Urban “Farming” 365 – The first 3 months (Persephone Period)

Planting seeds, October 30, 2014. It was snowing...
Planting the first seeds, October 30, 2014. It was snowing…

After a long couple years of planning and building, magic happened at the end of October 2014. The first seeds were planted in the raised beds of my experimental all-season urban greenhouse. It’s a bit of an understatement to say I was excited. It was like Christmas morning as a kid amplified about ten times.

For those new to the blog, here’s a bit of history on what I am working to accomplish:

In a nutshell, all-season food production in a northern urban yard, and sharing that information to inspire and encourage great folks like yourself to grow food in this harsh climate.

How I am going about this is by converting my urban yard into a mix of relaxing/entertaining space, some grass, a large number of raised beds, a micro-orchard and an experimental all-season greenhouse that will hopefully work in both winter and summer to keep a continuous supply of fresh greens and produce available. And I hope to accomplish this with a minimal amount of resources (ie, minimal heat and no supplemental lighting, as well as rain barrels through summer and year-round composting).

What I am not trying to accomplish is commercial food production. 1-2 households would be a great outcome in my mind, and if there are extras to share, BONUS!

So how have my first three months gone? I’d say fairly well, with a lot of learning! Plants and nature are excellent teachers. I’ve had a wonderful mix of wins and lessons (I will not call them failures, because they teach me the most!) and I’m excited to share them with you. Continue reading Urban “Farming” 365 – The first 3 months (Persephone Period)

Inside, quasi-tropics at 30+C, January 24, 2015

Quick Reference Guide – Great Garden (and related) Twitter chats

Quick Reference Guide - Twitter Garden Chats
Quick Reference Guide – Twitter Garden Chats

If you are a gardener and not on Twitter, no-one can really make you join.  But you may be choosing to exclude yourself for some really really great chats.

At least, I’ve found them to be wonderful places to learn, share and socialize with some awesome, fun and knowledgeable folks.

And they don’t have to stay digital.  There is an annual twitter seedswap I’ve learned of, and participants often meet up if they know they will be in the same areas or conventions (MANTS 2015 is a great example).  I’m looking forward to participating and learning even more from these groups 🙂

If you are new to Twitter chats, they are scheduled events, and you track the conversation as well as join in through hash-tags (yes THOSE.  The annoying things you always wondered why people use.  They are really very useful ways of tracking and cataloging topics on social media even outside of Twitter)

I expect I will be updating this list as I go, so please leave others that you love in the comments (or if I’ve gotten anything wrong or it needs updates, please correct me!).  Where possible, descriptions are taken directly from the chats’ resources. Continue reading Quick Reference Guide – Great Garden (and related) Twitter chats

Greenhouse Building – Part 4 – Raised Beds

Once the main structure was done, I needed space to grow things.  Although many greenhouses grow everything in pots and flats on top of raised tables, my intention is to use raised beds that can directly benefit from the heatsink below, and also give plenty of uninhibited root space to things like broccoli.  I’m hoping it will also give me a much larger planting space, and make the greenhouse tending easier overall.

The design considerations were not huge for the raised beds, but if you are building some in your greenhouse there are a few things to think about.  I’ll discuss what I did and why, and hopefully touch on things that you may want to include in your planning process.

Continue reading Greenhouse Building – Part 4 – Raised Beds