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Roots in Downtown LA--2014

February 18, 2014

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This is my son Tim’s rooftop garden in Downtown LA. 

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He lives in the Arts District, a gritty mix of creatives and commercial. Hipsters abound. His live-work loft space is in a hundred year old warehouse.

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This is last year’s winter rooftop garden and you can read more about that here for the how-to.

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This year’s garden began with a plan I devised for the larger garden box, measuring 3 feet by 8 feet by 1 foot, that Tim had in mind.

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Tim built the box on the roof, carrying all the tools, materials and soil up a 12 foot metal utility ladder from his rustic loft. It takes a lot of soil to fill a box this big.

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Here’s the garden after the initial planting December 21 which included: chard, Tuscan and Red Russian kale, broccoli, mustard greens, arugula, romaine, butter and mesclun lettuce, beets, carrots and radishes.

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Tim installed a simple drip system that runs for three minutes three times a day to minimize water running through the box.

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This is the garden six weeks after planting when I visited Tim. I think he has the gardener gene. 

Here are more shots of his garden.

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Tim’s roots run deep in Downtown LA. I wrote this poem last year when I saw his first rooftop garden.

Roots in Downtown LA

Even in downtown LA,
Amidst century old warehouses,
There is opportunity
To do the improbable.

To grow lettuce on his warehouse roof,
Daily my son climbs the metal utility ladder
In his rustic loft, hefting a jug of water,
Surveying the skyline and nurturing a dream.

His roots, like those of his lettuce,
Are in Downtown LA.
One hundred years ago, his grandfather’s grandfather
Also did the improbable—

Moving a family of eleven
From a gritty Pennsylvania city,
By train, to Downtown LA
In search of opportunity.

–Susan Martin

You may also enjoy Open Ground, an essay I wrote about gardens, community and opportunity in the city. 

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