Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Tiny Farm

Our Tiny Farm 

We just put up a really basic greenhouse in our side yard. It came with a PVC covering, which we refuse to use because we are planning to plant edibles inside. So we spent way more time than we expected enclosing it with screening. It will permit the plants, when we get around to planting them, to have sun and rain and they can be easily watered when necessary. This is all being done to keep out the squirrels and rabbits who have plenty of greens to eat elsewhere in the backyard.

We will be planting tomatoes again. Last year I wrapped each tomato individually with mesh so we actually had some to eat. This should be easier. I’m thinking of peas and carrots and lettuce, maybe spinach, too. It’s all organic – the soil, seeds, plants, and feed. I don’t say it’s cheaper than buying it in the market but picking your own food is extremely satisfying and the just-picked taste is incredible. I won’t be putting any farmers out of business with the small scale of this garden but I do enjoy the idea of growing, at least some, of my own produce.

New Jersey is known as the Garden State. We used to have the most acres of productive land with two-thirds of the state being farmland. Now, we are the most densely populated state in the U.S. but the name remains.

But we should never forget that farms mean food. Industrial agriculture and biofuels work against that focus. Fortunately, there is a movement toward creating farmland trusts. My town is 90% built up but the township bought the last farm to keep the heritage alive. We lost a lot of farmland during the housing boom. Now we have a Green Acres program that helps to keep land undeveloped and agreements to keep farmland as working farms when sold. And there is a new understanding of what pesticides can do, to our food, our water, and our land. Small organic family farms are becoming more popular, as is the emphasis on local crops.

I don’t claim that my tiny patch of peas will make a difference in the larger farming picture but it does help me to appreciate those who are trying to keep our lands pure and our food healthy. And I will be sure that the wild strawberries, clover, and grass that the squirrels and rabbits eat are safe and healthy, too.

Here’s a history of New Jersey’s farm development:

Some states are having problems:


  1. I've been wanting to do this for a while. I even have the perfect spot for it in my backyard. I would love to see how your crops grow this year.

    1. This is an experiment, Mieke. I hope it works out. I love munching on food that I've grown myself. I'll post the (hopefully delightful) results.

  2. You two are so ambitious!!! Good luck and let me know
    how it grows.

  3. You bet! So far the raspberry plant we placed in there in a pot before replanting is growing like crazy.