It Doesn’t Get More Local Than This!
Gardening in the desert is one great big grand experiment. The picture to the right is one of those experiments: a terracotta bulb pot planted with potatoes. The experiment is growing potatoes in the winter and in a pot. I’ll keep you posted.
I am still getting puzzled looks when people learn that I have moved out of the Urban Farm, the north Phoenix home that I lived in and created as the Urban Farm for over 24 years. To be honest, it still baffles me a little as well.
I still own the Urban Farm and it is being managed very well by Shannon Boomer and her family. The bottom line is that the Urban Farm is still what we as a community created it to be. Although we have not offered any tours this year, primarily because of the transition, look for spring tours on the calendar in February, March and April.
In the spirit of growing food, I have started the New Urban Farm in the backyard of my townhouse. The back patio is perfect for growing. It is about 300 square feet, faces south and is home to my tower garden (seen in the background of the photo), three 2-by-3-foot growing boxes and bunches of pots. I am taking my own advice and experimenting.
Another experiment that I did this past spring was to raise and butcher my own meat birds. We raised them from chick to plate at the Urban Farm. People sometimes look aghast at me for doing such a thing and I have to say that the first time I did it a couple of years ago it was quite challenging, as I had never really killed anything in my life. The impetus for me to do this is that I am not a vegetarian and so I wanted to participate in the process to see what it was like. And while it was not always enjoyable it was quite fulfilling… AND quite filling of the crock pot.
Of the entire process, the taking of a life was the hardest part. By doing so, I have really come to appreciate the value of
humanely-raised meat birds and am willing to pay $25 for one. Plus, I am much more of a vegetarian these days.
So yesterday, I added two onions, celery, Malabar spinach, a little vinegar, salt, water and an Urban Farm- raised chicken to the crock pot and cooked it overnight. I awoke to the aromatic smell of chicken broth and prepared chicken salad for lunch. The organic broth, which is full of nutrients, I jar up, freeze and use for making chicken soup and as the base for rice and quinoa. I realize that this is probably not for everyone, but in the long run it enriches my living experience.
As for Heidi and Greg’s harvest so far this fall: pok choy, bok choy, chard, lettuce, three different varieties of kale, chives, basil, mint, broccoli and beet tops.