The Great I-96 Bean Caper!

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The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« on: April 03, 2007, 07:22:02 PM »
I'll be planting pole beans (etc) along the south side of I-96 between Telegraph and West Outer Drive next week.

I'd very much like to suggest that others living in large cities take similar steps. Any vining crop will work, but beans and peas will make a point of looking for support and beans like heat. They are GREAT sources of protein and can be planted simply by dropping the seeds alongside the fence whilst walking next to it.

Some of the seeds will go to mice. Some of the plants will end up inside rabbits. The rest will feed people. The part left by the people will feed birds through the winter. The seeds missed by the birds will re-sow in the spring.

Make a start. Plant a mile this spring.

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Yomamabinrotten

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2007, 12:37:19 AM »
I can remember playing along the Jeffries Freeway when it was still under construction!  Are you planing just along the service drive, or are you going down to the freeway itself?

When I lived nearby, I participated in the annual Rouge Rescue, usually at Eliza Howell Park, right in the vicinity of your planting. Is that part of the Rouge River just as neglected as it was ten years ago?

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2007, 02:49:43 AM »
I'm going to be planting along the service drive fence. The county usually does a bang up job of ignoring it. ;-)

I'm also going to grab some bird seed and toss it at the edges of the bushes the county euphemistically calls 'landscaping'.

Don't know if you are aware of it, but there are deer and coyote living along the banks of the mighty Rouge River.

You said you played along the edge of the Jeffries when it was being built. Would you happen to recall who once lived at the SW corner of 96 & W. Outer Dr.? My congregation just built there and it would be neat if I could invite the former occupants of the land to the dedication of the building.

It's at 12500 West Outer Drive. Google Earth shows an empty field with a swath mown across it. -I- mowed that swath. ;-) There's a building there now and a parking lot and a lake (under the parking lot!). I, with the help of one other Brother, maintain the property. Off to the right there is a solitary tree. It was a diseased pear and you can see what I made of it in my gallery at http://nmwoodworks.com

What kind of neighborhood was it when you lived here?

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Yomamabinrotten

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2007, 10:53:29 PM »
I do not know who lived at that corner.

The old neighborhood of Brightmoor when I lived there in the 1960's was a lower-to-middle class, blue collar, predominantly white area of the city, and there were houses on nearly every lot.

My address was 14540 Braile (a few lots north of Lyndon). On my last visit there (summer 2000, I believe) it was a vacant lot, and the only remaining feature from my time there was...a pear tree! My father planted it around 1963. It was still bearing fruit when I last saw it, but only Yellow Jackets and ants had any interest in eating the pears from that tree.   

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2007, 11:18:48 PM »
I'll see about getting over there this week to see what's new. Yeah ... rough neighborhood. O am a Jehovah's Witness and I think that, over the past couple of years, I've knocked on something over 1/2 the doors.

That neighborhood is all but totally dead ... drugs and an intensely crappy educational system have killed it. The one fed off the other and, combine, have sucked the life blood out of the area.

The county is about to tear up the park at I-96 for a waste pumping station. They tell us reassuring things about it. Wanna give me odds on ANY of it being true?

There are some new houses going up, but they are predominantly the "Habitat for Humanity" cardboard castles.

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2007, 07:42:57 PM »
*three cheers*

Glad to see some Michigan action... even if it is waaay down state hehe .... If you're ever planning a up north let me know =)
A weed is but an unloved flower. ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2007, 09:12:26 PM »
I don't know 'bout coming up there for a planting ... but I like to camp at Sleeping Bear Nat. Forest. My wife has a thing for lighthouses and you can go up inside the one in Benzie.

We haven't been up there since we saw a cougar less than a mile from the campground. Even inside a campground, she's not too keen on sleeping inside a fabric bag with a major predator in the area.

Yeah ... THAT cougar ... the one the DNR says doesn't exist. It bloody well DOES! He crossed the road maybe 100 yards in front of us about dusk. All 9+ feet of him.

We've been up to Traverse Bay ... whereabouts are you? (Save me some cherry branches ... I'm a wood turner)

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2007, 03:18:17 PM »
Bill, that is awesome that you saw a cougar! What a privilage!

I grew up in Kalamazoo, and we would also vacation in the Luddington and Sleeping Bear Dunes areas. I was named after the Point Betsie Lighthouse too =)

My husband and I live in the Marquette area... sorry, no cherries up here... we're planting several fruit trees this year though (apple, apricot, pear, plum) and setting up a honey bee hive.

~ Betsie

A weed is but an unloved flower. ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 03:34:48 AM »
Umm ... so your name is "Point"?  ;)

I noticed your sig when you first posted to this thread. When I took a class in agrostology at Oakland County (Mi) CC, I was told that, in strictly botanical terms, "A weed is a plant growing out of place."

Which means that my beans (meant as a salve for the poor) will be weeds in the eyes of those charged with the care of the fences.

Oh well ... I'm going to give it a try starting next week.

Inspiration has also hit me to scatter birdseed at the fringes of the shrubbed areas alongside the freeway.

SOME will sprout.

It really bothers me that cities are so inhospitable to life ... human and otherwise. Maybe I can make Detroit a tiny bit less-so.

Maybe we all can do the same wherever we happen to be.  Something important was lost when city dwellers, by the droves, gave up their backyard plots. Now, only a few of us grow vegetables in our yards and are generally looked down upon as being too poor to afford 'good' food.

All I have to do is to look at the difference in heart attack rates between meat-eaters and vegetarians to see that the ones who eat what they grow are the wealthy ones.

It is such a simple strategy to plant a wide variety of crops. It confuses the bugs to no end and all but guarantees that every year SOMETHING will do well.

Tip: interplant hot peppers (I prefer habaneros) with everything. Bugs want NOTHING to do with habs!

Bill

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Yomamabinrotten

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2007, 09:53:27 PM »
     I see that you like wood carving. I used to belong to the Livonia Woodcarver's Club, where I specialized in marquetry (I haven't had much time for that since I moved to Wyoming in 2001). I did some marquetry pictures of a few Michigan lighthouses, but most of them turned out unsatisfactory, at least in my opinion. The Squaw Island Lighthouse (northern Lake Michigan) turned out OK.  I also turned a few objects, but I no longer have my lathe.

     In the vacant lots in Detroit I noticed that there were fruit trees in many places, most notably, mulberries! The fruits get eaten by birds, who then spread the seeds into new areas.

     I planted about fifty Pawpaw seeds near the banks of the Rouge, from around McNichols to around Lyndon, I wonder if any of them are now trees. They produce edible fruit, but they are not seen in produce sections of supermarkets due to their short shelf-life.

     Earlier today, I (with the help of about 150 other volunteers) cleaned up trash and debris from an empty lot which will soon be David R. Romero South Cheyenne Community Park. It is mostly semi-arid prairie, but there is a minor creek and a marsh. Amongst other things, I pulled out four old tires from the marshy area.

    I have a very small garden of my own, but habaneros are going to be my main crop this year (I'm a hot sauce addict).

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2007, 07:40:19 AM »
If I get a chance, I'm going to look for those paw-paws. I'm presuming that guerrilla gardening includes harvesting. ;-0

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2007, 04:53:20 AM »
Just to update the thread ...

I got the beans planted a few days ago. Yeah, yeah ... they are late, but life has been pretty hectic recently so I am glad I finally got a chance to sow them at-all.

All I did was walk along the freeway fence (in the rain ... gotta seize each moment!) and drop the seeds on the side with the most earth. It has rained some every day since, so maybe my efforts will bear some sort of 'fruit'.

I need to find a better place to buy the seeds ... the place where I bought these wanted $1.00 per 3 oz. scoop and that can get pricey quickly. I did notice that the un-picked beans from last year started new plants in my home garden, so I am thinking that maybe beans should be considered a self-seeding annual. If so, then I should be able to extend the range a little further each year. This year, I only got about 100 yards. If they will re-seed sufficiently, then next year I can add another 100 yards and so on and on.

I notice that most folks prefer to plant ornamentals. My choice is to plant food. In my own front yard I planted some wild-flower mix from a can ... and used okra as a border. ;-)

Ever see an okra flower? It's huge and beautiful. Dill makes a great big fluffy (and aromatic) green mass similar to asparagus, but often larger. Scarlet beans will climb a trellis ... or an embankment. Salvia officionalis (cooking sage) makes compact silvery-green aromatic bushes. Strawberries could be used as a ground cover. Many herbs have forms and colors that lend themselves to landscape placement.

If you are going to guerrilla garden, don't over look these possibilities (and there are certainly many more like them). This way, those stumbling upon your work -and knowing what they are looking at- will benefit in additional ways.

Re: The Great I-96 Bean Caper!
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2007, 05:14:38 AM »
     I see that you like wood carving. I used to belong to the Livonia Woodcarver's Club, where I specialized in marquetry (I haven't had much time for that since I moved to Wyoming in 2001).
   
I have a very small garden of my own, but habaneros are going to be my main crop this year (I'm a hot sauce addict).

Any day now I expect the DHS to start pulling hab seeds off the shelves in the interests of national security.  They most certainly DO qualify as "munitions"!

I just recently got well into my first carving project. I made a 'vin ordinaire' bowl from box elder and am carving a vine & leaf pattern around its sides. It is pierced work in full relief and is being done primarily as an educational project.

I can highly recommend the Proxxon reciprocal carver. Now, to figure out how to duplicate the factory sharpness ... which was mighty close to a razors edge ... and I have the Band-Aid wrappers to prove it!

I have been to a couple LWC shows. On the whole, a very talented group! I am working hard to get several 'artistic' pieces ready for November. That's when I am first eligible for jurying into The Guild (The Guild of Artists and Artisans ... Ann Arbor Art Fair, etc). The wooden stuff they are presently showing on their web site makes this look like "low-hanging fruit" ... but I'm not getting my hopes up too high for my first submission ... my actual goal / expectation is to be rejected the first year and accepted the second go-round.