When I tell someone that Michelle and I are turning our city home into an urban farm, more often than not, I get a funny look and then the inevitable question. “So, you’re a gardener, right?” Though a part of me would like to believe that the world is on board with the idea of urban agriculture, I have to understand that it’s still a relatively new concept. Well, not really, but it’s new to our generation.
So, basically, yes, we are gardeners. We grow vegetables, we grow flowers, and we enjoy what we’re doing, but I believe the idea of what gardening is had evolved, or devolved over time to a point where gardening has become something different. It’s become more of a leisure activity, where for an urban farmer, though it is as much leisure as it is for anyone else, it’s also a way of life. Where a gardener might grow a one of two tomato plants in order to have some fresh tomato plants through the summer, an urban farmer is going to have enough to not only have the fresh tomatoes during the summer, but we’ll have enough to can and make sauce to last us until the next harvest. It’s about obtaining a level of independence from and self-reliance one can’t get from shopping at a grocery store.
We live on 1/8 of an acre, which includes the house, garage, and driveway. In the rest of the yard, we intend to grow roughly 90% of the food we eat from harvest to harvest. Utilizing raised beds, organic top soil mixed with organic compost, and pollinated by our own bees, we believe we can achieve our goal and as we get better and master the proper techniques, we should, one day, be able to grow enough to have a surplus.
Soon, we’ll be building our raised beds. For the veggies, we’re planning on 7 6′x12′ beds and 2 4′x4′ beds. Though we could probably go smaller with the beds, I think, with the right planning, we’ll be able to get the best yield from the sizes we’re going with. We’re also planning in growing in the greenhouse, though small, it provides a surprising amount of growing space.
We have a lot of work to do, as well as a lot of money that will have to be invested. Some say that we’re ambitious, but if we don’t try, we’ll never know…