Urban Agriculture BLOG POSTS

Growing Mushrooms

by Deborah Frieze June 2, 2014

It couldn’t be easier. Find some fresh hardwood logs. Drill holes an inch or so deep, fill the holes with mushroom spore, seal with wax and leave in a shaded place. A year from now, we’ll get our first crop of  mushrooms, followed by another every six months for 5 to 7 years. How about that?
Thanks to our neighbor Dan Bensonoff and a half dozen curious mycophiles, we are now proud cultivators of Shiitake mushrooms. The technique Dan showed us has been in use throughout the far east for at least 1,000 years and is well-adapted to our climate. Come check it out next spring!

The Community That Plants Together…

by Deborah Frieze May 28, 2014


Food is a catalyst for bridging difference and bringing people together to create healthy and resilient communities. That’s why urban agriculture is such an important activity at the Old Oak Dojo. But we’ve faced two big challenges: contaminated soil and limited sunshine.

With the help of our permaculture friends at Restoring Roots gardening, we’ve constructed four large raised beds from cinder blocks and filled them with soil, compost and mulch from local sources. Now we’re ready to plant our second year of shade-tolerant crops.

Friends and neighbors from Jamaica Plain and beyond joined us on Sunday, May 25th to plant tons of vegetables, flowers and herbs. Better still, we met new friends, had great conversations, enjoyed the gorgeous weather and ate yummy snacks together. Thanks for joining us!

Fruiting Up the Place

by Deborah Frieze April 27, 2014

food forest

Ever tasted a juneberry? How about a serviceberry? Ever seen a pie berry tree? Do you know this difference between currants, gooseberries and jostaberries?

We planted our paw-paws last fall. This time we’re creating a fruiting food forest with the guidance of Restoring Roots gardeners Noah, Cheryl and Karen. They’re teaching us about soil amendment, positioning and planting fruiting trees and shrubs.We’ll put in low- and high-bush blueberry, a dwarf plum tree, currants and more. Then we’ll wait…

Who wants to help us make jam about a year from now?

The Taste of Trees

by Deborah Frieze March 18, 2014

sugar maple

This past weekend, our friend Sage Radachowsky posted on Facebook that he was tapping trees, but bemoaned the fact that he had access only to Norway maples rather than Sugar maples. Generally speaking, the taste is equal — it’s just that it takes 60 litres of Norway maple sap to get 1 litre of syrup, whereas with Sugar maples, it takes on 40 litres.

Meantime, I’d been thinking: “Who can we find to tap our Sugar Maple, since I’m away right now?” And thus a match was made.

We now have a bucketful of sap, which Aaron has been dipping into from time to time to sample its raw flavor. He says it tastes woody and sweet, and goes down with an electrolyte buzz like coconut water. Delish.


New England’s Tropical Fruit

by Deborah Frieze October 2, 2013


Betcha didn’t know that we New Englanders have our very own tropical fruit. (Well, perhaps tropical-like would be more accurate.) Read More »