A Journey to Grow a Little Food Close to Home

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2 things...

First of all, here is an update from The Urban Homestead.

The Dervaes family lives in Pasedena, California and has, over the past few decades, transformed their 1/5 acre lot into an urban farm.

As unlikly as that seems, this family has managed, at their peak, to pull 6000 pounds of fruits and veggies from their 4350 sq ft garden. That's huge!!!

It seems as though there have been some doubts about their harvests. I, for one, have not a one! These 4 are completely committed to their lifestyle and to making their experiment work.

Each month, they post their bounty on their blog so that others may see how they are progressing. Here's the breakdown for this month:

October Harvest Totals
388 lbs Produce
6 Duck Eggs (molting season)
24 Chicken Eggs (molting season)

5,904 lbs Produce
131 lbs Honey
293 Duck Eggs
706 Chicken Eggs

So...they're already at 5900 pounds and they still have 2 months to go - UNBELIEVABLE!!!

I only wish that my green thumb were that good. I suppose that I have to keep in mind that this family has been at it A LOT longer than I have.

Second, an update on my AeroGarden. Here is a pic - this is after just 4 days!!

At this rate, we'll be eating salads by Thanksgiving!

Note: You may have noticed that the number of posts has slowed down quite a bit - not a lot going on here in Wisconsin now that it's fall. Remeber that over the winter, I'll be posting regularily about planning for next year's garden. I've been doing a lot of research into new methods and historical 'great gardens' and I can't wait to share it all. With the snow on the way, all we can do is dream of spring!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Basement Hydroponics

Last year I was given one of these

as a Christmas gift.

It's an

Which is basically a hydroponic growing system.

If you've never heard of hydroponics, it's basically growing without dirt. The plant is held in place in a variety of ways and it's roots are suspended constantly in water. It's fed by nutrients which are added to the water.

While it is possible to make these systems yourself, this one is nice because it has a little electronic controller

which makes sure that everything is OK. It controls the amount of light that the plants receive (about 16 hrs per day), makes sure that there are enought nutrients in the water, and makes sure that the water level doesn't get too low. All of that for just $100 dollars!!

Seriously, though, I can't say if I had not received it as a gift, I would have invested in one of these or not. Last year, I grew herbs (they were included with the kit) and although the plants absolutely exploded (and I probably could have made more that the cost of the machine by selling the basil alone), I thought that lettuce would be more valuable for us throughout the winter so I ordered that seed pack this year.

Once the seed pods are inserted into the machine and the water and nutrients are added, the machine creates something of a mini-greenhouse effect

so that the seeds germinate faster.

The seed pods say that the seeds will germinate in 1-7 days

and WOW!!! they did they ever!

After just 24 hours...

...the seedlings have indeed sprouted! Can't get that growing in dirt.