All posts tagged Rainwater harvesting

The Parkway Landscaping Report: YES, the Public WILL be Heard!

Drought Tolerant Parkway Curb

 

Will Culver City residents be allowed to put veggies on the parkways abutting their homes?

Can property owners place benches and community library boxes on the parkways without getting fined? 

In these economically challenging times, would a permit fee of $151.50 for installing drought tolerant perennials and succulents in one’s parkway promote or prevent people from removing their thirsty lawn strips? 

How can our city ordinances support best-use of abundant residential parkway public land?

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Transition Guest Booth at 2013 Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase

11375 Matteson Ave. — Showcase Garden #5F — Transition Town Guest Booth

Saturday, April 20, 2013
10 am – 4 pm
SELF-GUIDED TOUR of 100 RESIDENTIAL GARDENS
Throughout our Community!

Tour Maps available at:
Showcase Central — House #4H >>
-or-
Transition Town Guest Booth — House #5F >>
11375 Matteson Avenue, L.A. 90066 

This annual Earth Day event in Mar Vista offers self-guided tours of 100 home gardens that exemplify environmentally friendly alternatives to the classic lawn. These local homeowners, renters, schools and churches have all taken the leap and converted their thirsty green expanses into drought-tolerant landscapes and edible gardens. The tour covers the spectrum from homespun do-it-yourself projects to professionally landscaped environments—including urban farms, sleek architectural hardscapes, composting & vermiculture, rain harvesting, aquaponics, chicken coops, sculpture gardens, hummingbird gardens… you name it! This year’s tour places special emphasis on the critical need for ocean friendly gardens and California native gardens that support much needed pollinators such as honey bees and monarch butterflies. It’s a great day to gather ideas and inspiration for your own future lawn conversion!

The International TRANSITION TOWNS movement will be represented at the special guest booth at house #5F, 11375 Matteson Ave., Los Angeles CA 90066It’s a collaboration between two local chapters: TCC (of course) and our neighbors, Transition Mar Vista/Venice. So if you’re not in a hurry to see the other 99 showcase gardens, there’s plenty of al fresco patio areas here to sit down, pour a lemonade, and hang out to chat with like-minded people about community resilience, food security solutions, permaculture, alternative building, water harvesting, food forests, and much more.

Learn about Transition Mar Vista/Venice’s pay-it-forward Good Karma Gardens work parties—they’re a great way to get started if you want to learn how to grow your own food! And if you need even more motivation to drop by, come by to meet seedling master Matt Van Diepen (of Mar Vista Farmers’ Market fame!) who will be on hand with FREE veggie seedling giveaways and advice on how to include more home-grown edibles in your life.  Owner of Home Grown Gardens L.A., Matt is one of GKG’s skilled project coordinators.

This year, House #5F features dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes, a brilliant display of spring wildflowers, stealth veggies interspersed with drought tolerant natives, meandering flagstone pathways and do-it-yourself bistro-style hardscaping all done under strict budgetary parameters—everything cheap, recycled, scavenged and free!  For helpful Do-It-Yourself tips, read the event report and access the resource links from last year’s Showcase workshop D.I.Y.: Yes You Can!: Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget.

Rainwater Capture

RAINWATER CAPTURE
(SEE VIDEO!)

Another feature at this location is an unusual “hybrid” active and passive urban rainwater harvesting system.  Last winter the homeowners hosted a barn-raising-style Work Party to install the system. (SEE VIDEO HERE!) The volunteer crew, wrangled by Transition-friendly landscape architect John Tikotsky, created a passive diversion “reservoir” to help recharge the aquifer, helped install unique vertical tanks (an alternative to conventional rain barrels) for active catchment, and positioned a subsurface diverter pipe to feed the percolation area. The reservoir berms were planted with California native currants (ribes family) and shade happy leafy greens as the beginnings of an edible food forest understory. All this, in one day—a true demonstration of the power of community!

PEDAL-POWER! FREE BICYCLE PARKING
In efforts to support our community’s shift to a fossil-free future, TCC and our friends at the Culver City Bicycle Coalition are co-hosting a “pop-up” bike corral at House # 5F. Celebrate Earth Day in style: Visitors are invited to lower their carbon footprint by cruising the garden tour by bike!

Showcase maps are available at the Transition Guest Booth or Showcase Central at House #4F at 3635 Grandview Blvd.

2012 Showcase Bike Corral

Movie Night: Alternative Building! — Sat. March 16, 6:45 pm

Quick on the heels of our inspiring fieldtrip to Nader Khalili’s earth-building paradise Cal-Earth, TCC has decided to add an extra movie night to our March events:

GarbageWarrior Poster

TCC Eco-Movie Night:
GARBAGE WARRIOR
Saturday, March 16, 2013  •  6:45 pm – 9:30 pm
WHERE: The Little Blue House
(RSVP TCC for location)
FREE EVENT
BYO drinks, FREE Popcorn!
Stay after for lively discussion.

Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick US architect Michael Reynolds and his fight to introduce radically sustainable housing to the public. An extraordinary tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world.

EarthShip greywater purification system

Imagine a home that heats itself, provides its own water, and grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, and has its own power source. And now imagine that it can be built anywhere, by anyone, out of the things society throws away…

Thirty years ago, architect Michael Reynolds imagined just such a home—then set out to build it. A visionary in the classic American mode, Reynolds has been fighting ever since to bring his concept to the public. He believes that in an age of ecological instability and impending natural disaster, his buildings can—and will—change the way we live. Shot over three years in the USA, India and Mexico, Garbage Warrior is a snapshot of contemporary geo-politics and an inspirational tale of triumph over bureaucracy, as well as an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world. (from IMDb)

Michael Reynolds BioTecture

Michael Reynolds: another innovative architect offering solutions for a more resilient future. Image courtesy of: http://earthship.net/

 

 

Garden Showcase D.I.Y. Talk — Helpful & Inspiring!

A short report on TCC’s participation in Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase which occurred on Earth Day—April 21st, 2012:

The Bike Corral came in handy as the TCC Bike Tour of the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase  arrived en masse at the first garden on their itinerary.

We made it! Michelle leads the TCC Bike Caravan to House #1 on the Green Garden Showcase Tour

 

After lemonade and snacks, the group settled in for TCC’s presentation, “D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget.”   Attendees picked up some helpful tips for finding inexpensive and creative ways to convert a conventional lawn into a drought-tolerant landscape.

This Showcase location exemplifies the D.I.Y. philosophy:  it features a bistro-style patio hardscape, “urbanite” terraces, meandering flagstone walkways and a homemade park bench, dwarf fruit trees & stealth edibles mixed in with drought tolerant natives, plus two methods of rainwater capture—all accomplished D.I.Y. and under strict budgetary parameters (everything cheap, recycled, or free!).

The TCC bike caravan then rode five blocks west to the next Showcase garden on their itinerary, Yuling’s fabulous Chinese herbal garden, before heading to points beyond. Perhaps a full report of the Bike Tour will appear here soon…

Below is some information from the hand-out from D.I.Y. presentation,  including resource links… Enjoy!

• • •
D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Creative Lawn Conversions On a Budget
(Recycled • Used • Repurposed • Unwanted & Abandoned: It’s All Good!)

Presented by Transition Culver City
Saturday, April 21, 2012 • 11:30 a.m.

Design:

•1st Step is Observation: How does nature function on your property thru the seasons? (sun, wind, water).
• Identify your Zones around your home & personal usage patterns
• Will the project be gradual, step-wise, or a grand transformation?

Gathering Materials:

SOIL, COMPOST, MULCH, & OTHER HARDSCAPING MATERIALS:
• Neighbors, Noticing Your Environment, Word of Mouth in the Community
Freecycle, Craig’s List, Free Green Exchange, etc.
Our Time Bank: Sharing Economy (from materials urbanite to tool borrowing)
Free Mulch & Compost from LA City
• Mulch: Ask local tree trimming companies working in your neighborhood
• Soil: look for local remodel activity
• Venice Learning Garden (donations appreciated) — mulch & compost

THE PLANTS:
• Sharing clippings & seeds with neighbors
Venice Learning Garden — just ask what needs cleaning up… and reap the benefits by leaving with clippings & rootballs
Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA) — non-GMO, heirloom seed — come swap & learn about seed saving!
• Unlabeled plants at the gardening shops— deep discounts
• Once again, Freecycle, Craig’s List, Free Green Exchange, etc.

Repurposed & Make It Yourself Items:

“Stacking Functions” = many yields from a single element
Examples: Benches, bistro planters, pavers, bamboo trellises and gates, “hugelkultur,” greenhouse.

Getting The Work Done:

Work parties — Barn Raising Style
Our Time Bank — work trade
• Teen or college-student labor from the neighborhood or recommended by friends

 

 

Bike Tour of the M.V. Green Garden Showcase + D.I.Y.: Yes You Can! Presentation

E A R T H   D A Y   2 0 1 2
Saturday, April 21

10 am – 4 pm

Join us on a bike tour of the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on Saturday, April 21st, 2012, including a FREE D.I.Y. presentation!

TCC Bicycle Meet-Up:
11:00 a.m.
The fountain in front of Vet’s Park
(corner of Culver & Overland)

Our first stop on the Tour is House #5H (see description), for refreshments & a presentation by TCC:

 D.I.Y.: Yes You Can!
Creative Lawn Conversions on a Budget
11:30 a.m.
11375 Matteson Ave., LA 90066 

TCC's D.I.Y. Presentation @ the 2011 MV Green Garden Showcase

Bike Parking provided for the TCC Bike Tour!

This year’s D.I.Y. presentation by members of TCC will include creative ideas, resources & encouragement for converting a conventional lawn to a drought-tolerant landscape without breaking your budget. This location exemplifies the D.I.Y. philosophy: it features a bistro-style patio hardscape, “urbanite” terraces, meandering flagstone walkways & a homemade park bench, dwarf fruit trees & stealth edibles mixed in with drought tolerant natives, plus two methods of rainwater capture—all done D.I.Y. & under strict budgetary parameters (everything cheap, recycled, or free!).

 After the presentation we will make our way to several other Showcase homes  (we’ll post the TCC bike tour route map soon). The plan is to cycle back to Vet’s Park sometime in the mid- to late-afternoon.
Remember to pack fluids & snacks or a light lunch (since we’ll be out mid-day).
RSVP Michelle: 310-780-1051

 

Work or Party? How About Both!

See a video clip >>

Our recent Work Party on 1/28/2012 dedicated to learning how to make a Rain Barrel Overflow Rain Garden was a bountiful success! Since the project was a “hybrid” of active and passive urban rainwater harvesting (active catchment in tanks combined with passive diversion into a basin) there were many learning opportunities for the 17 volunteers who helped out over the course of the day.

Since building community is a key Transition principle, the “connecting” or “party” aspect of the day was planned with as much care as the work component. Luckily, the project was a joint venture between Transition Culver City and Transition Mar Vista/Venice which meant many helping hands from planning stages to clean-up! The front yard’s hardscape with its two decks encouraged social cross-pollinating: Since the actual work area was narrow, volunteers frequently rotated out of the work zone to visit and lounge on the cool shady deck. The adjacent sunny deck (beautifully abloom with jasmine!) was a popular place to sit and browse through the collective library of gardening, permaculture and Transition books. Plus the food! Homebaked banana nut muffins and tea in the morning and a beautiful organic vegetarian lunch of pita wraps & greek salad with lemonade was appreciated by the entire crew.

But back to the work component:

The project was coordinated by landscape architect John Tikotsky, an advocate of the Transition movement here in L.A.. John smoothly kept the volunteer crew moving from task to task and also took advantage of naturally unfolding teaching moments.

Transition friend Paul Herzog of Surfrider Foundation also came with shovel in hand to work as well as share about Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program. According to Paul, urban runoff is a primary source of ocean pollution. The OFG program teaches homeowners how to apply “CPR” (Conservation, Permeability, and Retention) to their garden to help revive our local watershed and ocean.

PASSIVE COLLECTION: Recharge the groundwater
Whenever rainwater can be diverted from a residential roof into a designated area, it helps our ecosystem by replenishing the local aquifer. In this case, the designated unresolved landscape area became a mulch pit fed by the overflow from rainwater tanks.

The day began with helpers plunging into the heavy labor: digging & sculpting the reservoir and berms to create a passive groundwater recharge zone. Thanks to the previous weekend’s heavy rains, digging the mulch pit went quickly and smoothly; in less than an hour, a lovely shape emerged from what had previously been a flat sloping hardpan surface. The crew also made a trench to hide the subsurface diverter pipe. Later, cobblestones were placed at the mouth of the diverter for a lovely babbling brook effect (next time it rains!) and the reservoir was filled with mulch. With this simple and natural passive rainwater collection technique, the homeowners are now able to slow down the rain and let it soak in on the spot instead of flow downhill to the street.

ACTIVE COLLECTION: capture the rain from your roof
Since this family opted for some unusual vertical “water wall” storage tanks instead of the classic rain barrels, the project became an engineering puzzle for the group as they figured out how to daisychain the elevated tanks, create the pvc angles and drill the overflow diverters into place. There were many unexpected spontaneous teaching moments such as how to glue pvc pipe w/ epoxy, how to pour a concrete footing so that wood is not in contact with the soil, and how to use a level to assure best gravity flow. John Tikotsky also provided attendee’s with a guide on how to calculate your own roof’s water-catching capacity.

Additional site-specific challenges — what to grow?
The area where the new reservoir and berms reside is directly under a swath of deep shade from the parkway magnolias. Over the years the homeowners had found this downhill slope to be stubbornly unplantable. But thanks to the efforts of the volunteer work crew, the space is now leveled off with a nicely mulched reservoir for water retention. The plan was to plant edibles into the berm surrounding the mulch pit. But what kind of native CA edibles can handle such deep shade? Research revealed that in the wild, currants & gooseberries (Ribes family) thrive and bear fruit under oak tree overstories. Though currants and gooseberries are a popular fruit in Europe they are largely overlooked as an edible in the U.S. Now the beginnings of a golden currant food forest is growing in east Mar Vista!

Baking Work Party, anyone?
A great big thank you to all who helped make this happen—we couldn’t and wouldn’t have done this without you! Stop by any time to survey your hard work. And we’ll definitely let you know when it’s time to bake some currant tarts together!