Urban Farm U Community:
Your 2016 Intentions
Last week, I asked you to send in your 2016 urban farming-related new year’s resolutions. I am always blown away by the ambition of the urban farming community, and the thoughtful responses you sent in were no exception! I had planned to give a shout-out to those that submitted their intentions, but after reading your emails I decided that the only way to do justice to your plans would be to make a post containing your 2016 resolutions in their entirety.
Wishing you all a fruitful 2016 in your food-growing endeavors! If you didn’t send in your resolution but want to share with the community, I welcome you to comment below… you might just inspire someone to make 2016 their Year of Urban Farming.
Co-founder & co-director of Rodgers Ranch Urban Farm and Teaching Gardens
My husband and I asked our Rec & Park Board to take an unused historic piece of land back to its farming roots in 2012. Amazingly, they said yes. They’d let us use the land, and even throw in water, BUT we’d have to do and supply everything else. For 2 years we scraped, borrowed, recycled, and chiseled ~3000 sq ft of beds out of sloping adobe clay. We built greenhouses and a tool shed, herb spirals and a keyhole bed, vermicomposting and composting stations. So I give us a bye on not doing this the first 2 years because we were focused on building infrastructure (and had never done anything like this before – we’re city folk with high tech backgrounds living in a townhome).
Now we’ve Peter Principled, so our intention for 2016 is:
Make a planting plan and stick to it, updating results as they occur.
By stating this publicly, I’m honor bound to do it. As we can grow year round here, zone 9b, this needs to be done no later than 1/31/16.
Connect with Marian and Rodgers Ranch:
Rodgers Ranch Meetup Group
Rodgers Ranch Facebook
My urban farm plan is a bit different. Last year we moved onto 9.8 acres, very hilly and surrounded with corn/soy monocultures. We are no longer urban, but we plan to use many urban farming techniques to grow food for many people in smaller plots of land while restoring surrounding pollinator and wildlife habitat, growing our own garden-fertilizer, and many other things. Our goal is to establish a beautiful artisan farm to grow food to feed our family and member-supporters of our small farm business. It is a lot of work and last year was not easy, but we keep moving forward – slowing erosion, rebuilding soil on depleted hills, reestablishing pollinator-supporting perennial growth. That is our small-farm plan.
At this point my plans are small but important to me and Conklin Family Farm. I am in the process of building a second garden bed with better sun exposure than my first. Next, in March I hope to get three fruit trees in the ground. Small steps towards future goals.
I’m such a greenhorn that I’m going to be proud of myself if I grow some lettuce in my little grow lamp thingie!
Federal Way, WA
This is the year I’m putting my house on the market to get away from the general population of Federal Way, WA and head southeast for a smaller town. I want a flatter piece of property, preferably an acre or two for privacy, and a single story home. I’m tired of stairs, and I’m tired of traffic. I would love to have a large workshop/garage where I can work on my cars, wash and wax them inside, and have a place for ALL my tools…and perhaps a new lawn tractor!
I would also like enough property to have my garden and a greenhouse. I want to grow my own vegetables year-round. I want a lot large enough that I can leave a portion of it natural to provide an area for the resident critters and not have to maintain it, yet have as much firewood as I need at my beck and call.
I realize that this isn’t going to happen all at once, but it’s always good to have a dream, isn’t it?
My New Year Garden resolution is to outsmart my composter. I have composted for years successfully, but in Sept I started composting in a Joraform Composter to save on my back. It grows stuff instead of decomposing. I have tried all the standard trouble shooting or at least I think I have and to no success. I can’t seem to contact Joraform in any way and get no response from Jake who talked me into the Joraform with his great sale pitch 🙂 Any ideas?
My garden is looking great, beats, carrots, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, dill, parsnips, lettuce, spinach, kale, peppers etc. I struggle also with covering it and would welcome any recommendations. I am so done with sheets. My garden is about 9 yards long and about 1 good yard wide.
I’m trying to get vertical with my garden. I’d like to get some more permanent established plants and beds in my 50×70 square ft garden section! I’d like to take a stab at chicken tunnels for my girls and new guineas. I’m also thinking turkeys and a pig.. I have been doing my own chicken processing and I’d like to pursue more experience in home grown and raised food. I hope the 2016 year of the house is in my favor!
My intention for my urban farm in 2016 is to invest my time and energy more wisely, focusing on activities that will result in continuous rewards rather than one-time rewards. Like spending more time mulching so I can spend less time weeding, and building a new & larger chicken feeder so I don’t have to refill their feed so often.
I am a Urban gardener wanna bee [pun intended]… I have two small strips of dirt that I garden in and random vegetables growing in pots…
I have tried to compost – I got great soil from it but my husband made me get rid of it when he saw cockroaches in the pile. I would love to have a yard full of fruit bearing trees & shrubs but I have two large Ash trees. I haven’t had the heart to cut my big trees down so I can have an orchard.
My husband loves concrete and I love the land. So, I try to eek out as many living things to make me happy and still make the marriage work (30yrs going strong).
We live in an HOA L… We aren’t allowed to have livestock or chickens. I would have a sheep, goat and chickens if it was allowed.
This year I vow to listen to more podcasts and try to better space plan my garden. I am also looking into vertical hydroponic gardening structures.
The Herb Lady
Much of my gardening/farming has been a mixture of focused food production and experimenting with the next/other/new variety because I’m 1) always curious if it can be grown here, and 2) because I always want to share and encourage folks to grow more of their own food.
An example of experimenting is the success of a project on how to grow capers and successfully harvest viable seed, which Suzanne Vilardi and I started 3 years ago. Last spring Suzanne was able to grow about 100 young plants from seeds I supplied from a mother plant she gave to me. It came full circle and we were thrilled with the success. We continue and will continue to hopefully expand this project. I think it would be wonderful for a local farmer with land to start a commercial caper production here in the valley. One of the most interesting parts of my part of the experiment was that one of the plants did exceptionally well in: a) full sun, b) exposed soil (no mulch) and c) with reduced watering once established down to once a week through the summer. The plant was attacked by flea beetles but the overall success of a full sun/minimal watering was impressive.
So, we are looking at replacing some of our aging fruit trees with some new to us – we are going to try a Barbados Cherry.
I’m looking at experimenting with a tiny forest of avocado, coffee and mango (ala Scott Murray – my gosh did that man get my mental gears going!).
I am also taking my farming/gardening to working with Mesa Urban Garden in a proposed series of seasonally appropriate lectures with MUG to direct folks to MUG and also encourage more inner-city families to take advantage of their bed rental and activities.
I am also intending to expand my seed harvesting and saving to utilize with the free seed share I do at the Mesa Community Farmers Market 3 times a year, and add to both MUG and the new seed library at the Mesa Library.
One last plant I was very much to have success with is a heritage pumpkin – once grown at Monticello. “Upper Ground Sweet Potato Pumpkin” reported to have the taste of a sweet potato in a pumpkin form. While trying it this last summer, it needed another month worth of growing before the cold hit so I plan on sowing July 1st and see how it fares this coming year.
Many thanks to Marian, Miranda, Chad, Julie, Bob, Marilyn, Jessica, Brad, Pamala, and Catherine for sending in your resolutions. Let Your Year of Urban Farming commence!