Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plotting the Space: fantasy beats out reality

So we've surfed the net, found some cool gadgets to help plan the space for our garden and played with design. Grow Veg has a fantastic tool that allows you to map out the space and measures out the distance you need between specific plants. This is what we've come up with so far.

Hopefully it's obvious that the black represents pathways. They will be between 2 - 2 1/2 feet to allow for wheel barrows. We've learned that much so far. Most of the plots are 3' X 4' to be kid friendly and allow for easy access to the middle of the beds. The center circle garden is an herb garden. I'd love to put a bird bath in the center of it, but I'm not too sure what that will do to the sun.

That brings us to the sun. This plan does not take into consideration that neither of us can really remember where the sun and shade falls in summer. It was a bit of an eye opener watching the snow melt this week. In fact it melted very quickly everywhere but where we intend to put our garden. I think how quickly the snow melts is supposed to indicate how much sun the ground gets. This realization may stop lesser, or saner people, but we laugh at barriers put in our way by random theories of physics and natural law. Followers of The Secret know this. I have been told that positive (wishful) thinking can bring about amazing things. We will use the force of our will to shift the earth's axis and bring sun to our plot.

Our momentarily shaken faith restored, this weekend we started our seeds. A key to starting seeds is labeling what you plant and which little slot in the tray each plant is. We learned this the hard way. Last year we planned to plant flowers with our boys. We took care to use the best soil, good seeds, and selected a sunny spot indoors for germination. Then someone turned the trays. What was once our exciting introduction to horticulture turned into a shell game where any tray may yield geraniums or pansies. This year, maps and masking tape replace ignorance. We already feel like old hands.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Welcome to an experiment in urban farming

My husband and I are as far from rural as you can get. Having grown up in major cities, we worked in technology and spent evenings hitting up bars with friends to talk about the latest news or art house film.

Then we had kids.

Now living on the northern edge of Massachusetts, we have decided to embrace rural living. Unfortunately we don't live in the country. As an experiment, we hope to create a "microfarm" to give our kids, and ourselves, a chance to learn about where our food comes from. Our plan is to raise chickens in a small side yard and tear up our front lawn to create an attractive vegetable garden inspired by Fritz Haeg's Edible Estates.

We have no qualifications.

We have no experience.

Often, we have no energy.

Our greatest hope is that the neighbors don't hate us by the end.