Farmer in the City




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Location:  Reading, PA

Day Job:  Caregiver

The Digs:  Backyard, Community Garden, Containers, Front yard

Crops:  Basil, Bell Peppers, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chile Peppers, Collards, Cucumbers, Garlic, Green beans, Jalepeno Peppers, Kale, Lavender, Lettuce, Mint, Oregano, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Rosemary, Spinach, Squash, Thyme, Tomatoes, Sage, Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Garlic Chives, Onions, Eggplant, Ground Cherries

Animals:  Cats, Worms!

Why I'm Getting Dirty:  Frugality, Preparedness, Unstable Economy, Enjoyment, Food Quality, Interconnectedness, Community, Beauty, Order. I am living in a house where I spent that last year clearing a junk/weed-filled yard and building a compost pile, so I did mostly herbs in containers. Spring '11, we will be building raised beds and adding more containers. I like to grow greens in raised screened containers to keep out the wildlife. Hopefully, I am also getting a nearby community plot where I plan to plant mostly squashes. I like to wintersow and direct sow, but have not done much seed starting indoors, preferring to buy tomato and pepper starts from a local greenhouse. My goals are to establish strong culinary herb crops, prepare areas to plant fruit trees and bushes, and do a lot of soil amendment and composting. We cook from scratch and produce a lot of kitchen waste, so I am a big fan of worm composting. I would like to expand my worm farming to where I can sell worms and run worm workshops.

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  • Posted by: Matriarchy on June 20th, 2011 at 09:49 pm

    The 30-Day challenge went well.. Mixed a LOT of potting soil and filled almost everything that held dirt, but I now have a big container vegetable garden. Added a few perennials and annuals. Have been moving plants that are poorly sited. Still have to amend the soil in a bed for the squash outside the fence. Should get to that this week - I need to weed and solarize the strip with blak plastic, which I will punch holes in to plant. Harvesting herbs, romaine, a cuke, mint, flowers.

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on June 5th, 2011 at 08:26 pm

    Gave myself a 30-day Challenge to plant something every day. I am on Day 16, and I am running out of places to plant things! I suppose I can start propagating cuttings from perennials.

  • Posted by: on June 1st, 2011 at 01:08 pm

    If you’re not already getting your bimonthly issues of Urban Farm, you’re missing out on the guide on how to be more self-sufficient by growing some of your own food and treading lightly on the environment in the space you have. Articles include how-to projects, gardening basics, composting, beekeeping, roof-top gardening, preserving and freezing, and time and money-saving ideas. Subscribe today -- 1 year (6 issues) as low as $15.00.

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on May 23rd, 2011 at 06:03 pm

    Come ON! Is a little SUN too much to ask? We had HAIL last week, that killed a bunch of my stuff and roughed up the rest of it. The hostas look like coleslaw. I am planting out what is left, but I need SUN.

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on May 16th, 2011 at 06:49 am

    Yesterday was our frost-free date. Let the planting begin! I grew a lot of herb starts that can now go into containers and the ground. Planning to buy transplants for tomatoes and peppers - I only need a few, and I don't have the room to start those indoors. Some tomato plants I will grow just for green tomatoes, to make the chutney I love.

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on April 20th, 2011 at 06:14 am

    Need some sun! All this rain is great for recharging the aquifer, but enough is enough. I want to track the sun/shade patterns, and I need sun for that! Planted: carrots, chives, onions, spring garlic, spinach, lettuce, beets, chard, parsley, 2 basils, 2 thymes, dill, tarragon, calendula, some annual flowers. Sunflowers indoors. Getting brassica starts and seed potatoes this weekend. Pruned the pear tree, built a potato bin and new compost bins. Renovated a perennial bed. Come on Sun!

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on April 5th, 2011 at 07:19 am

    Made toilet tissue "seed tape" for veggies with small seeds: carrots, lettuce, spinach, chives. I waste less seed, do less thinning, and can arrange the strips of tissue just as I want them in plots or containers. Spring warmth is late this year - I still don't have onions and peas in. Another soggy week, but at least it is not supposed to be over 50 everyday, and no nights under 35. Worked on my worm bins, clearing for new beds, laying cardboard and mulch in paths.

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on March 24th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Planting lots of herb and annual flower seeds in milk jug greenhouses. Putting in onions and peas as soon as this soggy week is over. Demolishing an old 4x8 shed to make room for a new 4x8 raised bed, hopefully reusing some lumber from the shed.

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on February 12th, 2011 at 05:58 pm

    Doing a lot of garden planning. I hope to plant my first blueberries and asparagus crowns this year,and build a coldframe. Been spending the snowy days assembling a month-by-month garden plan customized to my yard. And my brother gave me the OK to plant squash on his sunny hillside this year!

  • Posted by: Matriarchy on January 17th, 2011 at 02:17 pm

    Went to a MLK Day of Service event today, in our city greenhouse, promoting a group of people starting an urban farm project. They worm compost and I am hoping to get involved in some capacity.

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