Suburban Farm Girl- Guest post by Emily Thomas

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today's post is brought to you by my friend Emily. Emily is doing some pretty awesome things just a few streets over from me and I've asked her to write about them for me to share with you. I'm eventually going to get some great DIY tutorials to pass along to you out of her. Here's her first post!:

Suburban Farm Girl

I live in suburbia hell.

You know the place, you look left, you look right, and you see the exact same house lining the streets. One of those neighborhoods where if you went out for a night on the town and had a bit too much bubbly, you could potentially end up walking into the wrong house. Yup that's where I live! Right smack dab in the middle of suburbia! Now don't get me wrong, it's not that there's any real problem with living in the burbs, heck, I'd be lying if I said there weren't some perks, like being able to walk to a store, a playground, a Timmy's ( you never know when you might need a coffee fix). Its just that if you've always dreamt of riding a horse through an open field, picking apples off your own trees, sending your kids out to fetch the eggs and feed the pig that would soon be magically turned into bacon, suburbia looks pretty......limiting.

So how did I get here you might ask, well the story goes something like this. Girl meets boy, boy likes girls best friend, girls best friend isn't so sure she likes boy (are you following ok?, I never said this was going to be a typical love story!). Girl and boy end up dating for many years, boy proposes, girl says "yes!", girl and boy get jobs, get married, girl and boy buy boy's family home (in the burbs), have two kids, girl becomes a stay at home mom and the dream is dead.......almost! Girl convinces boy he "wants" to live the country life by performing some pretty wild maneuvers and making some very special promises (something about leather chaps I think) and girl and boy try to sell their house TWICE, but it just doesn't work out.

So here we are, girl and boy, making the best of the suburban life and growing veggies and fruit in our front yard and on our back deck and hatching chickens in the dining room.

I convinced boy, who just happens to be a banker not a carpenter or a cowboy (too bad), to build me some lovely cedar garden boxes because we lack the space for traditional gardens. For Mother's Day, Mr. Wallstreet gave me a lovely book about square foot gardening, I followed their approach to soil (1/3 compost, from 5 different sources, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 vermiculite.). This makes a nice light but rich combo just perfect for gardening in small spaces.

We planted rainbow chard, leaf lettuce, peas and beans. Potatoes, corn, carrots and peppers. I put in 25 strawberry plants and raspberry plants as well. These are all additions to the cherry tree, apple trees, high bush blueberries and plum tree from last year.

So are we having any success? That all depends on your perspective. Just last night we made salad from our leaf lettuce, and we have a ton of strawberries on our plants so far, the chard is beautiful and everything else is coming slowly (this Maritime weather is not helping, my God, I swear we had to put another quilt on the bed last week!)

So will we be making apple pie from our very own apples this fall? Probably not, maybe someday. If you're interested in growing a garden and don't have much space, I would recommend checking out the book "All New Square Foot Gardening: How to grow more in less space" by Mel Bartholomew. A great guide and an easy read.

As for the chickens, the ones we hatched as part of our home school project, the ones we haven't sent back to the farm yet, the ones that we are keeping illegally on our property (well not exactly illegally but we are breaking some pretty strict bylaws, I'm such a bad ass) the chickens are a story for another day.

Happy farming wherever you are and don't let small spaces cramp your style!

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