpenGreen/articles/forest_garden.pdf
more information: http://thoughtsandtalks.so-on.be


spring is in the air
date: 2012-03-10
All the bee colonies survived the late and sudden winter cold of februari.
The bees clean out the hives and in front of the landing platform it is a cemetary of dead bee bodies. After the first cleansing flights, the bees start flying out for yet longer foraging flights. But they do not find a lot of food yet. To help them, I am creating a new rooftop garden. The project is called: growing food for the hungry city - but of course, I take only bee friendy vegetables and plants into account.
This weekend of 9 and 10 march, we are planting a real city orchard!
link: http://www.timeinventorskabinet.org/wiki/doku.php/annemie_maes/greenhouse_rooftop_garden

still freezing
date: 2012-02-10
Today is february 10 - 1 week later. It's still freezing -10° and more. The queen in hive #01 is still ponding, the t° in the hive is more than 30°! How can these animals do it, it's a difference of more than 40°.
Till now, all the hives give a (sometimes slight) positive result in t°. I think I will have to feed them supplements, after these several icy weeks - guess that all their food reserves will be gone.
Today repaired the sensors with Balt and Elias. The sensordata of the so-on hives are now logged and available online - not only on the intern network anymore. We will graph them, together with the data of the okno garden beehives, and see what we can learn out of it.
link: http://hive.okno.be:7001

finally winter
date: 2012-02-02
And how! Immediately temperatures of -15°C. This will probably hold on for another 2 weeks. With some snow it gives nice visual results, but I am wondering how the bees are doing in this weater, and I am also a bit afraid about the survival of all the young buds which appeared yet abundantly on all trees.
On the pictures above a view of the edible forest rooftop garden, with the olive trees in the foreground and the beehives in the back. Will the blooming rosemary last till snowy days are over?
The nasturtiums were blooming till now, in the cabin, as the temperatures did not drop below 0 - but now, with the first really cold winter days, they faded away, melting, as ice in the sun.
Also the apple and pear pieces which I hung to dry for mixing in teas later, they could not stand the wet cold and moist weater: mould attacked them and now they look like aliens!
But the freezing cold can maybe be useful for 1 thin: I collected some Rosa canina seeds in Czech Republic last autumn, and the seeds need a period of freezing cold to get waked up from their dormancy. let's hope this works out!

no winter this winter!
date: 2012-01-25
Exited by the extension of the rooftop garden on the parking Dansaert, and the new greenhouse which will arrive soon, I am wandering outside now even in the middle of winter. Actually, there was no real winter yet, temperatures never dropped below zero. Inspecting the garden, I see that all Rosmarinus officinalis herbs will start blooming soon, some of them have yet open flowers! Also the fennels are blooming, and the Calendula officinalis never stopped, and the Fragaria vesca is full of buttons ready to burst open. The malva neglecta (which I pruned back in november) is blooming again with little purple flowers. And in the border of the higher roof, the Centaurea cyanus (cornflower) is blue blue blue ... !

Quercus dentata Carl Ferris Miller
date: 2012-01-14
Today, saturday 14 januari, I decided to move the Daimyo oak (the japanese oak) from behind the garden cabin to the center of the garden. This tree is so beautiful that it is a shame to hide it! I switched it with the field maple - which suits also much better his new spot, and makes a nice mix there with the brambles and the purple willow, and in summer with the hedgerow of Jeruzalem artichokes.
I am so happy that I did it, the oak boosts the garden tremendously and it works so well with the old olive trees.

bibliothèque René Péchère
date: 2011-12-04
September 25th I participated in the Open Garden days organized by the crew of the bibliothèque René Péchère. The edible Forest Rooftop garden had a lot of fans, the people were impressed by the possibilities of an intensive green roof. Later on, they interviewed me on the principles of the rooftop garden and permaculture, and the article makes the number one of their 3-monthly magazine.
Newsletter René Péchère: http://www.bvrp.net/fr-fr/accueil.aspx
Have a look at the movies made by Ushuaïa TV, Rtbf TV and TV Brussel:
link: http://opengreens.net/archives/2665

autumn planting continued
date: 2011-11-24
On thursday 24 november 2011 I changed and replanted following bushes in the garden:
- the elder tree under the japanese oak towards a more open space, next to the Cornus mas
- all Vaccinium corymbosum plants towards the brick wall, where they have more shade and a more 'woody' habitat
- the Rubus fruticosus to the black wall, together with the other (thornless) Rubus fruticosus

I also bought a Viking wood mulcher for muching the branches and twigs into woodchips, in order to have a better decomposition of the compost.
Together with Michel Clinckemaille, I pruned the olive trees and we decided also to cut the Mespilus germanica (mispel) who was grafted on the Crataegus. From now on, the tree will be only a Crataegus ... and I'll have to plant a new Mespilus soon ...

ushuaia garden party
date: 2011-11-22
On november 22nd, The rooftop garden welcomed the crew from the french television chain Ushuaia for the shoot of a documentary on the edible forest rooftop garden.

grow your own ginger
date: 2011-11-22
November 22nd 2011 I bought 2 pieces of ginger - Zinginber officinale - one in the bioshop Den Teepot and onother one in the bio-section of the local supermarket Delhaize.
I potted the pieces in a substrate of potting compost mixed with some lava substrate on the bottom of the pot. Each piece was planted with a nice bud facing upwards, and after approximately 3 weeks inside (20°C) the sprouts should pop up. I'll keep you posted on the evolution!
link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger

more autumn planting
date: 2011-09-24
September 18 I planted a mix of wintersalad in the first raised bed.
It is a mix of: field salad, chervil (kervel), rucola, winter purslane (winterpostelein), beet and garden cress.
The green leaves have to be consumed while they are small and tender.
At the front terrace, in the big container were the pumpkins and zucchini used to grow, I planted a lot of big leaf spinach ( spinacea oleracea).
All of this new seedlings should be consumable soon.

field maple or liquidambar?
date: 2011-09-23
Today a garden specialist told me that the field maple in the rooftop garden is actually a redgum tree, Luiquidambar Styraciflua.
The Latin liquidus (fluid) and the Arabic ambar (amber) in allusion to the fragrant terebinthine juice or gum which exudes from the tree. Its specific epithet styraciflua is an old generic name meaning flowing with styrax (a plant resin). The common name "sweet gum" refers to the species' "sweetish gum" contrasting with the black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), only distantly related, with which the sweet gum overlaps broadly in range. The species is also known as the "red gum", for its reddish bark. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidambar_styraciflua
Is this true or not true?

early autumn planting
date: 2011-09-11
Today is 9/11, and I thought: let's do something special, something positive.
Yesterday I cleaned some of the tomato beds and took out all the old plants and also the ever invasive mint.
I harvested the potatoes (a lot!) and removed the overblown salad plants.
Than I took the mint roots out of the cleaned beds. It's horrible to see how fast mint is spreading, and everytime again I'm surprised by the enormous amount of roots it produces in not even a full season.
I spread out a bit of organic fertilizer, bfore planting new seeds.
In bed 01, next to the herb spiral, I planted big leaf spinach, mixed with a selection of garden beans. I read that they are good companions. I got the beans at the seedmarket this spring, most of them come from German and French bio-producers.
Trockenbush bohnen 'Elsterbohn', Haricots sec nain 'Ernie's Big Eye', Haricots sec nain 'Borlotto' and I planted also the rest of the Mendel beans, forthcoming from the Mendel Museum in Brno, Czech Republic.
In bed 02 I planted turnips (brassica rapa) 'De Croissy' (long white root) and ramenas (raphanus sativus, with round black root). They will need at least 3 to 3,5 months before I can harvest them, so I hope for an Indian summer and a frostfree winter till half december!
In bed 03 I planted winter radish (also raphanus sativus), to be harvested before the first frost.

new animals
date: 2011-09-10
I don't know If I have to be happy or sad with the new animals I discovered in my garden.
I was very happy to see that a rooftop garden -which is in my eyes still an unusual, a bit artificial, place as there was only concrete before the garden- that after 1 year the snails suddenly turned up.
All gardeners I know complain about snails eating their seedlings - and yes, probably I will complain too - but at the other hand I thought: yes! even an artificial setup turns into selfsustainable nature after a (short) while.
The second (unwanted) animals are mice. This family - I hope it's only 1 family! - becomes more and more confident in their rooftop habitat, and they are not afraid to come into the greenhouse while I'm busy working there. More: apparantly they are not afraid any more to come into the house. Often I see a fast moving grey thing running by, a second later it's gone or hidden.
Maybe I should finally take a cat in the house?

beehive 02 swarming at the end of summer!
date: 2011-09-07
While I was in Czech Republic for the Kravin workshops, the bees from hive 02 swarmed. I discovered this on september 7th, when I was doing a routine inspection of all hives.
I don't know the exact day it happened, but it must have been while I was abroad, thus between 21st and 31st of august.
On september 7th, there was no brood or no eggs in the hive. I did the test and I hung a broodframe with young eggs from hive 01 in hive 02, to check if the bees would build a queens cell.
After 3 days I controlled them again, and: no red cell. So there should be a young queen in the hive. I hope that she still can get fertilized, as it is already late in the season and almost alll drones are gone. And the weather is not that good neither for a nuptial flight ...

garden products august 2011
date: 2011-08-18
August harvest month. I started too late with the vegetables this year, harvest comes alll together. There are Cucumbers (not a lot) and Zucchini. The leaves of the zucchioni plants suddenly turned white, I think because of the abrupt temperature changes, warm and showers.
Spring was too hot, and summer was to wet. Actually a good climate for mushrooms, but the Stropharia's are not doing well. Some of them popped up, but when I discovered them they were eaten by -I think- the little mice that live in the compost heap.
There are a lot of cherry tomatoes of all colours: pearly pink, clementines (yellow), black cherries, red pear. Several Pumpkins are growing in the compost heap, as well as Jeruzalem Artichokes.
The brambles are doing fine, the raspberries did not well in spring but there is a second harvest coming up. The blueberry (vaccinium corymbosum) plants had to be transplanted to a cooler place in the garden (next to the brick wall), the couldn't stand the heat of the hot spring sun.
The fig tree is growing at the speed of light, but in spring there were no figs at all (contrary to last year). Now a second harvest is coming up, but they won't get ripe anymore.
All herbs are doing fine, and the apple tree looks like a fairy-tale tree out of Snowwhite ...

garden observation
date: 2011-08-16
The 'weeds' or the wild plants have a very defined pattern. Year after year we see how the pioneers change and are taken over by other 'invasive' plants.
link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Mabey

garden products july 2011
date: 2011-07-06
recipe: sea wolf or catfish with fresh herbs from the garden

garden products june 2011
date: 2011-06-02
Beginning of june 2011, first honey extraction of the 2011/12 season. The honey is multi flower taste and very light of colour. I saw the bees foraging a lot on the nepeta, and also on wild sinapis alba flowers in the Rue du Chien Marin.
Second extraction middle of july. As usual, the summer honey has a taste of linden with a light mint after flavour. The colour is much darker than the spring honey.
Third extraction middle of august, before starting the winter feeding and varroa treatment. Late summer honey still has a linden flavour. The first honey from the Bodegem hive has some citrus taste in it.

list of the weeds and wild flowers in the so-on rooftopgarden - 2011
date: 2011-06-01
tussilago farfara - klein hoefblad
oxalis corniculata - gehoornde klaverzuring
calendula officinalis - goudsbloem
taraxacum officinale - paardenbloem
veronica persica - grote ereprijs
veronica verna - kleine ereprijs
papaver rhoeas - grote klaproos
viola tricolor - driekleurig viooltje
bellis perennis - madeliefje
borago officinalis - bernagie
phacelia - phacelia
lactuca serriola - kompassla
salvia verbenaceae - kleinbloemige salie, veldsalie
epilobium hirsutum - harig wilgenroosje
centranthus ruber - rode spoorbloem
conyza canadensis - canadese fijnstraal
leonorus cardiaca - agripaume, hartgespan
sedum acre - muurpeper
artemisia vulgaris - bijvoet (alsem)
epilobium roseum - basterdwederik
sedum reflexum - tripmadam
lotus corniculatus - gewone rolklaver
prunella vulgaris - gewone brunel
silene latifolia subsp. alba - avondkoekoeksbloem
persicaria maculosa - perzikkruid
galinsoga parviflora - kaal knopkruid
medicago lupulina - hopklaver
senecio inaequidens - bezemkruiskruid
agastache foeniculum - dropplant
senecio vulgaris - klein kruiskruid
solanum nigrum - zwarte nachtschade
chenopodium album - melganzevoet
matricaria recutita - echte kamille
achillea ptarmica - wilde bertram
achillea millefolium - duizendblad
verbena officinalis - ijzerhard
verbena subsp.bonariensis - verbena
tanacetum vulgare - boerenwormkruid
setaria viridis - groene naaldaar
chenopodium pumilio - liggende ganzenvoet
plantago lanceolata - smalle weegbree
malva neglecta - klein kaasjeskruid
eruca sativa - ruccola
anthemis tinctoria - gele kamille
mentha spicata - spearmint - aarmunt
epilobium montanum - bergbasterdwederik
stellaria media - vogelmuur
rumex obtusifolius - ridderzuring
senecio viscosus - kleverig kruiskruid
sonchus oleraceus - gewone melkdistel
trifolium pratense - red clover
daucus carota - wild carrot
buddleja davidii - butterfly bush
sinapis alba - white mustard
galingosa quadriradiata - fringed quickweed
cerastium glomeratum - mouse ear chickweed

garden products may 2011
date: 2011-05-17
- melt 100ml olive oil, 20g beeswax and 30g cacao butter au bain marie.
- add 10g fresh calendula flower petals
- take the glass out of the water, cover it with a cloth and leave it for 2 days
- heat the mix till the substance is fluid again
- sift through a cloth and press well
- put the substance in a small recipient to stiffen up till creamy.
- put 1/3 lavender flowers in a glass pot
- fill the rest with olive oil and leave it for 10 days in a sunny windowsill
- filter the substance through a cloth and press well
- add the same amount of almond oil and mix
- keep the oil in a dark bottle and use in a few months
- soak 20g rose petals in 2,5dl almond oil for at least 5 days in a sunny place
- filter the oil from the petals and press well
- heat the substance au bain marie and add 20g of beeswax
- mix the fluid with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of vitamine E-oil
- put the substance in a small pot and store in a cool place

spring 2011 garden observations
date: 2011-04-24
Nepeta and Vaccinium Corymbosum are both very good honey plants. The bees visit them continuously.
Weed of the moment is Lactuca Serriola (kompaskruid), they pop up on the most impossible places, by preference next to a wall or protected by something.
I planted for the first time potatoes (24/4), Sarpo Mira, a species that should be resistant to the potato disease.
We transplanted the young Tomato and Basilicum seedlings in bigger pots.
What's the difference for me between a weed and a wild flower? The weed is not a good honey plant, and the wild flower is.
Wild flowers this springtime are the sprankling Papaver Rhoeas (in abundance) and the delicate, modest Salvia Verbenaca spreading around the herb spiral.
The pigeons eat all the cabbage seedlings (white and green cabage, paksoi, cauliflower and broccoli) and I give up. There are the big black crows to help me defend the garden: they estimate it's their domain and they fight with the big fat pigeons to death! The sparrows fly away with the feathers of the pigeon to build their nest. They are chasing each other through the olive trees.

garden products april 2011
date: 2011-04-17
The plastic bag is filled with willow woodchips mixed with Pleurotus Ostreatus spawn.
It took 4 weeks for the mycellium to overgrow the woodchips.
The 5th week, the mushrooms started to come out the fissures in the plastic bag.
During 5 days and 5 nights I took every 30 minutes a picture of the growing mushrooms.
We can see them grow at a steady pace.
The timelapse movie a nice example of a natural time bending process.
For several days we experimented with several mushroom recipes, int.al. garlic mushroom soup.

bio-diverse tuin
date: 2010-10-18
Wim Van den Bossche van Natuurpunt bezocht de edible forest rooftop garden in het kader van het Radio 1 programma Peeters & Pichal/ de tuin met de meeste biodiversiteit.
Hij merkte volgende vogels op in de daktuin:
kokmeeuw, zwarte kraai, houtduif, ekster, rotsduif (stadsduif), huismus, merel, heggenmus, spreeuw, witte kwikstaart, vink, sijs, keep, veldleeuwerik, graspieper.
Ook radde hij aan een nestkast te hangen voor de bedreigde zwarte roodstaart.
link: http://natuurpunt.be/zwarteroodstaart