Monday, October 5, 2020

How to Urban Farm

 "Hey Urban Farmer Guy, this is all cool and everything but how in the world can I do this myself???  Where do I even start?  What do I do?  How do I Urban Farm?"

That is a fantastic question and it is exactly what I'm going to delve into next on this blog.  Now that you've had a chance to follow me for a season and you have a better idea of what I do.  I'm going to show you how YOU can do this too!  The time to start planning for the 2021 gardening season is NOW!  You can't delay it at all and you certainly can't put it off until the spring, that is wwwwaaaaayyyyyy too late to start thinking about it (although it is precisely what I did in my first season).  The planning needs to commence and the building blocks need to start right NOW.  It's actually already time to plant the garlic so we are even a bit late to the game and behind for the 2021 season but fear not!!!  It'll be okay, we'll get there!

Farmer Pointing Finger
You can do this too (yes you)!

This is going to be a fairly general guide and I'm going to try really hard to not get too specific about anything in particular, but we'll see what happens.  I'm hoping to take you from zero to hero and teach you what I've learned from all of my mistakes that I've made over the past four years so you can avoid those and just dive head first into growing your own food with minimal frustration.  My urban farm is located in the lovely Longmont, Colorado in the United States of America so everything that I do is based around that climate specifically, which is just chaotic from a climate standpoint.  Which actually probably makes it a really good middle ground for all of the different climates around the world.  Just keep in mind that for any weather or climate that gets mentioned, I'm referring to the front range of Colorado (unless otherwise noted).  You may need to adjust the timing of when things are done or even how things are done, for where you live specifically.  If you're brand new to this, don't even worry about that part.  You will learn as you go and you will certainly find out pretty fast if you need to adjust anything!  But again, I'm going to try and keep this fairly general so it is useful for you, no matter where you live.

This is going to be a follow along guide and I'll be posting these articles just before they need to actually be done.  These are the steps that I do on my Urban Farm and I'll be doing them at about the same time that each post is made.  You can follow along and make your very own Urban Farm or Garden if you'd like to, which I highly encourage you to do!  If you'd like to receive an email each time a new post is made, you can sign up for that by entering your email address on the Stay in Touch page.  You can also follow along with me on Instagram to get a more real-time look at what I'm doing and when I'm doing it.  I also highly encourage you to send me any questions you have or if you need clarification on anything or if you just want to say hi.  Go for it, send me an email or DM ("Direct Message" for you old people) on Instagram and I'll respond back if I'm able to.  If you happen to be in the Longmont, Colorado area and you want to exchange veggies, etc. certainly let me know as well!  One of my long term goals is to build up a community of people who are doing the urban farming and gardening thing and want to swap produce, bounce ideas off of each other, brainstorm, banter, exchange veggie jokes that nobody else gets, etc.  I don't have the slightest idea how I'll go about doing that but the base idea (as of now) is to start building that community locally and it should just naturally expand from there on its own with minimal nurturing.  Certainly let me know if you're in the area doing the urban farming / gardening thing and if you're interested in connecting with other people locally who are doing the same thing.

While this blog is shifting a bit and it is now going to turn more into a useful guide (hopefully useful anyways) on how YOU can create your very own urban farm or garden, there will certainly still be some loosely related (or not related at all) posts from time to time.  If you've been enjoying those random posts / rants / articles that make an appearance from time to time those will certainly still be making random appearances!  This guide also isn't going to be solely about growing your own food, which it is but it also isn't.  The more I do this, the more I realize that this is really a lifestyle more than anything along with looking at the world a bit differently and connecting with nature in a raw way that you depend on and learn from.  I'll certainly be delving into cooking and preserving food, I've had mass amounts of requests for posts on both of those subjects, so I'll most certainly be covering that and it's just part of this whole lifestyle as well.  If you're growing your own food, you need to be able to preserve your bounty as well as cook it!

If you're anything like me you just can't be surprised with a new post telling you what to do, you need to know about it ahead of time.  I've created a super awesome outline of what each post is going to be about and the rough order in which they're going to occur along with a rough timeline of when that post is going to be made.  This should give you a rough idea of the topics that I'm going to cover, ahead of time, so you can be ready to tackle it yourself!

Are you ready to get started yet?!  

How to Urban Farm / Garden Guide - The basic guide of how to stop wasting your money on growing useless grass and how to better utilize your space and resources by growing food that you can eat!!!

Start by watching these:

The Good Carbon Story -Ichsani Wheeler (TEDx Talk)

Then you may want to check these out:

Here's how the guide is going to go down:

-Roughly Plan your Urban Farm / Garden - whole yard or portion? - ASAP

-Plant that Garlic! - ASAP or early spring (before winter is preferable)

-Tilling & Broadforking - Break that Dirt Up! - ASAP and/or Spring

-Composting: Turn Your Food Scraps into Nutritious Black Gold - ASAP

-Order Those Seeds!!! (December)

-New Age Composting a.k.a The Great Composting Experiment of 2020

-Water Your Veggies - Drip Irrigation - Plan it out now, build in spring

-Keeping the Weeds at Bay - Landscaping Fabric - Plan it out now, put it down in spring (if using)

-Continue to Plan and Dream! November / December

-Don't forget about flowers! November / December

-Crop Rotation - Rotate, Rotate, RotateNovember / December

-Seed Starting - Think Vertical!

-Start Seeds Somewhere... Sometime

-Get the First of the Seeds Planted - February 

-March Means Start More Seeds - March

-Til & Broadfork - February / March / April - whenever able

-Put down landscaping fabric (if using) - after tilling / broadforking

-Build Irrigation System - February / March / April - whenever able

-April Seeds & What to Plant for Spring - April

-Ween Off the Plants (a.k.a. Harden Off) Late April / May (depending on weather)

-Get the Cold Weather Plants Outside - Mid to late May (depending on weather)

-How To Build Your Own Fancy Dancy PVC TrellisAnytime

-Get the Warm Weather Plants Outside - After the last frost (mid-Mayish)

-Greens and Things - Salad Season (Harvesting Greens)

-Get to Know Your Weed(s)

-Garlic Scapes: The Underappreciated Tasty Treat

-Harvesting Garlic

-Harvesting Squash & Squash Flowers

-Preserve Food: Quickly & Easily

-Making Pickles

-Fall Plantings

-How to Make Salsa AND Pasta Sauce

-Grill Those Sunflowers!

-Kimchi Making

-Freeze Time

-Cleanup and Plant Garlic to prepare for next season

-Sprout it Up! Cheap, Easy and Delicious Food

While you are doing all of this you are simultaneously watching everything grow, hoping that storms / hail don't annihilate everything, harvesting your food as it's ready, cooking the food you harvested, and preserving any excess food that won't be eaten right away.  As the season goes on you slowly watch everything die (or suddenly if a big freeze arrives early).  Once winter rolls in you'll likely have mixed emotions and be both super happy and super sad at the same time that winter is here.  Alas, winter means it's time to start planning for next year along with reviewing what you learned / messed up and adjusting your plan for next year accordingly.

BOOM, simple as that!!  Who's ready to stop growing grass and to start growing veggies and flowers?!?!

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