Saturday, May 30, 2020

April of 2020 Summary

Triump Tulip
Triumph Tulip

April is when things start getting really hectic.  The weather is unpredictable, you don't know if it's going to be 80 degrees, snowing, hailing, raining, or all of the above in the same day.  The cold weather plants need to go in the ground as soon as possible to take advantage of the nice days as long as there aren't any big snowstorms on the horizon.  Some of the plants are getting too big for their pots and want to go in the ground ASAP.  In preparation for weening the plants to be outside, I did 19 trips up and down the stairs, twice a day, every day.  One trip to get the plants outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, then another to get them back inside so they don't freeze.  It's just hectic, I never quite know what I'll end up doing in the urban farm in April and when I do have a set plan the weather usually has other plans.  I was able to start buying some early season produce from my favorite local farm, Ollin Farms.  For the first two weeks I bought a 2 pound (.91 kilos) bag of spinach each week, and I went through each bag in its entirety!  I was so happy to taste fresh food again.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Summertime is Margarita Time!

"If life gives you limes, make margaritas."  -Jimmy Buffett

Margarita on Patio
Enjoying a Homemade Margarita on the Patio

Okay, okay, it's not officially summer until June 20th BUT it has felt quite a lot like summer lately ssssoooo why not just make some margaritas and enjoy it?!  Margaritas can be enjoyed any day and any time, while gardening, after gardening, while bowling, playing croquet, throwing darts, juggling fire, you name it, it's margarita time no-matter the day / time / occasion!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Seeds, Where it all Begins!

"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed.  Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
- Henry David Thoreau

Seeds in Palm of Hand
Mongolian Giant Sunflower Seeds
Seeds, where it all begins!  You can't grow any vegetables or flowers without these babies and thus they are a very important part of any farm or garden.  There are vast amounts of roads we could go down with this one and endless topics that can be discussed when it comes to the black hole that is seed politics.  We're not going to get too deep in the weeds with this post (half of you are probably sighing with relief and the other half are angrily shaking fists at me), but we'll still skirt some weeds, it's inevitable.  This early on in the blog I'm just going to focus on where I get my seeds from with a light touch on why I buy my seeds from these very specific sources.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Hopes, Dreams, and Goals for 2020

"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness." 
- Thomas Jefferson

Urban Farm with Sunset

Who knows what the fourth year of the urban farm will bring.  My overall goal is fairly simple:

Try and get the farm to be as productive, if not more productive, than last year while simultaneously expanding my general, overall, knowledge and doing a better job of preserving food for the winter along with focusing more on composting and soil health.

That should be a fairly easy and attainable goal however the reality is that each year you have no idea what challenges mother nature is going to throw at you.  Hail from a storm could annihilate the urban farm within a five minute time span.  There could be a late frost after transplanting the seedlings (last year there was snow in the last week of May).  Pests that I haven't encountered before could decide that they love my urban farm and want to reside here.  There are so many unknowns but you just have to trust what you already know to get you through whatever challenges you may encounter during the growing season.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Top Ten Things I've Learned (So Far)

"The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world." 
- Michael Pollan

1. Weeds suck.  Landscaping fabric helps a lot to keep the weeds manageable.  Some weeds even emit chemicals from their roots to kill off surrounding plants to help the weed thrive.  Pull them as soon as possible.

2. Drip irrigation is the way to go for watering your plants.  It's easy, efficient, and fairly easy to build initially.

3. Rotate those crops!!!  Don't grow the same thing in the same spot year after year, rotate everything around.  Different plants use different nutrients, if you grow the same thing in the same spot you're going to use up the nutrients in the ground that the particular type of plant uses.  Rotate the plants to keep the nutrients in the ground balanced to help keep the soil healthy.