Archive for urban farm

a soil sieve

Tired of hand-picking buckets of stones and rocks out of my lousy top-soil I put together a soil sieve with materials that were left over from building the coop. This simple tool is a gigantic help as I plant six lavenders plants along the street. Lavender is drought-resistant, no? In any case … it should be popular with the bees …

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propagating my fig tree

In July and again in October I have had two plentiful fig harvests. Now the leaves are gone and I prune the many shoots growing near the base of the tree. Those cuttings can apparently be used to start small fig trees. After reading up on fig tree propagation I try various ways suggested on the Interwebs.

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from chicks to chickens

The girls go through their teens quickly: the 25 lb bag of chick feed slowly disappears while the real “chicken-look” slowly appears. They are a lot less scared: they don’t mind hanging out with the bunny and they enjoy their first hours in the garden. Today I planted an Italian plum tree and three different blackberry bushes (all of them thorn-less varieties) that I got at alden lane nursery.

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planting before take-off

My friendly neighbor Dave applies weather-proofing to the raised bed frames while I plow through the soil with bare hands trying to remove as many stones as possible. I want to get the beds ready for the winter rains before taking off to the Caribbean. After covering the beds with straw I plant a few kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts seedlings and put in fava beans everywhere else. I also put two olive trees in the strip of land along the curb.

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building raised beds

Before dad returns to Germany I use his help to build raised beds. All the materials are recycled and free. They are:

  • four reused pressure-treated 2 by 8 boards of 12 and 13 foot in length (free off craigslist)
  • several old and weathered beams of various size and length (found next to the curb)

Putting the frames together was easy. The harder part was leveling the ground and filling the beds. The excess top soil in my yard is sandy and full of stones but I hope mixing in enough horse poop will give decent soil. At the ranch where Karleen keeps her horse we load up my Vibe with as many buckets and boxes of horse manure as fit. After two trips (each time being literally “full of shit”) we have a solid 5 inch layer of poop. The rest gets filled with excess top soil. Next? Picking out the stones, covering the beds with straw, and planting a cover crop (Fava beans?) to prepare the soil for planting in spring.

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building a chicken coop from reused materials

I collected the following items for building a chicken tractor with a detachable chicken run:

  • a frame of a wooden coffee table (Karleen found it on the curb)
  • 20 recycled 5 foot 1×8 redwood boards (bought from a fencing company)
  • a stack of nail and screw prodded 2 by 4s (used to hold drywalls inside my garage)
  • the leftover semi-gloss latex paint (from painting my interior doors and windows)

The design of the tractor is determined by the coffee table that is the base of the chicken tractor. The size of the run is determined by the length of the 2 by 4s. Since dad is visiting I am taking a few days off work so we can build the coop together:

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baby chickens

The first real step towards urban farm life comes at the affordable price of $2.50 a chick at Alamo Hay and Grain. The four girls cheesecake, pumpkin (two rhode island reds), penguin, and omelet (two barred rocks) enjoy their new home: a light bulb heated cardboard box in the living room. Once they have eaten the entire 25 lb bag of chick feed they will be big enough to move into a chicken coop in the front yard. But wait … there is no coop yet.

(one week later: they are nearly double the size)

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