Thursday, May 8, 2014

Celebrating year five, and going strong: lessons learned: 1 soil is critical; 2 water is critical

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Urban Farm in Westside, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.  Guess what?  Its going strong!  I'm so impressed with the positive, long term impact of this urban farming effort.  Who would have guessed five years ago that a summertime partnership between the City of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati would turn into a long-term, sustainable opportunity for producing fresh veggies in a formerly vacant City lot?  Wow.  This is truly something to celebrate!

 Installed five years ago, this green house is used each year to start seedlings.  It is also used during the winter season to house materials for planting.  At an initial cost of nearly $3,000, this facility has withstood substantial weathering and I would highly recommend this product.  In addition to a greenhouse, we also have learned the importance of improving the soil over time.  We started with a field of clay over construction debris, and over five years a healthy soil has been created.  Soil is critical.
 Water is a critical part of a garden.  Who knew?  Certainly we didn't fully grasp the importance of water when we first started.  Originally, we had water trucked-in and stored on-site in a large tank (right).  This proved costly, and required a high degree of coordination.  Our second approach was to perform rain water capture off the roof of our shed.  While this was a great approach, the placement of the shed and subsequent water distribution remained a challenge.  Our final (and permanent solution) has been the use of a yard hydrant.  While this is not the ideal solution (ie using drinking water for irrigation), it does provide a high degree of reliability.  Currently, the yard hydrant is used as a backup when rainwater collection proves inadequate.  Water is critical.



1 comment:

  1. Live on a Country farm in a safe, unspoiled country environment and enjoy Farm Fresh dairy, fruit and vegetables produced on site.
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