Building community one seed at a timeLive your passions, realize your dreams!
MariLark was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Marie and Larkin Smith. They were the great aunt and uncle of the current owner and built MariLark in 1941, calling their home “MariLark” a combination of their two names, Marie and Larkin.
To honor their dedication and passion to their home and the local community, a sign was carved in 1997 and placed on the corner of the property to commemorate and continue the tradition of the passion for the home and local community.
Ever wonder what effect a greenhouse might have on your life? Well, this little 6′ x 8′ structure changed my life. Watch it being built here. →
MariLark circa 1950
MariLark was built in 1941 by Marie and Larkin Smith, calling it MariLark soon after completing the construction. Back then the neighborhood was like being in the woods and was called Berkeley Woods before being incorporated into the City of Berkeley in...read more
Launching a movement! Rarely in life do you exceed your expectations and the launch of the Community Seed Bank (CSB), otherwise known as the little red barn, was one of those occasions. In the planning stages for years, the seed bank and the adjoining farm...read more
I met Ben Nardinelli about three years ago at a San Francisco Bay/East Bay Urban Farm tour. The farm tour, set up by Ruby at the Institute for Urban Homesteading, visited a number of urban farms in the Berkeley and Oakland border area. We were stopped at Wanda...read more
Our 5th annual tomato tasting was a huge success.
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Myth #1 - I need a greenhouse to start seeds!
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only do you NOT need a greenhouse to start seeds, many seeds can be directly sown in the ground. Yes, it helps to start seeds indoors when you live in a cold climate or when the winter light is short. This can be done by placing a few seeds in wet paper towel, folding the paper towel and placing it inside a baggie. If you can, reuse a baggie and hang it from a string near a window in your kitchen for five to seven days. Check the seeds after three days and once you see the roots begin to emerge from the seeds, place the seeds one at a time in an old strawberry or blueberry container with soil and place in the kitchen window seal.
Myth #2: Growing Organic doesn't really matter
The reality is, chemical pesticides not only have many harmful effects on our health, they can ruin the environment and make the soil less and less healthy year after year. Growing organically can be a lot of work but it does matter both for the taste of the thing you are growing and for the health of the local community. Pesticides, whether they are “organic” or not are not the answer. Building healthy soil is the answer and for home gardeners this might be as simple as rotating the spots where you grow your tomatoes or lettuce each year and planting a cover crop over the winter.
Myth #3: My home-grown tomatoes are expensive
Sometimes it seems easier to just buy the tomatoes from your local grocery store doesn’t it? When you first begin growing tomatoes. It might take a year or two to get the hang of it and might be frustrating. But once you get the bug, you have to grow the perfect tomato.
Heirloom tomatoes grown at home will not only taste better, they are more nutritious and can be much cheaper than those in the store. Be careful, after growing your own tomatoes you may never want to buy a store “grown” tomato again. You probably already know that gardening for food requires certain maintenance like organic fertilizers, care of the soil and more, making most people think that you need to spend a lot of money to grow great tomatoes.