It's February, and although just a few weeks ago I was posting about how cold it is, and how good soup is on a cold day, it is now warm. At nights, the temperatures hover above freezing; during the day, it is warm enough to almost wear short sleeves. And so, I've taken the cover off the collards, and there they were. I sowed the seeds for these collards sometime in September, and by November, the leaves were big enough for us to eat for a meal. They're planted in a large drawer, which doesn't really allow them that much room, but they seemed to be doing so well when it got cold for the winter, that I just covered them with a bedraggled scrap of plastic, pinned the plastic down with stray bricks, and all but forgot about them until a couple weeks ago. And they're doing just fine, aside from a few spots eaten away by the persistent slugs.
Yes, the collards are growing out of a large drawer. The garlic, Egyptian Walking Onion, and oregano (above) are also in drawers, albeit smaller ones. (The other two in this location are empty for now, but I think they will make good homes for herbs in the near future.)
There is an abandoned school on our street--just on the next block; the building has been standing vacant since the '80s, and we started exploring it shortly after we moved into this house. One of the more interesting rooms in the building is a large home-economics classroom--it has three stations, each with a sink, counter space, and empty spaces where the ovens used to be; one of the stations has an old dishwasher, even! Directly beyond the classroom is a storage area, with shelves and drawers. On one of our exploratory visits to the school, it occurred to me that the drawers would make great make-shift raised-beds, and we started taking some of the drawers to our back yard. They're not very sturdy once filled with dirt and exposed to "the elements," but we don't expect to be living in this (rented) house for all that long, and they will suffice for our purposes.
Part of the reason for scavenging is that we just can't afford to pay for all the supplies for our small garden: we've bought tools, and some materials, and dirt, but the drawers have certainly helped out. Another reason for using found materials is that, as Katie declares in the latest Urban Land Scouts blog post, "I believe that thrift is a virtue and waste is a sin." The school is becoming more and more unsafe as it succumbs to the destruction of nature and pot-smoking vandals (and scavengers like us). There was some construction going on there over a year ago, but stopped almost as soon as it started; the building is destined either for slow decomposition or demolition. And the drawers are materials that would otherwise be going to waste...
And the collards seem to like it fine in the drawer; I sowed arugula in the drawer adjacent to it, and it's coming up quite happily, although the sprouts are too little yet to even photograph.