Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter seeds sown?


I was kneeling in the raised bed. Grains of soil and worms in my hand... I took a breath. I heard the neighbors...kids crying, music from cars bumping the bass. I took a breath. This is spring.

Today, I planted lettuce, basil and beans.






I was looking for my seeds before I started. Where else could they be except in the overalls that I never wash. I never wash them, because there might be seeds in the pockets. Seeds, gloves, markers....

I've got scrapes on my arms from tangling with the raspberry canes. This ought to be a good summer for berries.


Maybe I really will have a garden party this year. 

Well, a farm party! A hip urban farm gathering.
It's coming along nicely. And that, folks, is hip!

Monday, December 29, 2014

I quit!



That's right I said it!  I quit!

Well. .. no. .  . not really. . . 

Pardon me as I rant about about quitting. I guess I'm soft.  I never said I was hardened. No not at all. I'm tired.

By the way this is one more thing that you won't heart an urban farmer say.
why? you ask.  You're my hero HUF! You can't quit! The seed catalog just came in.

Yes, I know, I know. And I hate to disappoint, but I know my limits. Well maybe I should say I know my disappointments.  For ten years I've been doing this urban farming thing and well. . . let me tell you something. I have as yet to really make this farm work.

What? What are you saying HUF?

I'm saying that I'm not like a lot of urban farmers,you know I'm. . . I'm . . . well I'm hip!


To be a hip urban farmer means that I aspire to grow all the food I can eat.  Hip means that I wear my cell phone on my hip in my field. Hip means that if something dies, I just keep trying until it works.

I know, this is nonsense, you say.  It's no reason to quit.  Have a little faith.  You can grow what you can.  Where are those words of inspiration, you say.  

HA!

Neat!

I wish my garden was neat like the squares on the paper where I plan my garden.  Four lettuce plants in this square foot; 16 carrots in a square foot for fun; lots of beans and a few tomato plants.

This winter it has not really snowed; knock on wood!  This gives me an opportunity to do some easy winter gardening.  I've been thinking about it, pondering, planning.  I think I might be getting serious, though, because I just thought about what kind of clothes or overalls I need to garden in the winter.

I thought the be beds were sleeping. . . .

Maybe, but I'm thinking it might be hip to wake them up.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reaping what has been sown


Last winter, I decided to sow beans, because I was thinking that bean soup would be a good staple to have in the house. I also heard that rutabaga would be excellent in the soup.

And so here are my beans.

I started my tomato seeds having little faith after such a harsh winter. I was slowly going deeper into the tunnel of darkness as far as the climate was and is concerned. I'm still not  so certain. Last week's water issue also makes me think things are bleak for those of us on the planet.
 
Those tomato seeds didn't even make it to the dirt outside. After one hardening off session, those babies just curled up and died. 

And then I heard a book review on the radio, where the author basically argued that the garden to plate movement would not save the planet.   I was resigned to give up. 

And then some things happened....

A friend dropped by with tomato plants.
A co worker had some extra plants and wanted to know if I had room for them.

And then I went outside.... There were potato plants growing and dill and cilantro. Volunteers.

I planted the tomatoes, the pepper plants, the lettuce, a cucumber plant and watered the potatoes. I noticed that the strawberry patch was thriving.

I went to the farmers' market and picked up some basil.

And  then  I opened my seeds and planted the beans and rutabaga. Why not?

So this winter, if SNOWMAGGEDEN arrives once more, I'll at least have bean soup.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Yuky part of the compost

Where've you been? Have you given up on gardening?

I bet you might been wondering. 

Well, this whole climate change-global warming has got me down in the depth of the nasty compost. I've been pondering the possibilities that my planting zone will change numbers. And that just isn't hip.

I've been trying to figure out how to stay inspired.  In January when we the abominable snow dude came to visit, I took out my seed catalog and started thinking about planting things I wished that I had right then to eat.

Imagine my surprise when my seeds came in this spring : Rutabaga? Hutterite beans?

Well, I heard somewhere that rutabaga made a good base for bean soup

It didn't seem too hip in the spring to look at these seeds, but I was thinking about the long stretch and the next possible visit by the abominable snow dude, his spouse and children.  Sigh! 

Just let that set in for a minute. The whole family of abominable snow people next year! 
Yeah.
It's enough to make you want to sell the farm and move to Hawaii. How hip would that be?

So, I've been on a journey through the dark part of the compost, right in the places before it turns to that black gold we love to incorporate into our soil. This is the yuky stuff.

So I've been focused on another principle of hip urban farming...

Making your own!
I've been sewing, knitting, making lotion, dishwasher  soap.

I've also been telling myself stories to keep me trudging through all the yuky stages of compost creation.  Yep! New stories to live by that explain how I got to this yuky place and how I can get out of it.

Storytelling is something hip that you can do on a dark night. Retell an old story in a new way, where you are the shero/ hero. I mean you are the main character of your life.

So I write a story or two and then I put some plants in the ground, make my own clothes, socks, lotion and then go water the crops. Sooner or later this is all gonna be black gold and I'll pour some compost tea on the crops.

Truly, that will be hip.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Get down on your knees....

Oh me of little faith....

This year has been rough for the hip urban farmer. I'm posting on Facebook about environmental apocalypse, I've killed some seedlings, and dare I say it ... I bought some tomato plants.

So today was my first real day out on the farm. I've been procrastinating, though I did throw some lettuce seeds in the ground earlier. Those lettuce plants are doing well.

I kept bending over and complaining.....ugh I'm too fat....man it's hot out here.....how did I do this last year.....

Yep. It wasn't hip at all. And then the thought came. Get down on your knees! Get in the dirt. Take your time and be present. Nothing matters but this moment.

I still was thinking ugh I'm too fat....man it's hot out here.....how did I do this last year.....but I made progress. The farm looks better. Not great, but better. Never would've made it, if I hadn't got down on my knees....in the dirtiness my overalls.
 
Yep, that was hip.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Invasive plants and learning to be ruthless.

Invasive plants. Sometimes, I have choose  them, because they have properties I like. I always think I can contain them, but they require a vigilance that only Mother Nature can provide. Their roots contained are always pushing the container to the breaking point. And if they can't break it, they just  take a toe, or a foot, or hand and squeeze themselves out just enough to make contact. And then before I  know it they have rooted in places and taken over. They strangle anything else I was hoping to grow. And the only way to get rid of them is to rip them out of the ground.  I might want to scorch the earth they walked upon, because being anything less than ruthless with an invasive plant  leads me back to facing their rudeness, their greediness, their ability to take up the ground where I might grow some other plant that also has properties I admire or need. 

Mint is an invasive plant. I love the cool fresh smell of it and the ability to make tea with it. And I refuse to be nice to it any more. I rip it out and plant in its place something else. I hope to give that new plant a head start on the mint, though the little feet of the mint may have remained. I pluck it out at every opportunity, because the new plants can't grow in its place. Without such ruthlessness, no other plant can grow. Mint is a rude, invasive and pushy herb. It wants it's way, which to me is to take over my garden. Nothing else will grow if mint has it's way. It knows no other way.  

There are many invasive plants. I have had success in training some to their space, by ripping them out of the area of another plant. Always, I must be ruthless in pruning invasive plants. They are indifferent to nice. They think everything belongs to them. And I remind them that on this little patch of ground, they shall keep their phalanges to themselves or be ripped out again and again and again. I show no mercy, because keeping them out of mercy or niceness shows them hope of invasion. And honestly, I need space for other plants to grow.