Over the Fence Urban Farm

Cooperatively farming small patches of Earth in Columbus, OH

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What We’re Growing: 2014


Nancy McKibben, who is writing about us for Edible Columbus‘s summer issue requested a list of what we’re growing this year. We thought our CSA members and others might also be interested.

Since we are treating this like a community kitchen garden, you’ll notice that we have a pretty wide range of things. In the future, we might limit this somewhat depending on what does best and to build on market demand. We made selections based on descriptions of taste and color, pest and disease resistance, and our research on varieties that do well in vertical growing situations.

Here’s what’s coming up in 2014!

Kale: Red Russian and Lacinato “Dinosaur”

Lettuces: Mizuna, Apollo Arugula, Red Sails (heat tolerant), Fresh Heart Romaine

Chard: Rainbow, Silverado

Beet (We’ll selectively harvest greens for salad mix and bulbs later on): Bull’s Blood, Rhonda

Garlic: Chesnok Red

Onion: Red Zeppelin

Sweet Potato: Beauregard

Radish: French Breakfast, Easter Egg

Carrot: Necora

Tomatoes: Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Toronjina, Sweetie, Large Red Cherry, Sakura, Annelise, Gilberte Paste, Juane Flame

Serrano Peppers


Beans: Blue Lake Pole, Christmas Lima

Peas: Oregon Sugar Pod, Green Arrow Shell

Squash: Green and Yellow Zucchini, Red Kuri Winter Squash, Delicata

Flowers: Zinnia, Cosmos, Coneflower, Goldenrod, Dahlia, Sunflower, Daisy, Asters, Bee Balm

Herbs: Borage, Parsley, Cilantro, Sage, Rosemary, Chives


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(CSA) Update

This message was sent to our CSA member this past weekend.
We were taking it (sort of) easy this weekend though those of you following us on Facebook know that doesn’t mean we haven’t been out back working. We got the insect netting up over the greens, radishes, and beets, and planted out about 60 Red Zeppelin onion plants. Rock on!
We had a big week in other ways as well. Wednesday evening, Dan and I were interviewed by a writer from Edible Columbus for an article in the Summer issue due out in June. She’d love to have a chance to chat with some of you to know how and why you got involved in this little venture. She plans to drop by one of our next work days. (See below for more on that).
We also learned that our service learning grant at OSU was approved. This means we’ll be working Kerry Ard and her students in “People, Place, and Environment” on various projects next spring. The grant comes with $1,500 for the farm and we are thrilled about the prospects!
Knowing that Edible Columbus will be sending a photographer soon, we are eager to get a few more big things done around the property next weekend – build our compost system, move some of the sod piles around and out of site, dig a great big hole for an underground cistern, complete laying out and tilling the new beds, install some of our trellising. Join us next Saturday (between 10 and 5) and/or Sunday (noon-6) to help make it happen. Please let us know in advance if you plan to attend and when we might see you. This helps us plan and match activities best with those who’ll be showing up.


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Farm Sweet Home


Cora and I skipped town for a few days before the farm is really up and running for the season. Dan’s taking care of things while we’re away. Naturally, he’s doing great. Still, it’s hard being away. I’m wondering how the seedlings Cora and I transplanted are doing and which seeds are germinating. I’m wishing I had my hands in the soil, though the sand feels pretty good between my toes. We’ll be back soon enough. The apple trees will have (finally) arrived. The compost will still be sitting in the driveway waiting to be moved. The honeysuckle will be begging to be pulled up. The compost bin will be crying to be built. The list of chores will get longer everyday, and it will all be beautiful.

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What a (Wet) Week!

It’s been raining cats and dogs around here for three days.

Thankfully, Dan and super star CSA member Larry Hughes did some work earlier in the week to extend and rebuild drainlines that kept all the work we’d done establishing our beds from washing away.

Next up on the water front: Dan wants to bury a cistern to collect the water coming from the sump. Those tanks are more expensive and harder to come by on Craigslist than the large scale food grade tanks that can sit above ground so we’ll have to wait and see on that one. (Unless you have a lead to offer!) But we can, relatively easily, add some plants to the easement to filter the driveway runoff. Happy to no longer have all that oil and synthetic auto stuff running into the yard. Wonder if it will show up in the soil testing…


Sump pump drain repaired after being impaled by a fencepost.


Pipe running from a driveway drain that ended at the top of the farm space now runs to the easement.

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All About Compost

We compost our kitchen scraps, fallen leaves, and other assorted yard waste. We add it to our beds in the spring. But we don’t produce nearly the quantity, or quality, that we can get from commercial producers. A few years ago, we feel in love with a local product we found at City Folks Farm Shop called Zoo Brew from Price Farm Organics in Delaware, OH. Here’s how they describe it:

An all natural and unique compost comprised from cafeteria food remnants, zoo manure and bedding, brewery salvage, pet food remnants, yard trimmings & coffee grounds.  Abundant in nutrients and humus.  Excellent for use as a mulch with a natural black color. Both new landscape installations and older landscapes needing some fresh attention will benefit from this excellent compost.”

A few weeks ago, we had ten cubic yards of this black gold delivered to our driveway.

IMG_5027Yesterday, we started hauling it onto the farm. Beginning with the beds that will be planted first – greens, onions, herbs and flowers for our “bee highway.” Soon, perhaps even today, we’ll till it together with the first foot or so of topsoil. After weeks of going back and forth on whether we would or would not till, we decided we would this year and perhaps next. In the future we hope to have built our soil structure up enough to forgo this step and use a broadfork to work new organic materials into only the top few inches before starting new crops. I can already hear the earthworms screaming, but I know their friends and family will join us soon.


CSA members Katie, Coleen, and Liam Hughes joined us to help mulch our garlic beds with Zoo Brew which will help the beds retained moisture as well as feed them some good nutrients.


It’s starting too look like a real farm out there! Looking west at some of our 27 foot beds blanketed with compost from the central path, lined with burlap coffee sacks and straw.