Terrace Garden

1. Terrace Garden

1.1. What?

This action will continue the action proposed last semester for creating a garden in the currently-usused terrace attached to the IES center. The garden will include plants that provide for the best sustainablity: either plants that fix CO2 at the fastest rate, or that provide raw materials for human consuption or use. These can include herbs, spices, fruits and/or vegetables. Flowers and grass are also possibilities, if within time/money/effort constraints.

1.2. Why?

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

Carbon Fixation
At the basic level, any plant life in the terrace will fix CO2 in the atmosphere into sugars. This reduces the overall carbon footprint of the city.

Water Trapping
The greater the area taken up by the plants, and the better the plants are at holding newly fallen rainwater, the more water is stored in the soil/roots of the plants that would otherwise become runoff that carries city pollution to rivers and the oceans.

Raw Materials
If the plants are chosen correctly, the terrace will provide materials such as food, spices, or other materials that could be used by the IES students and staff. This will reduce the overall carbon footprint of IES by reducing the overall food/materials that IES needs to buy.

Synergy With Other Projects
If the water collection and composting projects are also realized, the terrace garden will provide a use for the collected water and the compost, possibly eliminating the need to transport the water and compost to appropriate facilities, as well as eliminating any need to filter the rainwater.

1.2.2. Potential Costs

Buying materials and plants
This project will require a good amount of startup funds, depending on the level of complexity it takes. This can range from just buying seeds, soil, and pots, to also having to buy mature plants, watering mechanisms, or fertilizer.

Provided the garden includes plants that need to be cared for in any way (tending, fertilizer, watering, replanting), that is added costs for water/fertilizer that is not provided by the water collection or composting projects, and especially costs for needing someone to care for the plants, especially during school breaks.

1.3. How

Ideally, there would be a budget proposal for the materials needed to present to the director of IES for the types of plants suggested for use, and any other materials needed including dirt, pots, and any miscellaneous (eg. rope or something to attach pots to fences). After this, merely setting up the plants would be required if only plants that are accustomed to the Mediterranean environment are planted. If, however, plants that require extra care are used, then someone must be found that can take care of the plants during school breaks, whether they be a teacher, staff, or someone specifically hired to take care of the plants.

1.3.1. What has been done so far:

Due to constraints on time and effort, the goals have been drastically reduced to merely planting fruit-bearing plants that are acclimated to the Mediterranean environment, so that they are not reliant on human care. The ideal plant chosen for this is Vitis Vinifera, the wild grape vine native to the Mediterranean. This plant is not only acclimated to the Mediterranean environment, but because it is a vine, space can be saved on the terrace by allowing it to grow along the fences lining the terrace (which are also the few parts of the terrace that occasionally receive direct sunlight). In addition, the grapes would be easy and welcoming to eat raw.

Unfortunately, work is still being done to locate a nearby vendor of grape seeds or grape vines. The common street vendors (especially those along Las Ramblas), a couple local vendors (near Horta), and on the website of a larger vendor (see references) all do not sell grape seeds or vines.

A nearby garden plant seller recommended to the project:
A very nice plant reference site, used in searching for specific types of plants:
Another good reference site:
PDF version of fall 2009 action report, where the Terrace Garden was first suggested:

Update on April 25th

Since the page was last updated, 4 plants were planted in the terrace. Because grapes which were acclimated to the Mediterranean environment were unable to be found, instead 4 plants which may not be capable of surviving without care were chosen. 4 different species were chosen so as to diversify the garden, in the hopes that at least one of the 4 may survive. The 4 species chosen were:

Mulberry – Morus
Raspberry – Rubus idaeus
Hanging Tomato -
Cocktail Tomato -

The hanging tomato and the cocktail tomato plants were bought as seeds, and the other two were bought as stems. The mulberry and raspberry plants were planted into round, approximately 5 liter pots. Both of the tomato plants were planted into a rectangular, approximately 10 liter pot. All pots were secured to the fence along the back of the terrace with wire. Costs for all pieces were as followed:

Tomato seeds: €1.50 each (€3 total)
Other plants: €1.99 each (€3.98 total)
Pots and dirt: €14.60 total
Wire: €1

1.5. Students Involved in This Action

Leader: Michael Trejo
Helpers: Christina Williams and Tyler Ben-Amotz

 Assignment 8: Peer review form

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Page last modified on Monday 03 of November, 2014 19:16:16