Friday, March 29, 2013

Urban Farmer

Well, it's starting to look like I will be an urban farmer.  I am still ironing out details, but I think I may have found more growing space.  It's closer than the community garden plot, which is nice. It's even on the way to the community garden plot, (we'll have to see if that's a good thing or not.)
I was relieved not to have to resort to flyers, or begging random strangers with sunny lawns. All I did was ask various friends that I knew had spots they were tired of mowing. I just explained that I was looking for more gardening space for organic veggies and waited to see if anyone would bite. One did! I will have to share the space with said friend's Mother-in-Law, who apparently was also interested in his sunny patch of lawn.  She was going to make him help her put it into garden, so I think he was relieved to be able to pass the project to me. :-D Hopefully she has realistic expectations about what we can grow. And hopefully our gardening styles mesh well. It almost sounds like she's a very inexperienced gardener, she sounded relieved that I would help site the garden and get it tilled. We'll see how things look next week when we go out to pound stakes and measure. But I'm thinking I'll get 200-300 feet squared of new growing space. For reference, I have roughly 300 ft^2 in my front yard I plant, plus various perennials and herbs grown in flower beds around the house. And I usually have ~300 ft^2 in the community garden I can plant. 
We had our first board meeting last week for the community garden. I re-read the rules, and was surprised to find that the ban on selling produce that I thought I remembered, was NOT there. I guess we just talked about it, but decided against it. So, that means I can use my community garden space for this endeavor.   This will hopefully use that space a little better.  I have been using it to put extras from my main plantings in the front yard.  (The last half of the seed packet in many cases, planted a week or so after the main planting.)  That works sometimes, but often the community garden spot is a bit too shady to grow the same types of things that I'm growing in the front lawn.  So, if I treat it as space for the market growing, I can focus on growing just the few crops that will really do well in that slightly shady space, and do staggered plantings of those crops and hopefully get some good results.
All added together I'm going to be farming less than 1/16th an acre. :-D But, it's a start.
I went and visited with one of the LeMars Market sellers yesterday evening.  Sue is originally from Korea and married an American guy from LeMars. She's been growing veggies in her backyard for the past 15 years and selling at the market. I think she probably grows on less than a 1/16th an acre, I've seen her backyard. I know she focuses on fewer veggies than I do, she really likes her cucumbers and tomatoes and peppers. I have noticed though that the past year or two she hasn't sold out of those items any week. She just has so much of those 3 things, that there's sadly not enough demand for. We were talking about who she thinks will be at the Market this year, and her thoughts mirrored my own, she thought it quite likely that she and one other gal would be the only ones there. She was excited to hear I was going to try to sell.  *whew*  Part of me was a little worried that I would be seen as an interloper, stealing customers with my hobby farming.  It was a relief that she was excited to have another potential seller.

The snow is finally melting. Rowen and I were outside Weds night planting spinach and lettuce in the larger cold frame. I'm not 100% satisfied with the new rebuilt spot for that frame, so I'm watching it closely this spring. I may have to rebuild it. I'm glad those seeds are out there, we're supposed to hit upper 50's today.
I have tomato and pepper seeds planted in cells on a heat mat inside. And the rest of my seeds on the kitchen table, eagerly awaiting their time in the garden.
I can't wait!

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