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Village Homes Tour

Village Homes Tour – 31st July 2011

Thank you everyone who participated and especially, Jerry Igelsrud, our guide, for making this a wonderful experience! If anyone else is interested in touring Village Homes, you can contact Jerry to request a tour.

Starting the day in Village Homes, Jerry in the foreground. The sun is already scorching hot and it is barely 10am.
This is a typical Village Homes road – it dead ends, garages or carports to the houses on both sides. No roads cross Village Homes development, therefore it is very quiet and relaxing, even more so, than on the country roads. The streets are narrow, so that the shade from tall trees covers the asphalt most of the day. It was really cool and pleasant walking around.
What does it look like? A dry, grassy knoll and a lost chimney?
This is a view from the top of a living roof. Covered with a thick layer of earth, it insulates the house underneath from cold and noise, soaks up rain and allows for plants to grow. Temperature measured at the base of the roof, under all the soil and gravel, is between 83F and 85F year round!
View of one of the vinyeards from the top of the earthen roof. It is all part of the Village Homes community, that’s a high density development in Davis (60 acres, 220 houses and 20 apartments). It is very hard to put those words together, high density development, with the experience of being in a beautiful, peacefull park, abundant with fruit. A green paradise here on Earth, built in 70-ties – a matrix waiting to be copied in other places on the planet.

A stroll to the next destination.
Surprise: a full size mullberry tree. There was lots of fruit on it, some ripe and delicious…
This is a swale – a sloping depression in the ground, that diverts and spreads the rain water. Some of the water sinks in the ondulating swale, some of it flows to a seasonal pond. All of the rainwater in Village Homes, sinks in the ground right there, replenishing the ground water. None makes it to the city’s sewer.
A typical pedestrian/bike path, that criss cross Village Homes, next to community gardens. This place is certainly crowded: with fruit and veggies! You may ask: where are the houses? It is hard to take photos of the houses, because they are lost in the gardens around. As you walk around, you get glimpses of them between vegetation.
We found some chickens in the community garden section.This is the end of our tour. It is hard to leave this paradise but it is also obvious that we need to find a way to bring some if it to our own towns.

Thank you all for participating!!! It was such a pleasure. Jerry, for guiding us and explaining everything patiently, and remembering all the questions, Burt and Margie, for telling the stories of the beginnings, William, for the expert information and everyone else for participating, asking questions and enjoying the tour!

Heirloom Tomato Plant Sale and Swap

Plant Sale and Swap at the Cupertino Earth Day Event 2011

We enjoy participating in this event – it is a sheer pleasure to share with people something so good, tasty and wholesome as garden grown, heirloom tomatoes. One of us got a chance to pass this message on to the media: watch the video on YouTube.

Proudly presenting, introducing and selling heirloom tomato starts. Some plants were available for swap and we were also giving away free seeds.

It got crowded at times…

Sawako holding the post.

What seeds are these?

See you next year!


Winter Seed Exchange

Here are a few photos…
…from our 2011 First Seed Exchange (5th of February 2011):

The heat of the exchange – so many different seeds, so much to learn!

The usual dilema: what to choose?

Karen on the left: unexpectedly we have early tomato starts to choose from. Thank you Karen!

This was a bit of a seed exchange picnic, though nobody took a photo of the goodies table.

Glad to see other people just as excited about planting food in their yards.

To plant this or not to plant, this is the question…


  Chef Jef Piazzon and Gary Stockdale.


Summer Seed Exchange

Here are photos…
…from our summer 2010 Seed Exchange (29th of August 2010):

Sharing calcium powder to cure tomato end bottom rot.

This time around we had lots of books, not just seeds for sharing. Our fan from Oakland showed up – Kathleen took public transit to join our SeedExchange!

Searching through the boxes for surprise seeds…

We tasted a few tomatoes, talked a lot and generally had a really good time! The idea of “garden hopping” arouse – stay tuned for that…

Grey Water Workshop at Susan’s

Here are the photos…
…from our GreyWater Workshop – thanks to Susan Cann for hosting the event (6th of June 2010):

Between Susan’s promotion of the event and myself we had a nice group of people interested in the topic show up.  Alan explained first about the rules and regulations, and participants shared their stories.  We learned that the laundry to landscape solution is the most promoted by the state.  At the same time, there is only one brand of landscape safe soap that can be used in such system: Oasis. Lot’s of room for improvement…

Close up of the crowd.


Landscaping `before` the event – Susan wanted to remove the brick planter and all the plants to start fresh. She is still to decide what to do with this area…


In the garage – Alan explains what we will install next to the washing machine.


The water output connection `before`.


Water output connection as it will be, using a three way valve. The valve controls if the water should flow to the landscape or the sewer.

Since placement of main water drainage is not yet resolved, the water will flow through this barrel first to slow it down. Once the placement of output pipes is determined, this barrel will be removed.

Ooutput connection `after`. The right side of the valve is not yet connected, since another decision has not been made yet: where to drill the whole in the garage wall for the output hose.

Close up of the three way valve with connections.

A simple solution to keeping output hose covered, yet not in the ground, so that plant roots don’t enter it – an inverted 1 gallong plastic pot with top partially cut off.

A mockup of how the water will flow to the landscape: the output hose goes into the inverted 1 gallon pot and will discharge there. The pot in the middle simulates a tree, with a shallow trench around it filled with coarse mulch. The top of inverted pot can be covered by mulch or a statue – possibilities are endless.

Heirloom Tomato Plants Sale and Swap

Heirloom Tomato Plant Sale and Swap!
Never got a chance to try growing those heirloom tomatoes, everybody is talking about? Now is your chance!

We will be selling a variety of Heirloom Tomato plants at Cupertino’s Earth Day celebrations, on the 17th of April 2010.  The event will be held at the City Hall Plaza, from 10am till 2pm.  We will have a selection of black, red, pink and yellow varieties.  Slicers, paste and cherry tomatoes.  Contact us NOW, if you have any special variety requirements, and we will see if we can fullfill them.  If you would like to purchase seedlings, please RSVP, so we have an idea of how many people are interested and bring enough plants!

The Heirloom Tomato varieties that we will be selling will come from local farms.  We will also have our own seedlings that will be offered for swapping: mainly tomatoes (Green Zebra, Yellow Brandywine, Ox Heart, Black Prince, to name just a few), plus some egg plants and peppers.  Bring your own heirloom veggie plants to the booth and exchange with us or other gardeners!

In the light of the Earth Day celebrations we will be also collecting old, plastic plant pots for reuse.  If you bring more than 5 pots, you will get a free seedling to take home!

Lastly, have questions about growing veggies?  We will have seasoned growers with us to answer your questions.  Thus, come and see us at the Cupertino’s Earth Day celebrations!

Would you like to volunteer? We can always use some help setting up, manning the booth or even simply taking photos.  Email us if you could help with any of these tasks (another chance to score a free seedling or two…).