Thursday, May 26, 2011


When the first edition of Golden Gate Gardening was published, gardeners throughout San Francisco had a resource rooted in the soil of our home; the chapters of this manual tended by a gardener and educator Pamela Pierce. This seminal work continues to inspire, empower and support gardeners all over the city, from small scale planters on balconies to 2.2 acre urban farms in the heart of San Francisco, Pam Pierce is a legend to those of us with green thumb!

She contacted Graze the Roof recently in regards to offering the garden tomato plants. Pam Pierce was not just offering any tomato plants, she was offering diverse varieties known for resisting late blight (a disease that can negatively affect the health and harvest of a tomato plant) and for thriving in the unique microclimates of San Francisco. These are plants that Pam started in her laboratory at City College of San Francisco. Thank you Pam!

Pam's research and writing can be found at :

Today was a beautiful day on the roof; sunshine and a cool, refreshing breeze encouraged productivity, camaraderie and creativity. Around noon we were joined by members of the Glide staff who decided to organize a communal picnic lunch and enjoy it on the roof together. Their picnic (as you can see in the photo) was colorful and delicious!

Heirloom lettuce is thriving, carrots have sprouted, tomatos stand tall, peas are flowering, kales are developing and the garden has new lessons for us every week. Tis the season to grow, and to garden. Join us EVERY THURSDAY 11a-2pm!

See you on the roof!

Next workshop is scheduled for June 18th: Integrated Pest Management - The natural way to manage garden pest. Contact to register.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
Throw some fava beans on the grill, they're superb! Read more...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bioregionalism and Discoveries throughout the Tenderloin

Bioregions are defined by Peter Berg Director of Planet Drum as "Life-Place," a cultural and natural landscape where one lives. Connecting to our "Life-Place," is integral to developing understanding of and appreciation for the natural world and how we as human beings inhabiting bioregions can support the greater equilibrium of Place.

In the workshop at Graze the Roof on Saturday, Peter invited us to make a map of the places where we live. We were asked, draw the closest water body to where you sleep, to draw/label native flora and fauna, to draw the type of soil that dominates the land where you live, the highest peaks near your home, and the best and worst contributions of humans to their respective bioregions. Each participant's map had it's own unique flavor and character. I was filled with a deep sense of inquiry, wondering aloud how I, a passionate steward of the natural world, a gardener, an educator did not know the answers to many of these seemingly fundamental questions about Living in Place. I came to the conclusion that this was the beginning of a practice. These questions are opportunities to learn more about the Place that I live and feel so connected to, a chance to discover the layers of beauty that make the Bioregion of Northern California such a special place to be from and to live.

After a morning of mapping we began our journey onto rooftops and into the streets of the Tenderloin to explore the different projects that support the ecological balance, habitat, beauty, community and education. We toured Graze the Roof, and the rooftop garden atop the CW House next door to Glide Memorial Church's Foundation Building.

From the rooftops to the streets. We walked toward a project on Ellis called the Tenderloin National Forest. An alley that has been stewarded by artists since 1989; it is now a community commons, where people of all ages can gather for public art, performance, experimental art projects and classes connected to supporting this inner city garden and art space. I was overwhelmed to discover such a radiant project embodying transformation. When we arrived, the forest was brimming with artists busy at work creating a Hydro-Labratory, water features, tending to succulents and shrubbery, warming themselves by the earthen oven and hanging signs made from recycled materials. It was phenomenal!

Connecting to the Places we Live inspires stewardship, community and possibility! Read more...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bees and Basil!

The morning and early afternoon sparkled! Warm sunshine and bright blue skies supported the freshening of garden beds and the spring planting of six different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and basil plants, as well as dozens of sweat pea plants delicious fava beans!!!

Thank you to Purple Carrot, Flatland Flower Farm and Occidental Arts and Ecology center for your donations of fava beans, carrot seeds, pea plants and the robust and vibrant plant sales over the weekend where much of our new plants have come from!

As we were enjoying a picnic lunch at the center table, nursing students from the health clinic joined us, and we found ourselves in joyful conversation. It is wonderful when the greater Glide staff community makes use of the rooftop garden, as a place to harvest seasonal produce, learn new skills, develop appreciation for the natural world and growing cycle as well as build community!!!

Paul Koski, our resident Bee Keeper, called as we were finishing lunch and said he'd drop by to install the bees!!! We were thrilled and prepared for Paul's arrival. He came with a wooden bee box(hive) all taped up. He said this infant bee colony had been settling into this new hive for about a week. Paul informed us that an infant bee colony such as ours, most likely holds 7000-7500 bees!!! This colony could support up to 60,000 bees! Wow!

As we were observing the bees during the installation, we discovered the queen and lots of healthy larvae.

Paul will come back to check on the bees in about two weeks!

Bee well!

:)