Friday, April 17, 2015

The modern face of urban gardening

At the forefront of the urban gardening movement in Washington DC are people like our friends Linda and Ēriks with Urban Farm Plans. In less than three years they have turned their backyard into a teaching garden, as well as started a business around building composters and greenhouses - and they’re making headlines doing it. It was on our recent trip to the nation’s capital that we had the opportunity to stop in for a visit, and just as wonderful as it was seeing good friends again was gaining inspiration from their garden – productive and growing, even in March.

I’ve wanted to see this backyard farm for myself ever since I first saw a picture of the garden gate, the beams crossing overhead bringing to mind the Latvian Jumis sign. The pagan deity Jumis represents fertility and a good harvest, and a jumja zīme over the entryway is sure to bring prosperity and luck to such a well-tended garden.

Photo: Linda

Although we started off indoors, catching up over coffee (and an elderberry/shitake cordial for the boys, but don’t worry, I made sure to get a taste as well!), it couldn’t be helped that we quickly moved outdoors. Drawn to the garden, Lauris and Mikus made themselves at home, exploring every corner of the yard and inspecting all the new growth while munching on freshly-picked kale. (With all the kale being consumed at our house this last week a frequent comment has been “I don’t like this kale as well as Ēriks’ kale…”)

As I asked question after question on how the garden had come to be, what they have planted and growing where, how they harvest and preserve, and on their future plans, I marveled at just how fully the space was utilized within the backyard. With a parking area taking up a portion of their yard they joined forces with a neighbor, doubling the space suitable for gardening. What isn’t used for growing is given over to composting, storing gardening supplies and building compost bins and hothouses. We got a peek inside one of the hothouses, and I admired a second greenhouse constructed out of an old door. Then there were the compost bins; with solid construction yet easy-to-use functionality, I’ve been mentally reworking our system at home trying to come up with something with the same aesthetics and durability.

While we were poking around Ēriks’ brother Andrejs showed up. In on the endeavor since the beginning, his enthusiasm for the future of their venture is contagious, and it was easy to get excited right along with him for where they’re headed this growing season. I’m looking forward to updates on the garden as well as the online how-to tutorials for DIY compost bins. These guys have a great team, a fantastic garden and boundless room to grow –especially with Jumis blessing the gate

Linda and Ēriks have a portfolio of their work as well as more information on their services on their website, Also make sure to visit their brand new facebook page for seasonal info and inspirational photos!


  1. I loved seeing/ reading about this cool project, Liene!

  2. So cool! And I love it that you're raising kale snobs. ;-)

  3. What a great project.... Your friends obviously have done a good job!!!! I'm sure you got plenty of great ideas from them... I loved Dziesma's comment about raising kale snobs... ha ha


  4. Skaisti, wonderful! I really think there may be a business in neighborhood / community composting. If only I were more energetic


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