Yesterday, I blogged about window gardening, a born-in-Brooklyn DIY gardening technique ideal for urbanites who lack backyards and/or who are resistant to take to their roofs. So what about city dwellers who do have a bit of (neglected) outdoor space but don’t have the slightest idea how to start their greenthumbed pursuits?

Let the Back Garden Project, a new blog series from Gordon Douglas over at GOOD serve as inspiration. Only two posts in, the Back Garden Project chronicles this intrepid urban gardener’s mission to transform an overgrown, down-and-out lot behind his new Brooklyn apartment building into a vibrant, functional garden. Douglas, a native of California’s Central Valley, has experience growing veggies in urban areas. Prior to moving to my beloved former stomping ground, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Douglas had a plot in a community garden in Chicago. What Douglas doesn’t have, however, is experience clearing out trash and starting from scratch in a neglected urban lot that doesn’t appear to be even slightly garden-ready.

Through the Back Garden Project, Douglas will “track the adventure of clearing, planning, planting, and nurturing this garden over the coming months” (with his landlady’s consent, of course). On initial, exploratory visits to make way for a garden, Douglas notes that “every time I reach my hands into the soil to grab what looks like a small piece of metal or cloth, it ends up being just the corner of some huge piece of debris that's half buried and half decomposed. I've found everything from car parts to women's clothes.”

I’m curious to see how things progress over the coming weeks for Douglas. It looks like he truly has his work cut out for him. Keep up to speed over at the Back Garden Project blog — and maybe those of you with some experience transforming similarly uninviting spaces into verdant, veggie-filled gardens can throw out some pointers. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

A plot grows in Brooklyn
GOOD's Gordon Douglas chronicles his mission to transform a down-and-out, trash-strewn backyard plot in Brooklyn into a functional, veggie-producing garden.