2013 marks the first year of the EcoBuzz Urban Farm Project. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, or via email updates as I try to grow as many edibles as I can squeeze into a .15 acre lot (living space included!). We’ll talk about composting, worm bins, seed starting, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, raised beds, container gardening, community gardens, community food exchange, urban livestock, and more.
Here is the recap for Week 1:
1. Measured the lot.
In an effort to figure out exactly what I will be able to plant I measured our lot, the non-permeable surfaces, and the permeable surfaces. Without tearing down structures, removing concrete, or tearing out existing landscape we have about 386 sq. ft of available planting space. If I remove a hedge and a section of lawn plus include some random small areas of plantable space that adds approximately another 100 sq. ft. Of course this doesn’t include space for container plants so it’s difficult to calculate exactly how much we’ll be able to plant but at least I have a number to start with for the plants that need more space (e.g., watermelon, potatoes, artichokes).
2. Cut back roses.
We have 14 roses – 13 are planted in the ground, 1 is in a container. I’ve managed to cut back 6 so far. This wasn’t exactly part of the urban farming prep but it is part of the gardening work that needs to be done. And, since roses are edible, it looks like they will be part of the edible landscape after all.
3. Pulled weeds from future lettuce bed.
Half of the planter in our front yard has been used an annual flower bed. This year it’s going to be my lettuce patch. It’s 2′ x 11′. We’ll see if this 22 square foot area is large enough to grow all of our salad greens. Since the planter is in the front yard I plan to mix in some borage, chamomile, and/or echinacea to maintain the flower bed appearance it’s had in the past.
4. Cut back jacaranda tree.
We have a beautiful, mature (read HUGE) jacaranda tree in our backyard. We’ve never properly educated ourselves on the correct way to prune it but I don’t think we’ve harmed it. Each year it grows back bigger and fuller and has beautiful blossoms. Right now it’s creating too much shade for the area slated for two raised bed planters so it’s time for a trim. We managed to get the lower branches done this week but the upper branches are going to require a tall ladder, some climbing, and a lot of care.
5. Ordered and received seeds.
I ordered vegetable and herb seeds from SeedsNow.com on Wednesday and received them a few days later on Saturday. I really love this company, more on them later this week.
6. Made eggshell planters for starting seeds.
I copied an idea I saw on Facebook and made these little seed planters using empty eggshells. This also gave me the opportunity to partially harvest some of the compost from our worm bin. It was amazing to see and feel the dark, nutrient-rich compost created from our kitchen scraps. More on eggshell planters and composting later too.
7. Planted strawberries.
We picked up a six pack of strawberry plants from the garden center and planted them in containers in the front yard. In the past our strawberries have always been gobbled up by birds and rabbits when we planted them in the backyard so we’re going to see if they are safer in the front yard.
Plan for Week 2:
Finish cutting back roses and jacaranda, plant seeds, design planting spaces, and begin building raised beds.
Join us. Grow something to eat in 2013.
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