Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Urban Homestead!

For the last 2 years we have made a good effort at growing our own Summer vegetables in our backyard.  Our first year was a great success - we almost drowned in lettuce. The second year we rushed a bit and didn't seem to have enough time for it but we still got a good crop. 

And then I bought Allan this book for Christmas....... He was convicted and inspired and I thought I would leave it at that and see what become of it all........... And then I picked up the book and was similarly struck.  It is not only a very informative book but also beautifully written and I have SO enjoyed reading it. 

We do not have the land or climate they do but we are determined to maximize our growing space this year and to extend our season into the Fall/Winter as best we can.  We found that several of our friends were also going to plant veggie gardens of various sizes so we got together and had a garden planning "meeting" over a potluck dinner.  Our good friend Laura sourced some wonderful soil for us all and delivered it!!  We love you Laura! 

David found a packet of seeds he got last year at an Environmental Leadership Camp he went to and we discovered the seed company was only a few minutes away that had organic and heirloom seeds.  Allan and the kids went there on Friday and hit the motherload of seeds which threatened to completely overwhelm them until the Master Gardener in the store, a very cool dude with encyclopedic knowledge of what to grow and how, gave them tons of great advice.

We also found this book in Powells Books in Portland over Spring Break and have discovered how to grow potatoes in vertical tubes of tires - who knew!! Not us!!  But now we have the first layer of potatoes planted and are very excited to see how they work.  Thanks to Mike Sakaki at the ESSO at No 1 and Blundell for the tires!

The kids made a plan of the bed in a 1'x1' grid and figured out what could go where and when, then they measured out the actual bed and planted what needed to go  in today.   Other seeds were started in "incubator cells" and will be kept indoors until the air is warm enough to transplant them to the bed.  We got some pavers and created a space for the tomato plants to sit on and Allan and Lindsay planned a herb box they want to build together.

The potatoes are started
Urban Farrners in the pouring rain

Seed incubators prepared

This kid loves to get her hands dirty
Math in the garden - measuring grids
David carefully "draws" his lines
Tiny little carrot seeds

So veggie garden 2011 is off to a flying start.  What am I doing to help you may ask??  I am the recorder and journal keeper.  I am keeping a written journal (a la Barbara Kingsolver) so that we can remember what went in when and what the yields were etc. so next year we will be able to build on the successes.

We are determined to be "Locavores" as much as we can but especially in the summer months.  I am inspired to dehydrate (anyone got a food dehydrator they want to sell) and can and make into sauces and freeze as much local summer produce as I can to get us through the Fall and Winter without buying a vegetable that has travelled across the world to get to my table. 

I am delighted that tonight we are eating a filet of salmon that we bought last summer off the local boats in Steveston and froze......YUM.

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