Over the Fence Urban Farm


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We GREW Our Own Protein!

DSC_0074My freshman year of college, I heard John Robbins speak about his book Diet for a New America (1987). It was my firstĀ  introduction to the impact our food choices have on the planet. I was already a vegetarian, though I can’t remember why. After hearing Robbins and reading his book, however, I could articulate a clear rationale for giving up meat. Robbins cited quantitative comparisons between the amount of resources it takes to grow a vegetarian versus a meat-based diet. For example, 20 herbivores could live off the same amount of land it takes to feed just one carnivore. He argued fewer people would be starving to death if everyone ate less meat. His observations seem all the more relevant today in relation to current discussions about irrigation in California. The idea that one pound of factory-farmed meat requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce makes those one gallon almonds seem downright sustainable.

I’ve read countless other arguments for eating a vegetarian diet since that talk. I’ve been inspired by folks who have tried to grow a well-rounded diet including Quarter Acre Farm and Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, OH. And so it was with tremendous pride that I cooked a pot of chili tonight using beans we grew ourselves. Beans that were fed purely by rain showers.

IMG_2841Last year our friend and CSA member Pam brought us a packet of Scarlet Runner Bean seeds she’d saved from the previous season. She said they would grow pretty vines with bright red flowers (see top of post) the humming birds would coming flying for.

They did. And when they were gone, we gathered the beans and saved them to plant again this season. While we planted the seed beans all along one fence last year, this year we spread them throughout the garden in keeping with our goal of providing invitations for pollinators throughout the farm. The bees, birds, and beans have benefit.

With extra room to roam, the beans are flourishing. Last week Cora shelled a full cup of dried ones that I soaked and cooked to use in the chili in place of kidney beans. See this post from Eat the Weeds and Other Things, Too for more information on harvesting and processing these little gems. We’re looking forward to getting a few more cups this season and sharing seed beans with our supporters next year.

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Happy seeding hour

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Meeting of the minds.

Today’s happy hour was all about seeds. We got a bunch of radishes in the ground that should be ready for Thanksgiving and planted out a row To test under winter cover. Thankfully we had an architect on hand to help us install our low tunnel hoops! (Inside joke, really anyone can do it…)
Hoping for a small winter harvest of spinach and arugula from that bed and a nice crop of beets and carrots in early spring.
Todays’s harvest: arugula and mustard greens, rosemary, parsley, Thai basil, chives, and dahlias. Lots of things that go well with sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Bon appetitio!

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Bouquet of herbs.

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Garlic sprouting under straw.


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Happy Hour on the Farm

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It’s official. Over the Fence has our first tradition. Happy Hour on the Farm. Sunday afternoon. One hour of intense working followed by (more working) and a beer. It’s a high energy event that generates really good vibes and gets a lot of stuff off our perennial “to do” list.

Yesterday was about 90% harvesting, 10% pruning/composting. Next week will be all about planting garlic. Here are a few shots from the day.

DSC_0054I took a shot like this in June. Need to find that for a comparison post…

IMG_7909LOVE, love, love to haveĀ people working side-by-side.

DSC_0035So long irrigation.

DSC_0063Finally, we were awash in green beans.

DSC_0019Those beans don’t pick themselves…

IMG_7905Sneak preview. We’ll be harvesting the bulk of these babies next week. It’s gonna be sweet!

DSC_0033Not a bad haul for the first week of October. (Note to self: Fall CSA 2015)