205: Nancy Bailey on Prolific Vegetables in Small Spaces.

Increasing the yield of a small garden through planning and care.

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Nancy BaileyNancy had an idyllic childhood growing up in western New York State next door to her grandfather who she adored. He had a small farm where he raised a few head of beef cattle and a few dozen chickens. While much of the 10-acres was devoted to raising hay and grain to feed and bed the cattle, her father and grandfather also managed a large vegetable garden and an apple orchard.
Her mom canned and froze the garden’s considerable bounty; and while she was young, it didn’t occur to Nancy to consider how special it was to be fed free-range grass-fed beef, farm fresh eggs, and organically grown fruits and vegetables year-round.  Today she looks back and realizes how lucky and loved she was.
Although she’s always had a passion for ornamental horticulture, it wasn’t until retirement 2 years ago, that she got serious in raising vegetables and composting. By adding micro-nutrients and her own amendments, each season has yielded a more prolific harvest. Although her vegetable garden is less than 200 square feet, she reaps far more produce than she and her husband can consume.

In This Podcast: 

Greg chats with Nancy, an urban farmer from Southern California who explains how she is maximizing the potential of her very small garden. She has faced off critters of various sizes with some ingenious tricks and she is using soil amendments to make her soil healthy and her plants happy and productive.


Listen in and learn about:

  • Connecting the dots from her childhood to her current love of gardening
  • Her garden of 200 square feet and why she still calls herself a ‘farmer’
  • What she has been able to incorporate into her garden
  • Some tricks she is using to maximize her space
  • The vegetables she is planting in the different seasons
  • Where she has gained knowledge and inspiration from
  • The inclusion of flowers into her vegetables
  • Her incredible harvests and why she lost track
  • Her focus on soil and how she prepared the gardens for planting
  • The tricks to help the soil survive the weather
  • Tomato tips for increased harvest and preventing blossom end rot
  • Dealing with June bugs
  • The pruning she does to help keep the bugs under control
  • The gopher invasion
  • How she is keeping the gophers and larger pest out now 29:41
  • Her plan to become a Master Composter
  • Grafting tomatoes to combat the viruses in the soil

As well as:

  • Her failure – Her garden of tomatoes that practically cooked on the vine
  • Her success – The design of her vegetable garden which is functional and thriving
  • Her drive – Wanting to learn and feeding her curiosity
  • Her advice – Make your garden critter proof

Nancy’s Book recommendations:    

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Nancy’s Blog Post:

Featured Farmer: Nancy Bailey from Honey Hill Farm

How to reach Nancy:

Email: 4nancybailey@gmail.com


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