Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring on the Micro-Farm

I once took part in a conversation poking fun at suburbanites who call themselves "farmers."  The idea of taking a suburban lot and equating one's effort there with what "real" farmers do, day in and day out, can sometimes strain the imagination a bit.

However, the more I get into providing for myself, the more I think that urban and suburban efforts to live sustainably should earn the title of "farmer."  Going to the land with respect and hard work in the pursuit of a better life perhaps should earn one that title; it is only a matter of scale, in many cases. 

In any case, I have occasionally stood in the truck bed outside our property fence (usually while unloading a half a cord of wood) to view our little backyard filled with gardens and raised beds, wood piles, a clothes line, and a small outbuilding that is shaped like a barn.  To me, it looks like a farm in miniature, and I often call it our "micro-farm."  And here is what is happening on the micro-farm this chilly day in March:

The cilantro is up, defying my plans by sprouting outside the raised bed rather than in.  It makes sense:  this is where the seeds from last year's crop would have fallen.

 The sage is also up, although in its proper place.  I love the sage, as it is officially one of my first "cash crops."  I have sold a smidgen of organically-grown sage to others, and I must admit that I was more excited with those few bucks than I have been with the income from either of my real jobs recently.  Nothing against good, creative jobs that pay the bills (and I do love my jobs most days), but selling the sage was just thrilling.  I marketed it as "no pesticides, no herbicides, no artificial fertilizers."  I thought about adding "watered by my own sweat and tears," but I thought that might be a touch melodramatic.....

Garlic, another of my "cash crops," is up and thriving.  I overplanted this year (this is only part of the bed), so I should have plenty to sell and plenty to supply us and our families.  True riches!

Finally, the strawberries are bravely poking their heads above the mulch in the pots, promising me some fresh strawberries if I can keep the birds away.  Because there are only two pots of strawberries, most of them don't even make it into the house; they are typically a snack to munch while I weed and do chores.  I love to go out on a summer morning and weed the garden while I periodically stop for a couple of strawberries or a few fresh spinach leaves.

What is going on at your micro (or macro) farm?
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  1. What a complete bit of enjoyment to see on these last chilly days before things really get growing. Great pick-me-up.

  2. I'm getting a small garden plot at the Botanical Gardens this Sunday!!! So exciting, I've been trying to get one since 2009!
    I've started to grow tomatoes and capsicums. But not sure how they would go as there are a lot of possums and flying foxes in our yard. Hopefully the Botanical Gardens will give me access to experts who can guide me. Yay!

  3. Oh, how exciting, FDU! You must post pictures to your blog to show us!

    We saw a possum running up our pine tree the other day, and I thought, "Great, another critter to fight." :-)

  4. So happy that it is spring! I have potatoes growing eyes, peas soaking, herbs transplanted. Ready for a busy day in the garden tomorrow!

  5. I have two of the three kinds of potatoes in finally, Lara. One more to go. Yeah, Spring!