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00. politics of change

UrbanFarm-[Original] or UF-[O]

UrbanFarm-[Original] or UF-[O] is an experimental station for Urban Agriculture on a rooftop in the center of Brussels

  Today we no longer have the right to pretend that we command a unique position 
  from which we can view the truth about the world. 
  We must learn not to judge different areas of knowledge, culture, or art, 
  but to combine them and to establish new ways of coexistence with those 
  who enable us to meet the unique demands of our time.
  Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle Stengers, Man’s New Dialogue With Nature,1979

further reading:
constant nieuwenhuys, new babylon
annemie maes: politics of change
Politics of Change - Mahila Samiti of Barefoot College
stadslandbouw opiniestuk

shifts in the urban lifestyle make shifts in the urban landscape (Cpuls)

01. the Urban ArtFarm project

The Urban ArtFarm is an experimental station for Urban Agriculture. It researches and analyses the pro and contra's of growing food in the city on rooftops of bigger buildings, with the help of green DIY technology. How does a rooftop ecosystem deal with energy, water, soil and green technology? What does the project represent financially? How do plants and animals (city honeybees) interact with this artificial ecosystem?
UAF (Urban ArtFarm) is an open air laboratory that interacts with the city. The base station is built on connected rooftops in the historical center of Brussels, connections or nodes to this location can be setup on any other rooftop that is suitable for the purpose. The groundlevel location of UAF is the place on the Brussels'map where a network of medieval market places and monasteries intermingle. The UF-[O] farm, set on the 6th floorlevel of this place, on the roof of a parking lot, is a place where artists and urban gardeners can develop new strategies for sustainable living in the city. An artistic approach, green DIY technology and a permaculture philosophy should present new opportunities to the citizens to connect to food, food security and sustainability.

growing food for the hungry city : is it still art?

More and more people are living in the cities. We have to search for new modes of sustainable living, new ways of food production. Re-examine the link between the city as consumer and the countryside as provider. In this context, we are researching how to make a network of intensively cultivated city rooftopgardens where we can grow our own food for the neighbourhood.

Besides the food-function, the UrbanFarm-[O] is set up as our open-air laboratorium. In this project, we want to blend the natural and the digital in one and the same nature. We study and document how to set up a middle sized rooftopgarden (± 700 m2), all with recycled materials.
Artists occupy the public space and develop activities with a specific ecological focus: hack the top level of city and give it another destination. Connect different rooftops in a network of OpenGreens with city honeybees as connectors and bio-indicators.
The UF-[O] project blends nature and technology. By digital means it explores how the growth, blossoming and decay of plants occur while they are submitted to different abiotic elements as wind, rain, sun, etc.
Can we learn something from the data resulting from the monitorings? Is our environment programmable? Does the fusion of natural and artificial matter produce new organisms, new environments, new natures? Elements of the garden, plants as well as technology, become nodes in wireless networks. This happens both on rooftop level as on city level.
The connections between people, plants, sensornetworks and utilities of the rooftopgardens are mapped for further study. We research the collected data in the context of the 3 ecologies (Guattari, 1969) : ecological, social and political.

further reading:
the Hungry City (Chatto&Windus London 2008, Carolyn Steel)
Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes (Routledge London 2005, Andre Viljoen)
guy van belle, ecology as a cultural critique
Urban Agriculture (New Society Publishers 2011, David Tracey)
greenloop - alimentation durable
abattoir Anderlecht
journal du patrimoine, Emanuelle Dubuisson
Stadslandbouw en -moestuinen in metropolitaan gebied

MO-magazine, stadslandbouw

artistic research: a laboratory on connected roofs

For the artist, the empty rooftop is a blank canvas. It is embedded in the city and offers a perception without geographical limitations. It's up to the artist to combine the artistic eye with scientific observation. The public has to travel to the location and has to put effort and time (= engagement) to discover the artwork.

New forms of sculpting the public space can be found in rooftop hacking and squatting, transforming rooftops into urban fields, short chain agriculture. These are interdisciplinary activities situated between art and the broader social and political world. Their aim is to provoke a change. It are forms of site-specific art. The natural environment as in a process of a constant change, the city layers overwritten by various urban systems: socio-political and historical but also industrial and economical systems. The work involves natural processes, but as well elements of technology.
Important is the recultivation of the land/location, the historical act of rewriting, of adding new layers, with the help of earth/art methods, DIY instruments and technology. This new world is perceived from the perspective of the 3 ecologies as stated by Guattari: social, mental and environmental. The eco-logic can be found in everydays’ life. The existence for the art world is confirmed as covered by film, audio recordings, photographs, maps, diagrams, drawings and storytelling.

Open Greens : marginal zones where culture and nature overlap and enter into a symbiotic relationship.
The project researches different bottom up approaches for designing human environments that have the stability and diversity of natural ecosystems. Integration of renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, food/gardening systems, natural building, rainwater harvesting and urban planning along with the economic, political and social policies that make sustainable living possible and practical.
The Kabinet of the OpenGreens (padma, COG and other databases) is a repository for all the documentation materials on city gardens, abandoned agricultural and industrial spaces, miniature parcs on balconies and window sills, participating in the OpenGreen project. Discover how you can expand your creative space by participating in this ecological network, studying the interactions between organisms and their environment.

further reading:
verb, natures
your colour memory, perception, environmental awareness
jai singh observatorium jaipur
from romanticism to ecocentrism, the green reader
robert smithson
what is art? (Clairview 2004, Joseph Beuys/ talk transcription)
Silent Spring (Mariner Books 2002, Rachel Carson)
derek jarman
mass moving -
travelling through OpenGreens

urban ArtFarm : stadslandbouw als artistiek project

De UrbanFarm/Original (UF/0) is een onderzoeksstation voor stadslandbouw. Het is een openlucht laboratorium van 750m2 dat gebouwd is bovenop platte daken van grote gebouwen. Hier onderzoeken we de interactie met de stad op verschillende niveaux: sociaal, politiek, economisch en ecologisch, en dit alles vanuit een artistieke invalshoek.
Hoe gaat een artificieel opgezet ecosysteem om met natuurlijke resources als energie, water, grond en hoe wordt groene technologie hierbij betrokken? Het project test de pro en contra's, de voordelen, problemen en knelpunten om voedsel te verbouwen in de stad, en maakt de resultaten publiek via artistieke interventies.

De locatie van UF/0 kent een rijk verleden: tijdens de middeleeuwen was de plaats een belangrijk knooppunt in een netwerk van kloosters, kruidentuinen, boomgaarden en stadsmarkten. Voor het UF/O-project hebben we echter de begane grond verlaten en hebben we ons openluchtlaboratorium ingericht op een knooppunt van aaneengrenzende daken. Hier ontwikkelen kunstenaars, DIY-wetenschappers en stadstuiniers nieuwe strategieën voor duurzaam leven in de steden van vandaag en morgen. Een creatieve benadering, groene technologie en een filosofie die haar oorsprong vindt in de permacultuur liggen aan de basis van dit project. Het netwerk van daken wordt omgevormd tot OpenGreens. Artistieke interventies maken onverwachte verbindingen tussen de stad en haar bewoners en creeëren nieuwe invalshoeken met betrekking tot voedselzekerheid en duurzaamheid.

Meer en meer mensen leven in de steden. Daarom moeten we zoeken naar nieuwe vormen van duurzaam leven, maar ook naar nieuwe manieren van voedselproductie. Het verband tussen de stad als consument en het platteland als leverancier moet herbekeken worden, uitgaande van een creatieve samenwerking. In dit kader onderzoeken we hoe we een stadsnetwerk kunnen opzetten van intensief gecultiveerde rooftopgardens, waar we ons eigen voedsel verbouwen voor de buurt.
Maar de UF/0 is meer dan enkel voedsel. De UF/0 is opgezet in een artificiële omgeving, met gerecycleerde materialen, biologisch zaaigoed en respect voor de natuurlijke bronnen als water en energie. Tiijdens de duur van dit project willen we deze processen monitoren, archiveren en beschrijven. De 4 seizoenen worden gelinkt aan data en timelines, er wordt gewerkt met DIY meetapparatuur, de dagen worden beschreven in klank en beeld. Het natuurlijke en het digitale gaan deel uitmaken van 1 geheel.
Kunstenaars bezetten en connecteren de daken en ontwikkelen activiteiten met een specifieke ecologische focus. Ze hacken het hoogste niveau van de stad en geven het een andere bestemming. De verschillende daken vergroeien tot een netwerk van OpenGreens.
Deze OpenGreens schakelen aaneen tot bio-corridors. Ze worden druk bezocht door stadsbijen die tevens ageren als bio-indicatoren. Met digitale en analoge middelen onderzoekt het UF/0 laboratorium de cycli van groei, bloei en afsterven van planten en honingbijen in dit specifieke ecosysteem, terwijl deze zijn blootgesteld aan de tijd en aan elementen als wind, regen en zon. Biotische en abiotische elementen worden knooppunten in onze groene observatie- netwerken.

Wat kunnen we leren uit de resultaten van deze observaties? Is onze omgeving programmeerbaar? Kan de fusie van natuur en techniek leiden tot nieuwe omgevingen, nieuwe materialen, nieuwe oplossingen? Kan dit onderzoek bijdragen tot het ontwikkelen van duurzame steden?

een kunstproject op een dak in de stad

De daktuin in het midden van het stadscentrum is het resultaat van een mix van disciplines: een kunstinstallatie, landschapsarchitectuur, poëtica, stadslandbouw, tegencultuur, transitie en duurzaamheid. Deze zijn de basisconcepten voor een nieuwe benadering van een ongewone plaats en van de mogelijkheden die deze lege ruimte in zich draagt.
De experimentele tuin op het dak van de parkeergarage etaleert een complexe esthetische en formele gevoeligheid die in harmonie is met zijn omgeving.
Het project wordt gedocumenteerd en beschreven in termen van zijn compositorische modaliteiten, maar ook de technische realisatie, de biotische en abiotische factoren en het proces van transitie komen aan bod.
Het boek beschrijft de creatie van een nieuwe en totaal andere ruimte voor deze ongebruikte plaats; de transformatie van leeg dak naar openlucht laboratorium symboliseert een nieuwe aanpak die bijdraagt tot het onderzoek naar duurzame steden en het creëren van biocorridors in het stedelijk landschap.

Dit stukje kunstmatig gecreëerde natuur, opgebouwd door een collectief van kunstenaars, denkers en doeners, transformeert de ongebruikte dakruimte tot een locatie die een intensieve dialoog uitlokt met de gebruikers.
De subtiele aanpak van de kunstenaars formuleert een ecologisch bewustzijn dat focust op het geheel van nieuwe mogelijkheden. De experimentele tuin is een installatie die laat zien hoe kunst een broedplaats kan zijn voor andere invullingen van de stedelijke ruimte. Een ecologische visie waarin kunst en (landschaps)architectuur hun mogelijkheden combineren.
Deze installatie maakt het onzichtbare zichtbaar: dit is de missie van kunst en tegelijkertijd de rol van de architectuur. De vraag wat natuurlijk en wat kunstmatig is verliest haar absolute betekenis.
In de loop van het proces maken de kunstenaars de verborgen schoonheid en kwaliteiten van deze plek zichtbaar. De essentie ligt niet meer in de vormen en gebruikte materialen, maar in de kracht en de intensiteit die van deze plek uitgaat.
De natuur leert ons hoe we op een kunstmatige plaats dezelfde ruimtelijke sensaties kunnen reproduceren als degene die uitgaan van een natuurlijk landschap.

een plaats om te ontdekken
Het UF/O - dak is de ruimtelijke vertaling van een concept, een levende sculptuur.
Het realisatieproces onthult in poëtische beelden de relatie van de locatie in het verleden tot zijn plaats in het hedendaagse stadsbeeld. De open taal is in lijn met de trage, natuurlijke evolutie van de daktuin.
Het project formuleert een radicale kritiek op de urbanisatie van de jaren '70, de beton explosie tijdens het olietijdperk en de realisatie van tal van parkings in het stadscentrum die afbraak van woonhuizen en roofingwoestenijen tot gevolg had.
De UF/O en de 'Tuin van Eten' willen de tegencultuur een hart onder de riem steken, en staan volledig achter het toeëigenen van ongebruikte publieke ruimtes en de guerilla-gardening. We moeten toe naar een herdefiniëring van de publieke ruimte, met inbegrip van een herdefiniëren van instrumenten die nodig zijn om deze ruimte in te richten.
We moeten de openbare ruimte opnieuw analyseren, en ze op een nieuwe manier gaan waarnemen, opmeten en in perspectief zetten tot de stedelijke structuur.
Van verlaten en marginale zones die opnieuw worden ingenomen door de natuur kan een verleiding uitgaan die zijn kracht kan overzetten op de rest van de stad, het ontstaan van een osmotische relatie met de omgeving.
Het werk van de kunstenaars is gelimiteerd tot het conceptuele en artistieke gebruik van de ruimte. Daarom is het belangrijk dat toeëigening en verandering van bestemming gedocumenteerd worden, het proces moet beschreven worden. Hiervoor wordt een specifieke visuele taal ontwikkeld die aanleunt bij urbanisatie en (landschaps)architectuur.
Dit transdiciplinair onderzoek documenteert dus gedetailleerd het creatie- en groeiproces, waarbij ook reflectiemomenten een belangrijke plaats toegewezen krijgen.
De kritische analyse van dit experiment vloeit voort uit de noodzaak om de stedelijke structuur en publieke ruimte anders te benaderen. Met nieuwe onderzoeksinstrumenten, nieuwe talen, waarbinnen de participatie van de burgers een belangrijke plaats krijgt toebedeeld.
Een nieuw kijk op 'urban voids' die reeds lang over het hoofd werden gezien, en deze letterlijk 'bezetten met andere betekenissen'.

collective project of the local community

  • reclaim the rooftops! (Qpark)
  • model: stadslandbouw
  • food security, edible autonomy, new food politics
  • seed sovereignty
  • bio piracy
  • how many people can be fed from the yearly yield?
rooftopgarden 6 august 2012rooftop garden closer look

rooftop garden in the center of Brussels, 06/08/2012

further reading:
on Guerrilla Gardening (Bloombury Publishing 2009, Richard Reynolds)
the Corporate Control of Life (Vandana Shiva)
Politics, Idealism & Rebellion in the garden (Frances Lincoln Publishers 2011, George McKay
Neem: fight against Biopiracy an Rejuvenation of Traditional Knowledge (research foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, 2006)
Feiten over Biopiraterij (Lemniscaat 2004, Vandana Shiva)
Universiteit Wageningen -
local food, transition books

03. economical values

micro economy based on sharing

  • short chain economy
  • alternative economy
  • changing tents
  • model: pluktuin (sonja, erik, axel, marie, otber, carlos, karin lauwers, pimpinelle, bjorn, anne teresa, els roelandt + family,…)
  • (franziska aigner, kristinen desmet, …)

organising the community
organising the collaboration
organising the produce distribution

further reading:
transition towns: local food

other approaches, geek-gardening: ⇒ Open Source gardening met sensor enhanced greenhouse ⇒ werken met vernieuwende energiebronnen als zeewater en zon , maar zijn absoluut niet Open Source ⇒ dit vernoemden we al in voorbereiding naar P2P, wel totaal chemisch gecontroleerd groeien op aquaponics ⇒ was goed bij de opstart, maar is een beetje teveel de design kant opgegaan. dit project komt van bij oorsprong uit artistieke hoek, maar ondertussen is de kunstenares die het initieerde een manager geworden.

04. urbanism : sense of the city

from historical palimpsest to ecological urbanism
archief van de stad Brussel

klooster jericho aan de markten

Onze Lieve Vrouw ter Rosen gheplant in Jericho, nu De Markten

further reading:
Kanaal in Brussel, Thierry Demey
De markten van Brussel Centrum
the living landscape
ecological urbanism, harvard university

05. biodiversity : a biological corridor in the city

city honeybees in the rooftopgardencity honeybees in the rooftopgardencity honeybees in the rooftopgarden

ecosystem of the rooftop garden

Ecosystems include living organisms, the dead organic matter produced by them, the abiotic environment within which the organisms live and exchange elements (soils, water, atmosphere), and the interactions between these components. Ecosystems embody the concept that living organisms continually interact with each other and with the environment to produce complex systems with emergent properties, such that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and “everything is connected”.
The habitat is that geographical unit that effectively supports the survival and reproduction of a given species or of indivuals of a given species; the composite of other organisms as well as abiotic factors therein describe the geographical unit. Other organisms include the plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoans that also live in a given habitat. Abiotic factors include soil types, water availability, temperature, sunlight, air quality and geometric aspects of landforms that facilitate resting, foraging, nesting, mating, metabolic functions and other activities.biological corridor: connected open greens corridor for the bees, preservation of biodiversity: creating and maintaining biological corridors are important steps towards restoring natural habitats that have been fragmented by natural and human induced processes. By re-establishing and supporting biodiversity, many species are given an opportunity to continue existence in the wild. Conservation organizations continue to research and identify areas that are suitable for these connections, and educate the public about methods of creating habitat corridors.

further reading:

edible landscapes : the edible (rooftop) forest garden : virtues of a forest garden : opengreens research

site sustainability

Sustainable gardening: design, construction, operations and maintenance practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This can be reached by attempting to protect, restore and enhance the ability of landscapes to provide ecosystem services that benefit humans and other organisms.

  • local climate regulation
  • air and water cleansing
  • water supply and regulation * erosion and sediment control
  • hazard mitigation
  • pollination
  • habitat functions
  • waste decomposition and treatment
  • global climate regulation
  • human health and well-being benefits
  • food and renewable non-food products
  • cultural benefits

permaculture principles

The OpenGreens project covers different bottom up approaches for designing human environments that have the stability and diversity of natural ecosystems. Integration of urban agriculture, honeybees and their role in urban ecosystems, renewable energy systems, food sovereignty systems, natural building, rainwater harvesting and urban planning along with the economic, political and social policies that make sustainable living possible and practical.

10 principles of permaculture design according to Bill Mollison* relative location: how elements of the design are in relation to other elements. What are the connections between them?

  • multiple function: each element of the design should perform at least 3 different functions. (trees⇒ windbreak, food, rooftop insulation, …)
  • multiple sources: not rely of just 1 source of something (water, energy, …)
  • zone: place the elements of the design according to their frequency of use. Also check the control and utilisation of the energies entering/passing through the site (cold winds, summer sun, …)
  • energy cycling: harvest as many nutrients and energy from the garden design
  • using biological resources: using the natural qualities of things, companianplanting, pest-controlling insects, …
  • stacking: observations of natural systems as three dimensional systems (7 layers)
  • diversity: a diversity of plants, a social and economical diversity (people, providers, …)
  • edges: productivity in natural environments increases at edges between different ecosystems. Has to be taken into account when designing the garden. (hedges, ponds, beds, …)
  • small scale: keeping a garden intensive and small

further reading:
introduction to permaculture
part 01: the edible forest rooftop garden

mushroom picking

Kostrzewski Franciszek - 1860 : Mushroom Hunting

06. green technology : the digital gardener & the visible weather

We connect local OpenGreens in an international network of experimental gardens where artists work with natural processes.
These gardening situations serve especially to look into microsociological and ecological systems related to time as starting points for the development of new artistic practices. The OpenGreens allow us to study the implementation of contemporary art in an ecological context and to observe and draw content from eco-data and natural patterns and processes.
Using media technology and electronics as research tools in these shared laboratories, data from various ecosystems are collected over a period of time. The artistic output of this data collection process will be the creation of electronic interfaces that will then be used to reinterpret the data to explore time-related poetics such as synchronicity and irregularity through electronics, and of developing a common language about time.

The synonyms for an OpenGreen are many: the experimental Hortus, the OpenAir Laboratorium, the Vivarium, the Kabinet of Wonders. But all OpenGreens are zones where culture and nature overlap and where these two enter into a symbiotic relationship with research and experimentation.
In the OpenGreens, the Time Inventors document the beauty of nature in data. They classify and archive their notes and findings in OpenGreens databases. They compare and develop concepts, interpret complex biotic shapes and research repetitive natural patterns. They connect nature with media art.

There are architectural models that are made after biomimesis of e.g. hexagonal honeycomb cells; data are extracted from plant-connected sensors and are converted into algorithms that generate abstract visualizations. Analogue or digital approaches: the Time Inventors make use of a diversity of methods to study the art forms in nature.
But, how can the OpenGreens’ evolution be visualized or made audible in artworks? Can the gardens’ (a)biotic organisms' processes provide new artistic environments or new forms of representations of ‘the artificial/nature’? How can art and technology today present a different view on nature?
During the TIK-time of the project, artists delve into the matter and with the mutual aid of scientists and engineers they open an investigation that may lead into some unexpected artistic results.

The Brussels OpenGreens have a strong urban embedment. In two related urban rooftop gardens artists carry out long-term observations on the growth, blossoming and decay of plants exposed to natural elements such as wind, sun, rain and pollution in an urban context. The close monitoring of social insects, in this case several colonies of city honeybees, is an important part of the study.
These urban OpenGreens are artificial environments, hybrids of nature and culture. They are set up to research different bottom-up approaches for designing green human environments that have the diversity of natural ecosystems.
 The OpenGreens database keeps accurate track of the monitoring of these ecosystems. Technology is inserted in the gardens and allows the gardeners to take a closer look at biotic matter. The harvest is about collecting data of any kind, both on a micro garden level and on a macro city level, and using the data for organic and media applications.
All Time Inventors interested in monitoring their city gardens or urban edgelands and compare their observations are invited to become contributors to the OpenGreens database.
Everybody is free to use the open data format in the OpenGreens database (xml) for their personal artistic projects.

In this section we will gather information and develop methodologies on how to work with the gardens and describe them on defined moments of the season's timeline.

  • Plants as inspiration for a changing mindset. Plants are sustainable, they recycle their own waste, they produce their own energy (photosynthesis). They fertilise the soil (organic/anorganic matter) and clean the air (Co2/ photosynthesis)
  • neon sign works / plants / photosynthesis
  • storytelling on the graphs of the bee-monitorings
  • Study the farm as a living organism, the skin of the rooftop, equipped with sensors to measure all weather conditions. Working with intelligent materials that can adapt to changing conditions (try-out in controlled environment as greenhouse) and situations. Make sculptures with meteo-sensors and stylized models (drawings and/or computer generated models) that are realized after microscopic studies of of flowers and vegetables. These digital models can react in realtime to weather-sensor-data (ex. the seedpod of the Daucus carota).
  • Artforms in nature, biomimicry, biomimetics. Integrated organic and sustainable design, optimal use of materials (harmonious, balanced, efficient). Exploration of forms and structures (electronics, computer, wireless technologies). Dynamic buildings and building methods, adapted to changing environmental conditions. The rooftop as a skin, a living organism (programming, coding, 3D printing & modelels, simulations).
  • City honeybees: patterns described in algorithms of packing/blending/flocking/tiling/spiralling/weaving. Building libraries of natural behaviours distilled into algorithms. Transforming the natural into the artificial, into the digital.
  • make a taxonomy of urban agriculture and rooftop garden language. Set up an annotated knowledge base of artefacts and projects, useful for understanding and learning from their evolutionary lines, their timelines. Learn out of the intersections and cross-pollinations.
  • pollen pantone charts: find the neighborhood's algorithm - space/time
  • introduce the questionnaires of Politics of Change, introduces same questions in book UF-[O]
  • transparant beehive, bee-appartments simulation/ models
  • topography of a garden: series of macro photography (specific presentations)
  • floating gardens on the canal at OKNO
  • pictures in urban context: reflections of the greenhouse, green dot in the landscape (14th storey muntcenter), parking 58, baraka
  • filmed fragments, extreme close ups, abstractions becoming diagrams and code
  • on the rooftop: a meteo weather station as a sculpture, autonomous on sun- and/or wind energy, linked to arduino and internet, with a constant dataflow with realtime visualization online
  • check also the plants pollution on cellular level: talk to biologist and find out about sensors to measure plant pollution
  • detection with heat camera
  • ethnobotany: narratives, stories and interviews
sunflowers voltmeterlillypad on sunflowerleafsupercollider concert with sunflower data

topics to research

  • pollution (air, soil) pollution in plantcells
  • pollution meters:

- light pollution meter
- electromagnetical pollution meter
- air pollution meter : air quality (optical→dust, O3, CH4, CO2) (optical dust sensor)
- carbon monoxide pollution meter
- lead pollution meter
- exhaust gasses pollution meter
- noise pollution meter
- soil pollution meter ⇒ check with lab

  • bird attacks
  • waterproblems
  • meteo-set (temperature, sun, humidity, wind, rain)
  • micro-ecosystem greenhouse
  • aquaponics
  • plant intelligence / stress management (contact microphones on leaves)

- corridors: bee-activity in the starting garden (in front of hive, motion detection) + mapping/monitoring of the surrounding plants/vegetables
⇒ check further with corridors if there is a difference yes/no with presence of bees and mapping of plants.

further reading:
IAAC Barcelona - Valldaura Project - Green Fablab ; en ⇒ the ever growing calendula project
geek gardening

07. the garden machine : step by step building the farm

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Einstein

empty roof LepageLepage constructionLepage constructionfirst containers on the rooftop

location: rooftop parking Lepage, Brussels citycenter. Construction of parking inside.

design for a new 1000m2 rooftop garden in the center of Brussels.
on the roof, we will grow fruits and vegetables for the hungry city.

The greenhouse rooftop garden is an extension of the yet existing edible rooftop garden. The 2 intensive rooftopgardens are situated on top of adjacent parking lots and are physically connected. The edible rooftop garden is specialised in mediterrean and medicinal plants, herbs and flowers – all with an important nectar/pollen value.
The greenhouse rooftop garden focuses mostly on fruits and vegetables. Both gardens are set up along the principles of permaculture. They both host several bee colonies, and are very friendly to other pollinating insects and birds.
In both gardens we work with recuperation of rainwater and we make our own compost. We will set up alternative energy systems with solarpanels to power the waterpumps. The beehives are monitored with custom-made, low cost technology.

design for rooftop greenhousegreenhouse skeletongreenhouse, frontrooftop farm, topshotplant containers on rooftop#01

new roof Lepage parking

new roof plan for parking Lepage - move easter weekend 2012 (050412)
the layout of 44 containers of 125cm x 125cm design the basis of the rooftop garden

rooftop Lepage before the movemoving the greenhouse to its new spotgreenhouse skeletoncontainers, rooftop parking Lepagecontainers, rooftop parking Lepagegreenhouse installed on rooftop Lepage

moving the greenhouse from one roof to another, after the prohibition of Q-Park to keep the farm on the roof of parking Flandre
correspondentie Q-Park

new roof Lepage parking

extension veggie garden with 10 containers, dd. 01062012
this makes a total of 54 containers.

08. the abiotic elements

know your SOIL : requirements for bio-dynamic vegetable-plots

vegetables to grow for the hungry city

growing vegetables for the Hungry City
elaborated plant-list ⇒ plantlist veggie farm

Each different crop will be grown in a wooden palox box of 125×125.
With 1m3 (1 cubic meter) of soil we can fill up 4 to 5 boxes with a layer between 12 and 30 cm of bio-soil, mixed with compost or ecoveen (along the needs of the plants).
At dewinter groencompost, we ordered in januari 2012:
6 x 1m3 teelaarde
2 x 1m3 edelcompost
1 x fijne groencompost
1 x ecoveen
In februari 2012 we put a complementary order of:
12 x 1m3 teelaarde (from which 5m3 will be prepared in 10 bigbags of 1/2 m3 for the trees; and 7m3 will serve for the vegetables)
3 x 1m3 fijne groencompost (for adding during the season to the crops growing)
1 x ecoveen (for keeping the water up in times of drought)average weight goes as follows:

  • teelaarde: 800 kg/m³
  • teelaarde+: 700 kg/m³
  • gewone groencompost: 525 kg/m³
  • fijne groencompost: 550 kg/m³
  • ecoveen: 230 kg/m³gewone groencompost is door zijn iets grovere struktuur het best geschikt voor diepere grondbewerkingen en bij het aanplanten van houtachtigen.

fijne groencompost is ideaal voor oppervlakig gebruik bij zaaien of planten en als toplaag voor gazon.
edel compost is een mengsel van fijne groencompost aangerijkt met organische voedingsstoffen en gebruikt men best daar waar opbrengst belangrijk is.
ecoveen is de ecologische variante voor turf met gemakkelijke waterabsorptie en een goede bewerkbaarheid.
teelaarde plus is een mengsel van goede tuingrond met fijne groencompost.
volledige ontleding van de samenstelling van de compostproducten ⇒ samenstelling groencompost

bemestingsadvies moestuin UrbanFarm
bemestingsadvies edible forest garden

vermiculite (expands, water) / peat (veen) / perlite (volcanic, water, aeration)

soil fertilizing: green fertilizers fixing nitrogen in the soil: phacelia, fenugreek, mustard, buckwheat

soil remediation
soil remediation with mushrooms, the mycology-lab

soil improvement:
amrut mitti, indian soil fertilizer
amrut mitti, indian soil fertilizer with cow dung

WATER management systems

4 x 1000 liters in series2 x 250 liter recuperated from the greenhouse roof250 liter

water recuperation (from appartment rooftops and from the greenhouse rooftop)

We collect the rainwater from the surrounding rooftops to foresee in the water supply of the rooftopgarden. As the rooftopgarden has a limited amount of soil, and as the elements as wind and sun are very present and dry out the soil faster than they do in a 'natural' vegetable garden, the watermanagement in the containers becomes very important. It takes up to two hours to water the vegetable garden manually, with the hose. Therefore we decide to install an automatic wateringsystem, consisting of a microdrip system that is connected to the watertanks and that is controlled by humidity sensors.

For automating the wateringsystem in the rooftop garden, we planned a workshop with Jonas Z. to find out the possibilities of his OSMOGAS concepts in real physical situations.
OSMOGAS (open source modular gardening systems) researches easy deployable modular systems for gardens. It consists of three main groups of modules. The first group are evironmental measurement sensors (air pollution, humidity, temperature, UV, wind, pH, …), the second group focuses on the 'outputs' (digitally controlled switches for water pumps, lights, fog-generators, …) and the third group develops stand-alone systems or the connections to bigger systems (computers, servers). The project focuses on simplicity, DIY and user friendlyness while designing and producing the modules. All code is available online, as well as the schemes and drawings for DIY, and manuals are edited in an understandable language.

Measuring moisture can be done very cheaply and easily if done with care. Basically, it is based on the water conductivity in soil - the more water in soil (bigger moisture), the more conductive it gets. We measure the conductivity by simply trying to push current trough the soil and measuring how much get trough. This is done by pair of wires or nails at circa 2 cm distance.
To connect such sensors, we work as with other resistance based sensors - to one pin we provide 5V and from other pin we get the output. It is required to use a pull down resistor as well. This means, we connect a smaller resistor from the output of the sensor to the ground.

sunlight, temperature, water drainage and fertilizer control
Another garden automation system is called GardenBot. It uses open source hardware (Arduino) to monitor humidity, temperature and soil conditions. The data is then poured into charts. The GardenBot’s brain is the Arduino board. The rest of the system has a garden station, which is a junction box for all the sensors and a place to secure the wiring.
The key modules for the system are soil moisture sensor, soil temperature sensor, light level and water value. Each of these modules can be built separately and integrated into GardenBot. Once GardenBot is live, it can send data to a computer so that the information is plotted on a chart and updated every 15 minutes.

⇒ 5 x 4000liter wateropslag (van het dak) wordt opgeslagen in de klassieke witte recuperatie watertonnen.
Doordat de tonnen wit en semi-transparant zijn, ontstaat er algengroei. Iemand raadde mij aan om een UV filter te plaatsen. Is dit de oplossing?
Blijkbaar niet, vwant het water moet dan continu door de filter heenstromen, anders komt de algengroei weer.
Eventueel de tonnen zwart verven, of inpakken met opaque plastic.
Een filter plaatsen nadat het water door de pomp gegaan is.

Tonnen ingepakt met anti-worteldoek zodat ze afgeschermd zijn van het licht ter voorkoming van draadalgen vorming. Grote filter geplaatst na kraan na pomp (01/10/2012). Toevoer aangebracht in de serre. Vandaaruit 4 circuits gelegd, met op elk circuit nog eens een extra filter en druk(bar)controle: 1 voor de serre en 3 buiten. Microdrip systeem verder uitgewerkt met oranje (2 l/uur) en zwarte (4 l/uur) nozzles.

humidity sensor close, osmogashumidity sensors osmogas wateringsystemsensorbox osmogas wateringsystemsensorbox osmogas wateringsystem

osmogas automatic watering system: parts. Relay box - controlled via Arduino or compatible board, can handle 2200W.

watersystem control panel4 water circuits controlled by manometers

'… from what I observed - value around 70-100 is nice wet …'4 water circuits controlled by manometers

rooftop rainwater recuperation: water analysis
rainwater analysis dd. 05/10/2012
rainwater analysis dd. 28/11/2012

further reading:
chapter 14: SOIL WATER in Principles of Horticulture, p. 171 (Elsevier, C.R. Adams and M.P.Early)
the Blue Convenant (the New Press NY, 2007 - Maude Barlow)
PUM - Proper Water (citymined 2012)
Bridges over Troubled Waters (Crosstalks, VUB 2012)

AIR pollution monitoring

The purpose is to gather data on the effects of urban air pollution on urban gardening- and farming crops. Soil can be analyzed and heavy metals in soils can be treated by bioremediation (mushrooms, green manure, nitrogen fixers), but on the effects of city air pollution on crops there is not a lot of information available.
How do car exhaust, road dust and acid rain affect the different crops? Is the environmental pollution affect different for leaves, flowers, roots or fruits? Are nuts, fruits and berries less exposed to the urban pollution risks than leaf crops as spinach, or as root crops which do take up and accumulate metals from dust particle deposits in the soil?
How might we intelligently assess risk and proceed with a program of harm reduction, and modify urban garden design strategies around these known risks?

Field research could be:
- how long does particle dust stay on a tomato skin in your urban garden? Does the tomato absorb it or does it wash off in a rain? What about raspberries, blueberries, hazelnuts? What about different herbs? What about beetroot and lettuce?
- compare the data gathered from urban environmental pollution monitoring on organically grown vegetables, with monitoring data of non-organically grown vegetables of industrial agriculture origin (pesticides, GMO's, chemical fertilizers, … )

research papers:
Secondary organic aerosol formation from anthropogenic air pollution
Effect of air pollution on peri-urban agriculture: a case study

sensors for monitoring:
- air pollution meter : air quality (optical→dust, O3, CH4, CO2) (optical dust sensor)
- carbon monoxide pollution meter
- lead pollution meter
- exhaust gasses pollution meter

Pollution is definitely a concern for city farmers, but luckily, the pollutants of greatest concern are heavy metals, such as lead, and automotive break pad particulates. Both are denser than air, so vegetables grown on a rooftop high above the roadways are protected from these contaminants. The limited lifespan of plants mean they absorb significantly less contamination than our lungs do.

09. the self sufficient garden : energetic skin

composting: with a little help of our friends

The self sufficient garden is not far away. With a little help from our friends, the insects and micro-organisms we can find in amounts of zillions in the garden compost heap, we can make microbial fuel cells which can power small devices (sensors) for monitoring the gardens.,00:03:06
Microscope registration of the micro organism activity in a rooftop compost heap. The organisms are ± 1 mm long, there are zillions of it in the compost, the surface covered here is ± 5 square mm.
The organisms are extremely active, it would be great to convert their activity into energy to power the technology to monitor the rooftop garden. Cradle to cradle.

this is how to do it:
make magazine - bacteria battery

green roofs water management : the virtues of moss

A moss garden is a micro ecology. It tells a lot about the bigger ecological system it is part of. It acts in a way as a bio indicator. Moss is very resilient. How expansible is this resilience in city context?
Moss is also a source of inspiration for designing new materials. Bio mimicry.

moss on the roofs of the valldaura projectmoss on the roofs of the valldaura project

While green roofing is an accepted stormwater control technology, little is known about the quality of the roof runoff. In Phase I of this research, several green roof media (formed from commonly-used expanded minerals, stormwater filter media, and organic matter) were evaluated for their abilities to retain the pollutants from a synthetic acid rain. The samples were analyzed for metals, nutrients, and pH. The hypothesis was that a mixed media that is “better” at pollutant removal and permanent retention could be created based on these laboratory testing results. A media composed of expanded shale, granular activated carbon, and sphagnum peat moss was the most effective.
Green Roofs: Optimizing the Water Quality of Rooftop Runoff

[josep lascurain golferichs, biòleg - Valldaura project]

the honey batteries : collecting energy from the garden

mycology-lab : soil remediation

10. biotic elements

greenhouse on the rooftop

greenhouse, frontgreenhouse inside

The greenhouse in the rooftop UrbanFarm is for me the best discovery related to urban agriculture. When we talk in ways of yield and sustainable city agriculture, a greenhouse is the perfect solution.
It is an easily controllable mini ecosystem, protected from wind (on the rooftops this is an important factor for drying the containers and plants) and with its own humidity. The 'tropical ecosystem' it creates is much more ecological in use of water (a lot is in the air)and as a closed circuit it can also be controlled by sensors on the level of (too much) sun or UV, and fertilizers.

companion planting

Companion planting is the planting of different crops in proximity (in gardening and agriculture), on the theory that they assist each other in nutrient uptake, pest control, pollination, and other factors necessary to increasing crop productivity. Companion planting is a form of polyculture.
Companion planting is used by farmers and gardeners for many reasons. For farmers using an integrated pest management system, increased yield and/or reduction of pesticides is the goal.For gardeners, the combinations of plants also make for a more varied, attractive vegetable garden, as well as allowing more productive use of space.

veggiesmore veggiesmore veggiesveggiebasket

season 2012 : vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, medicinal plants, edible flowers

summer 2012, harvestsummer 2012, harvest

harvest from the rooftop garden, summer 2012

vegetables variety plant/sowing date number of plants harvest from yield remarks
zucchini green tondo de Nice 18/03/2012 6 05/07/2012 50 kg becomes quickly too big
zucchini yellow cucurbita pepo golden 18/03/2012 6 25/06/2012 50 kg easy to grow
snow peas pisum sativum/mange-tout27/02/2012 ± 30 early may 3 kg easy and good
fava bean, broad bean vicia faba, tuinboon 21/02/2012 ± 50 end of may 2 kg eat young or dry for seeds
rucola eruca sativa 18/03/2012 ± 60 early may x sew at intervals, plant dies fast
strawberries doordragend 21/03/2012 12 june, ongoing 2 kg ongoing but small yield
lettuce,diff.varietieseikenblad/ijsberg/andijvieend of march 12 may daily spread the sowing
celery selderij end of march 6 from june good nooit gebruikt
tomato varenblad 20/02/2012 3 end of july 6 kg volle struik, veel opbrengst
tomato, cherry olijf tomaatjes 20/02/2012 3 august 3 kg outside OK, modest yield
tomato japanese early 20/02/2012 3 mid-august 6 kg greenhouse
tomato black prince 20/02/2012 12 end of july 50 kg in greenhouse super good, outside also
tomato jaune flammée, tros 21/02/2012 12 end of july 50 kg greenhouse high yield, ouside ripe later
pepper/paprika beaver dam (big red) 21/02/2012 6 august 3 kg 3 à 4 per plant, greenhouse
bell pepper vierkant, klassiek 21/02/2012 6 august 3 kg kleiner, 3 per plant, serre
pepper hungarian wax spicy, medium size 21/02/2012 6 august 3 kg spicy but not too much, greenhouse
eggplant little fingersaubergines, tros 21/02/2012 6 august 6 kg funny, a lot of small fruits, serre
cauliflower bloemkool 15/05/2012 3 june x problems with young plants and birds
broccoli broccoli 15/05/2012 3 early july x idem
brussels sprouts spruiten 15/05/2012 6 september? 6 idem
red cabbage rode kool 15/05 2012 6 september 6 idem
green cabbage groene kool 15/05 2012 6 september 6 idem
cavolo nero palmkool 03/04/2012 6 november 6 lange groeiperiode, esthetisch
cucumber struikkomkommer 18/03/2012 3 june 6 kg grow fast too big, gherkin instead of cucumber
common bean struikboon 01/05/2012 ±20 july - did not work out well
edamame soja soja dopboon 18/03/2012 6 plants end of may - did not work well, stopped in may
spigariello blad broccoli 18/03/2012 x - - new try in august
brassica rapa groninger snijmoes 01/05/2012 1m2 june OK problems with pigeons
brocoletto variant brassica rapa 01/05/2012 1m2 june OK problems with pigeons
kale (russian frills) boerenkool 01/05/2012 10 june, july daily first young leaves, adult plants in winter
beetroot rode biet 15/05/2012 6 september 18 beetsbeetroot grows really well, do more experiments with beets next year!
beetroot mc gregor snijblad rode biet 01/05/2012 6 july/oct daily young leaves july, roots october
beta vulgaris oriole oranje snijbiet 01/05/2012 6 july daily cut leaves from july onwards
sea kale, crambe maritima 04/04/2010 1 spring xx very difficult to grow here
potatoes sarpo mira very resistant variety 25/04/2012 2 m2/ 19 plants oct-nov 18kg/m2harvested late (nov) but still OK! no sickness
onions, shallots
garlic red variety october
winter leek Allium ampeloprasum 05/09/2012 100
pumpkin butternut cucurbita moschata 19/04/2012 3 sept.oct 10 ex. butternuts grow super, especially in the greenhouse
pumpkin maxima valenciano pompoen wit 19/04/2012 3
pumpkin kabocha kleine groene pompoen 19/04/2012 3
pumpkin orange jack o'lantern miet 3
melon sweet granite cucumis melo 25/05/2012 3 end august matig absoluut in serre kweken
fennel zera fino venkel semailles 19/06/2012 1m2 september xx links van de serre
fennel Qpark venkel 25/06/2012 1m2 september xx uitdunnen voor grotere knollen
zea mays, maize maïs anasazi indianen 01/05/2012 1m2 september xx staan te kort opeen gezaaid
zea mays blue jade suikermais, blue baby 25/05/2012 1m2 september xx meer plaats
zea mays golden midgetkleine suikermais 01/04/2012 1m2 september xx enkele planten om te testen
plantago coronopus hertshoornweegbree 18/03/2012 3 may small zeer jonge blaadjes voor sla
chenopodium bonushenricusbrave hendrik 03/04/2012 enkele plantjes may small test - zeer bitter
artichoke cynarus cardunculus 05/03/2012 2 july small bloem augustus/september
jeruzalem artichoke aardpeer, topinambour 02/03/2012 20 november
cardoon artichoke thistle 05/03/2012 2 july small bloemen augustus/september
brassica rapa, turnip meiraap, ronde gele 23/09/2012 buiten, onder de vijgenboom
brassica rapa Milanese, rose kraag 23/09/2012 in de serre, naast dragon
Atriplex hortensis tuinmelde, kleur 23/09/2012 in de serre, naast de milanese raap
Allium sativum rode look 02/10/2012 25 tenen onder mispelboom, oogsten in juni
Allium ascalonicum sjalot, groot 02/10/2012 20 bollen onder kriekelaar, oogsten in juni
Allium cepa rode ajuin 02/10/2012 30 tenen onder kriekelaar, oogsten in juni
Lactuca sativa sla + eikeblad sla 30/09/2012 9 onder kweepeer en in bak 1
Spinacia oleracea spinazie 05/10/2012 6 plantjes december onder kweepeer
Valerianella locusta veldsla 05/10/2012 6 plantjes december onder kweepeer, oogsten vanaf 10cm hoog
herbs / medicinal plants variety plant/sowing date number of plants harvest from yield remarks
cilantro, coriander …..koriander 02/06/2012 4 plants from june daily seedpods harvest
basil, egyptian seeds from the pyramids…27/02/2012 4 plants from mid june daily ..slow starters but later high yield ..
basil, thai ecoplants from market 13/05/2012 3 plants immediate daily fast flowering and in seed
basil, italian grand vert, from seeds 18/04/2012 4 plants june/july daily 1 plant inside (bigger), 3 outside
horseradish mierikswortel from Kravin 10/11/2011 2 plants autumn xx dig the roots out in autumn
rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
stevia rebaudiana stevia
cuminum cyminum
anisum pimpinella
Porophyllum ruderale quilquina / killi 25/04/2012 4 plants edible leaves much plants become really big, leaves are bitter
chives bieslook
chritmum maritinum zeevenkel. kritama
anethum graveolens dille
thyme serpyllum en officinalis
oregano oreganum officinalis
lemon balm melissa officinalis
mint mentha spicata et al.
satureja montana bonenkruid
Hedera helix arborescens struikklimop 25/04/2012 24 plants october/nov. xx andere klimopstruikklimop bloeit direct, andere pas na 7 jaar
Symphytum officinale smeerwortel 08/09/2012 2 plants najaar herfst oogst wortel voor tincturen, edible
Lamium paarse dovenetel (gevlekt)08/09/2012 2 plants najaar xx beeplant
Hippophae rhamnoides sea buckthorn, duindoorn 28/11/2012 6 trees sept.-oct. medicinal, very good for skin
Vitex agnus-castus monnikspeper 28/11/2012 1 shrub summer, berries medicinal, hormonal
fruits variety plant/sowing date number of plants harvest from yield remarks
blackcurrant, cassis ….. zwarte bes, struik ecoflora 07/03/2012 1 plant not yet xxx grows well but no berries yet ….
vaccinium corymbosum am. blauwe amerikaanse bes 10/03/2010 5 planten july matig ..zure grond/lage PH nodig, groeit niet makkelijk
goji berry
sour cherries
quince kweepeer
medlar mispel
mulberries moerbei
olives olijven spaans en italiaans
boxthorn duindoorn
rose hips/ rosa canina common rose, hondsroos
gooseberry, kruisbes ribes uva-crispa 10/10/2009 2 bushes july a few berries waardplant voor kruisbeslichtmot
Prunus insititia pruim mirabelle 28/11/2012 1 tree
Prunus domestica Czar pruim Czar, donkerpaars 28/11/2012
edible flowers variety plant/sowing date number of plants harvest from yield remarks
calendula officinalis …..calendula, goudsbloem … varous a lot mid may daily favorite to dry - bright colors, good for oil
tagetes minuta lemon citrus afrikaantjes 06/04/2012 a patch june daily good companion, beeflower
sunflower tarahumara zonnebloem, groot 22/05/2012
sunflower autumn beauty different colors, big 25/05/2012
echinacea purpurea rode zonnehoed 25/05/2012
tropaeolum majus velvet nasturtium, oost-indische 21/02/2012 12 may good flowers early, fades away suddenly, aphid problem
tropaeolum majus india red and nice nasturtium 21/03/2012 12 may good sow later, with intervals - good flowering
monarda fistulosa bergamot plant, perennial 25/06/2012 10 flowers ? ? sown too late - flowers and leaves for tea and bee
monardo citriodora citroen bergamot 25/03/2012 x x x difficult, should try in greenhouse
hesperis matronalis damastflower 06/03/2012 x x small difficult
trigonella foenum graecum fenugreek, fenegriek 22/05/2012 1m2 pods sept. good seeds fine for tea, also good spice
buckwheat fagopyrum esculentum 15/05/2012 1m2 july-aug. good good for bees and insects

more info on vegetables

harvest moments

harvest, august 20th 2012

harvest, august 20th 2012
tomatoes: 2,200kg
zucchini yellow: 2kg
zucchini green: 600gr
melon: 2kg
paprika: 800gr
eggplant: 600gr
strawberries+brambles: 200gr


tomatoesyellow zucchinigreen zucchinimelons sweet granitepepper and paprika varietieseggplant little fingersempty scalestrawberries and brambles

harvest of 1 nice summerday, august 20 - 2012

Short chain distribution of harvest, mainly to neighbors and friends:
Otber, Toestand project Vilvoorde, Romuald + family, Lucia en Johannes, Radha, Alexandra, Luc, Jan & Christel, harvest dinner Cubans, harvest dinner Axel&Marie, Luc, Jan&Christel, Clémentine, Joeri, Zahra, Jonas Gruzka, Billy, Franziska & Sam, Nathalie Hunter, Daniele Sambo, Radek, Macek, Burning Ice, Eggevoort Water Project (citymined), Nicolas, Katia from den Hague, Els, Billy and Fabrice, Louis Schreel BBQ 10 people, Joannes Vandermeulen, mama, Miet, Els Lingier, Betty Schiel, Luc Steels,

11. preservation, or how to spend your free time in summer

the pantry is loaden with the abundance of summer harvest

  • cooking
  • steaming
  • drying
  • freezing
  • potting
  • tea (fennel/leaves, vanille, liquorice, fennelseeds, bitter orange peel)

further reading:
how to preserve tomatoes?
Preservation of vegetables in oil and vinegar: It is now a relatively common practice to bottle vegetables and herbs and spices in either oil, vinegar or a mixture of both. This is done both commercially and domestically and the products should be refrigerated below 4°C.

heerlijke vijgen/frambozen/braambessen confituur (08/10/2012)
fennouil au vinaigre
rode bieten chutney
stadshoning, yohurt + honey & pumpkinseeds
veel verschillende pompoensoepen (met appel, applesien, curry, snijbiet, look, chillipepper, …)
topinambour (jeruzalem artichoke), homegrown potatoes, leak, onion, garlic, ginger & cumin seeds
alle tomaten gerechten (ratatouille, chutneys, sauzen, soep, …)
gedroogde tomaten
gedroogde vruchten (appel, braam, meloen, …)
green figs with honey
carrot-pumpkin cake (Franziska)
beetroot chocolate cake (Franziska)
gratiné of young leak, swiss chard and potatoes (Fabrice)

12. old seeds for new cultures : in the drying room, medicinal plants and seed saving

Seeds (saving) ⇒ plants moving through time and space.
Drying following herbs and flowers as basic ingredients for herbalist preparations: macerates, creams, tinctures, oils, sirops, …

  • Rosmarinus officinalis - rosemary
  • Thymus vulgaris - thyme
  • Eucalyptus gunnii - eucalyptus
  • Agastache foeniculum - agastache
  • Salvia officinalis - sage
  • Origanum vulgare - oregano
  • Mentha piperita - peppermint
  • Hyssopus officinalis - hysop
  • Satureja montana - savory
  • Matricaria chamomilla - chamomile
  • Viola tricolor - heartsease
  • Calendula officinalis - calendula

Calendula doet het uitzonderlijk goed, zowel op de teelaarde als op de lavagrond. Ze is een ideale companion voor andere planten en groenten. Er zijn geen ziektes geweest in de tuin in het seizoen 2012, geen bladluis - enkel een heel klein beetje einde zomer, op de Calendula zelf die als aantrekker fungeert. Direct de besmette planten wegknippen gaf zeer goed resultaat, luis is ook verdwenen.
Hoe meer men de Calendula plukt (voor drogen voor maceraten), hoe meer bloemen er verschijnen. Bloemen vanaf mei tot eind oktober/november, afhankelijk van weersomstandigheden.
De geoogste zaden zijn veredeld en aangepast aan de habitat van de daktuin, het jaar erop zouden de bloemen dus nog beter moeten gedijen.


coriander en fennelseeds

Saving the seed from the veggies in the rooftop farm, to raise new young plants which are adapted better to the weather conditions on a rooftop (wind, water).

  • Vicia faba
  • Calendula officinalis
  • broccoli
  • radijs
  • maïs
  • basilicum, groot groen & thaï
  • meloen
  • paprika
  • tomaat, black prince, jaune flammée, olijf
  • salvia
  • courgette
  • pompoen

further reading:
seed sovereignty, seed action days 2011

13. a bee is a bee is a bee : city honeybees 2012

list and documentation of the foraging_flowers on the UF/O
What bees know about flowers, J. Tautz, Biology of a Superorganism


  • checked 2012/08/20
  • colony healty, queen ponding winterbees, no drones anymore (queen born 2011)
  • taken away honey super, 10 full frames, 2 half frames
  • 5 full (kempische) frames of honey in broodbox (= ±15kg) for winter
  • not yet started with sugarwater
  • thymovar 2 x 1/2 on top of brood box (22/08), repeated 2 x 1/2 on 12/09 till 03/10/2012


  • checked 2012/08/20
  • queen ponding winterbees, no drones, full colony (queen born 2012)
  • re-arranged honey supers (1 ±full, 1 ±empty) and put bee-pusher beneath upper super (have to take them away asap)
  • 2 full (kempische) frames of honey in broodbox (= ±6kg)
  • started with sugarwater: 23/08/12 - 2kg (started at night to avoid robbery) + 2kg the next day
  • thymovar 2 x 1/2 on top of brood box (22/08), repeated 2 x 1/2 on 12/09 till 03/10/2012

PADMA MOVIE on Robbery in the Apiary

HIVE#04 (old blue hive)

  • checked 2012/08/21
  • queen ponding winterbees, no drones, full colony (queen born 2011, Norbert)
  • 1 full (kempische) frame of honey in broodbox (= 3kg)
  • taken away honey super, frames half-filled
  • started with sugarwater: 23/08/12-2kg, these bees are extremely slow to take up the food (it takes triple the time as the bees of hive#03 need for the same amount of food.
  • thymovar 2 x 1/2 on top of brood box (21/08), repeated 2 x 1/2 on 12/09 till 03/10/2012

HIVE#02 (old green hive)

  • checked 2012/08/21
  • queen ponding winterbees, no drones, full colony (queen born 2011, split off from hives#01 and #03)
  • 4 full (kempische) frames of honey in broodbox (= ±12kg)
  • taken away honey super, frames half-filled
  • not yet started with sugarwater
  • thymovar 2 x 1/2 on top of brood box (21/08), repeated 2 x 1/2 on 12/09 till 03/10/2012


  • checked 2012/08/21
  • queen ponding winterbees, no drones, full colony (queen born 2012, split-off from hive#04)
  • broodbox on 10 frames instead of 12
  • 2 full (kempische) frames of honey in broodbox (= ±6kg)
  • not yet started with sugarwater
  • thymovar 2 x 1/2 on top of brood box (21/08), repeated 2 x 1/2 on 12/09 till 03/10/2012


hives varroa01 varroa02 own honey honeywater 2l honeywater 2l honeywater 2l honeywater 2l honeywater 2l honeywater2l total extra food
hive#01 22/08/2012 7/9/2012 15 kg 13/09/2012 18/09/2012 1/2 dosis 1/2 d. 1/10
hive#02 21/08/2012 13/9/201210 kg 30/08/2012 31/08/2012 01/09/2012 04/-9/2012 05/09/2012 09/09/2012 12 l = 18 kg
hive#03 22/08/2012 7/9/2012 6 kg 23/08/2012 24/08/2012 25/08/2012 26/08/2012 27/08/2012 28/08/2012 12 l = 18 kg
hive#04 21/08/2012 7/9/2012 3 kg 23/08/2012 26/08/2012 29/08/2012 01/09/2012 04/09/2012 09/09/2012 12 l = 18 kg
hive#05 21/08/2012 13/9/20125 kg 31/08/2012 01/09/2012 03/09/2012 05/09/2012 09/09/2012 13/09/2012 12 l = 18 kg
hiveKaai 09/09/2012 30/9/20121 kg 19/09/2012 21/09/2012 23/09/2010 25/09/2012 01/10/2012 -10 l = 15
hive monitored okno 08/09/2012 24/10/20121 kg 08/09/2012 13/09/2012 17/09/2012 ---6 liters
hive TopBar 08/09/2012 24/10/2012?? no extra food
hive Transparant 08/09/2012 24/10/2012?? no extra food

Opened the hive#1 (december 18 2012) to check broken sensor. Bees still alive, cosy and warm in the hive. Temperature was rising instantly when opening.
Discussed with Antonio which sensors to change and how. Try to stabilize the platform and link the data to the smartcitizenmap BCN.

14. other animals

carrion crow :
The carrion crow is generally solitary. The most distinctive feature is the voice. The deep-noted croaked kraa is distinct from any note of another bird. The Carrion Crow is noisy, perching on the top of a tree and calling three or four times in quick succession, with a slight pause between each series of croaks. Like all Corvids, Carrion Crows are highly intelligent, and are among the most intelligent of all animals.
Though an eater of carrion of all kinds, the Carrion Crow will eat insects, worms, grain, small mammals, and scraps and will also steal eggs. Crows are scavengers by nature, which is why they tend to frequent sites inhabited by humans in order to feed on their household waste. Crows will also harass birds of prey or even foxes for their kills. Crows actively hunt and occasionally co-operate with other crows to make kills.Crows have become highly skilled at adapting to urban environments.

the family Blackbird (man, wife and kids) :
The Common Blackbird is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms, seeds and berries. It feeds mainly on the ground, running and hopping with a start-stop-start progress. It pulls earthworms from the soil, usually finding them by sight, but sometimes by hearing, and roots through leaf litter for other invertebrates. Small vertebrates such as frogs, tadpoles and lizards are occasionally hunted. This species will also perch in bushes to take berries and collect caterpillars and other active insects.[25] Animal prey predominates, and is particularly important during the breeding season, with windfall apples and berries taken more in the autumn and winter. The nature of the fruit taken depends on what is locally available, and frequently includes exotics in gardens.

rock dove :
Pigeons feed on the ground in flocks or individually. They roost together in buildings or on walls or statues.Its habitat is natural cliffs, usually on coasts. Its domesticated form, the feral pigeon, has been widely introduced elsewhere, and is common, especially in cities, over much of the world. With only its flying abilities protecting it from predation, rock pigeons are a favorite almost around the world for a wide range of raptorial birds.In fact, with feral pigeons existing in most every city in the world, they may form the majority of prey for several raptor species who live in urban areas. The birds that predate pigeons in North America can range in size from and can even include gulls, crows, and ravens.

feral pigeon :
Feral pigeons (Columba livia), also called city doves, city pigeons, or street pigeons, are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock Dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. Rock (i.e. 'wild'), domestic and feral pigeons are all the same species and will readily interbreed. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, have become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world. Pigeons breed when the food supply is abundant enough to support embryonic egg development, which in cities can be any time of the year. Laying of eggs can take place up to six times per year. Pigeons tend to congregate in large, often thick flocks when feeding on discarded food, and have been observed flying skillfully around trees, buildings, telephone poles and cables, and through moving traffic just to reach a food source.

house sparrow (huismus) :

common magpie (ekster) :

common vole (veldmuis) : ⇒ babies in compost heap (early december! 2012)

15. project timeline

2012/01+02 ⇒ designing the garden, selecting trees, shrubs, herbs, vegetables
2012/01/16 ⇒ ordering seeds at De Nieuwe Tuin and Les Semailles
2012/01/25 ⇒ delivery of soil and compost (dewinter groencompost)
2012/01/30 ⇒ build a basis for the greenhouse
2012/02/24 ⇒ delivery of the greenhouse and more soil
2012/02/25 ⇒ setting up the greenhouse (spijker, david, joeri, jonasz, annemie + nelis: willy, enzo)
2012/03/09 ⇒ wooden palox boxes, help from Manus
2012/03/09 ⇒ ecoflora, native shrubs, bushes and fruit trees
2012/03/10+11 ⇒ first collective planting weekend (billy, enad, annemie, fabrice, olivia, ge, margo, jan)
2012/03/11 ⇒ designing rainwater recuperation (david)
2012/03/11 ⇒ adjusting the bee sensors (balt)
2012/03/17+18 ⇒ filling the greenhouse, transplanting seedlings, sowing (annemie)
2012/03/21 ⇒ sowing new seeds, every day!
2012/03/27 ⇒ message to move
2012/04/06 ⇒ good friday, the big move (to parking Lepage roof)
2012/04/07 ⇒ from this day onwards: installing the UrbanFarm on the rooftop of Lepage
2012/04/09 ⇒ planting help from Billy
2012/05/05 ⇒ planting help Fabrice
2012/05/25 ⇒ fight the pigeons! help from Sam & Franziska
2012/06/01 ⇒ delivery of extra lava for UrbanFarm
2012/06/03 ⇒ brukselbinnenstebuiten walk: zelf je eten kweken in de stad
2012/06/11 ⇒ Lia Leendertz and Mark Diacono, pictures and interview for book
2012/06/15 ⇒ visit Michka +2 interns
2012/06/30 ⇒ Caroline Zaoui, Greenloop
2012/07/16 ⇒ whole week working with Otber on the Farm
2012/07/17 ⇒ Canvas TV filming on the Farm (sustainable cities)
2012/07/19 ⇒ 4 days of Osmogas workshop, automation of watersystem
2012/07/26 ⇒ start book research, Barcelona
2012/08/11 ⇒ Agnes Pirlot, association Journalistes du Jardin et de l'Horticulture (interview)
2012/08/13 ⇒ interview with Alma De Walsche for MO magazine (sustainable cities)
2012/08/17 ⇒ harvest dinner
2012/08/19 ⇒ Cuban dinner
2012/08/30 ⇒ birthdays dinner (miet, radha, els, am)
2012/09/08 ⇒ connected tables at okno (els viaene, els van riel, guy, olivier van hamme, bjorn houttekier, erland, joeri, clémantine)
2012/09/08 ⇒ 6 x 500g cityhoney for Pimpinelle
2012/09/15&16 ⇒ streetmarket vlaamse steenweg
2012/09/29 ⇒ dinner El Bulli Family, the Master and the Porto's
2012/09/30 ⇒ lasso, annabelle, bjorn + vriendin
2012/10/01 ⇒ finally finish water microdrip + pumps
2012/10/05 ⇒ visite AJJH / association des journalistes de jardin et d'horticulture
2012/10/09 ⇒ install prairie in the edible forest garden
2012/10/10 ⇒ Axel Demonty, landscape architect IBGE
2012/11/18 ⇒ Fré en Kaat (antwerpen)
2012/11/20 ⇒ Emmanuelle Dubuisson, les Nouvelles du Patrimoine
2012/11/21-26 ⇒ Franziska Aigner, New Forms of Life (we harvested the potatoes and beetroot and made several great cakes with pumpkin and carrots!)
2012/12/01 ⇒ Radek,Mácek, Annemie: preparing the garden for winter (all water related stuff, compost, new planting, pruning)
2012/12/03 ⇒ Otber,Annemie: preparing the garden for winter : prune, plant new fruittrees, lifting potatoes, change rose-bushes
2012/12/06-7 ⇒ Shu Lea Cheang and Malik, harvesting the last potatoes
2012/12/08 ⇒ cleaning up the greenhouse, composting last tomato plants
2012/12/21-24 ⇒ picking Brussels sprouts, lettuce, young spinach and leak. billy, fabrice, am
2012/12/26 ⇒ planting Sedum sempervivens on the roof of the bee cabin
2012/12/28 ⇒ plant the Prunus czar and Prunus miragrande inthe orchard
2012/12/30 ⇒ pile up the compost heap, harvest the last Brussels Sprouts, replant the dog roses

nord, south east, west : rooftop vegetable garden 360°



garden north and south view

pictures of step by step building ⇒ hungry city - a set on flickr
connected OpenGreens database ⇒ greenhouse rooftop garden
dewinter groencompost ⇒
de nieuwe tuin ⇒
semences & plants biologiques et bio-dynamiques ⇒
inheemse wilde planten en kruiden ⇒

urban-artfarm-2012.txt · Last modified: 2023/12/01 18:20 by ami