Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Smell Spring

Well, not literally, but I do think I'm beginning to sense an itch to begin planning for it. Cam and I are looking at new ways to maximize our organic gardening potential. We have friends who have stepped into the concept of square foot gardening and we felt inspired to do the same. So, with the cash Grandma gave me for Christmas I bought a couple of gardening books. First, of course, was All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.

The concept is pretty simple: build raised beds (4x4 is recommended), fill with Mel's favorite soil mix, create a grid and grow different crops in each square in the garden... I love this for so many reasons.

First, I need things to be visually appealing. We already have several raised beds and need only to add vermiculite to them for better drainage. I was really disappointed in the last growing season because my gardens didn't look pretty to me. I hope this method will remedy that problem for me. Next, I love the idea of growing a variety of crops in each bed. This is perfect for insect control, nutrient sharing, and weed control as well since the plants will be so close together. Hopefully maintenance time will be cut way down and we can reap the rewards of a bountiful harvest with plenty to store and share.

The next book is The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. This couple has been urban homesteading in Silver Lake/Echo Park (part of Los Angeles) for a number of years and they are actually one of our original inspirations for working toward an urban homestead of our own. I haven't had a chance to look at this one much but these guys are so inspirational.

One of our favorite project ideas is to build our own outdoor cob oven as seen on the Path to Freedom website - if you're anything like me you're probably wondering what the heck that is. Click on the link to find out. We dream of communal baking days in which friends and family can come use the oven to bake breads and make pizzas. My mouth is already watering.

So the next several weeks are going to be "zone" planning and soon we'll be making soil blocks for starting seeds early. I'm so anxious to get started.

Special note: I've heard through the grapevine that Iowa City has recently passed an ordinance allowing up to 4 chickens to be raised within city limits. I don't know the specifics yet or if we'll do it but I love the freedom of knowing that I can legally raise hens for our personal egg consumption... I just don't know what we would do with the chickens when they stop laying eggs. I can't stand the thought of killing it to eat, ugh. We might have to wait a year or two before we take that one on. But the second someone tells me I can have a pygmy goat I'm totally getting one!

1 comment:

Homegrown Evolution said...

Howdy Driscoll Homestead!

Thanks for mentioning our book, The Urban Homestead. FYI, we're in Silver Lake/Echo Park (part of Los Angeles), not Pasadena.

Good Luck in all your endeavors.