Z178: Z Axis

Today I want to pass along some images and links to think about gardening and farming differently. We are not used to considering the vertical space, the Z axis for our growing food. It is time. It is past time. Anyone who has read my blog knows I am a fan of green roofs. I want a green roof above my humble abode in the worst way. But, it goes further than that with me. I think that it just makes sense to maximize space, to sequester the carbon in the atmosphere (the home) and to allow growing things to serve many functions.

A word about sequesting carbon. This is a brief description of regenerative agriculture from Wikipedia. This is no more than a thumbnail of an extremely large topic not discussed enough in the corporate media.
A carbon dioxide (CO2) sink is a carbon dioxide reservoir that is increasing in size, and is the opposite of a carbon dioxide "source". The main natural sinks are:
  1. the oceans' biological pump and
  2. plants and other organisms that use photosynthesis to remove carbon from the atmosphere by incorporating it into biomass and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
The process by which carbon dioxide sinks (natural and artificial) remove CO2 from the atmosphere is known as carbon sequestration.

And this . . .

Regenerative agriculture, if practiced on the planet’s 3.5 billion tillable acres, could sequester up to 40% of current CO2 emissions.[snip] Agricultural carbon sequestration has the potential to substantially mitigate global warming impacts. When using biologically based regenerative practices, this dramatic benefit can be accomplished with no decrease in yields or farmer profits. Organically managed soils can convert carbon dioxide from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. In 2006, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion were estimated at nearly 6.5 billion tons. If a 2,000 lb/ac/year sequestration rate was achieved on all 434,000,000 acres (1,760,000 km²) of cropland in the United States, nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide would be sequestered per year, mitigating close to one quarter of the country's total fossil fuel emissions. This is the emission-cutting equivalent of taking one car off the road for every two acres under 21st Century regenerative agricultural management.
The examples below are for larger scale farming, like the first example in the urban setting to the micro scale within a home or apartment like the last two.

Farming and shade for urban public space.

Gardening within large scale greenhouses. The concept of effective use of space is a compelling one. I continue to think about how to retrofit the acres of grocery stores and other retail structures – to grow food rather than sell things. But, after looking at the website, this outfit seems pretty creepy and factory-like. I question the materials and the highly mechanized and sterile process. It has the feel of Monsanto.

A back yard may already be planted with a garden, but this outdoor room would be a welcome dining, gathering space. It offers shade and privacy as well as plantings. Within a tiny area this might be the only garden someone has. I would love something like this with a deck on top – so I could look out towards the ocean. I have also worked in offices that have a bit of outside space. Something like this for a lunch room, retreat would have been – well, almost humane.

I have adored this kind of a building façade for some time. I am sure I'm not the only fan of the Frenchman, Patrick Blanc who is responsible. Only today did I read within the post’s comments that there are problems with this installation. Apparently, there is the need for intense pesticides and birds have been poisoned. Sounds again like a great concept that needs to be further developed to be sustainable. That to me is a mere formality as it is just a matter of commitment and research.

Vertical Garden DIY The post begins . . .
Ok, not as 'how-to' as I'd like, but a good example of removing the shroud of mystery from vertical greening. From Metropolitan Home, via Dwell, a project that "...shows how one couple planted a vertical patch (above) of echeverias, aeoniums, sedums, and kalanchoes."

Apartment dwellers, homes and offices are all potential setting for this healthy alternative to a dividing wall or even sculpture. These become real ‘living rooms.’

Oh, and here is a student project utilizing vertical space for rainwater havesting (and growing) from the Canadian website Verte.

These all stimulate my imagination on a whole other plane and perspective.

Update: I searched in vain the day I wrote this for another urban example I'd seen of vertical gardening. Days later I found it here.


Kim from Milwaukee said...

OMG, those vertical gardens are incredible!!! I love that patio! This opens up all kinds of ideas for future green companies, and DIYers. Thank you for posting those pictures, this is something even city dwellers like myself could do!!!

katecontinued said...

I was especially thinking of you city dwellers and renters! I am just captivated by this whole new way of seeing plantings.

But then, I am only now really beginning to appreciate the universe of soil and plants. How remarkable that the planted soil can feed us, give us oxygen, clean our water, divide our rooms, insulate our roofs, shade our yards, collect rain, sheild us from UV rays, add color, smell delicious, provide medicine, attract birds, repel predators, filter light, clean the air and make us smile.

Chile said...

My first thought when I saw the living room wall was, "Oh my god, what a watering nightmare!" Seriously.