Agric Toolkit

AgricNation Toolkit is a way to help measure all of the good things growing in your farm, garden, or yard and how to turn your backyard to small farm, from hot peppers to happiness. Urban farmers and gardeners contribute every day to the social and environmental health of their communities. The Toolkit helps you track your output to showcase the benefits of your farm or garden, to improve and share your practice, and to raise awareness of your impact to funders and policymakers.

The Toolkit was created by and for urban farmers and gardeners in collaboration with Design Trust for Public Space and Farming Concrete. This website is the newest component of a multi-year project documenting the impact of urban farming and gardening.

I grew up in a modest suburb, with a small vegetable garden in the backyard. Then came college dormitories, and, after marriage, a series of apartments. Our first house was on a postage stamp suburban lot, where we grew a few vegetables and herbs in a patio bed and some containers, right outside the kitchen door. I loved that little kitchen garden. It wasn’t much, but everything we grew was literally within arm’s reach of the kitchen.

Although farming is big to me, it’s small to others, which explains why I am often asked for suggestions and resources on how to start a small farm. This post is my answer. A bit long winded, maybe, but that’s testimony to the fact that you can do a lot in a small space! First, some basic words of advice:

click here to Download How to Plant Vegetable
  • Start small. After all, you only have a small space. But seriously, this is especially true if you contemplate raising animals. Get small ones, and just a few of them. If you’d have to keep them in cramped and crowded conditions, it would be better from an animal welfare stand point, to buy eggs, dairy products, and meat from a local farmer who can provide space enough for them express their natural behaviors.
  • Produce what you like to eat or use. Radishes are easy to grow in a tiny garden, but why plant them if you don’t like them?
  • Let your creativity soar, and scan lots of online images for ideas, especially on small space gardening. You’ll be amazed at what some people have done to make use of cramped quarters.
  • Go for a diversity of products, rather than a large quantity of a few. This creates a healthier ecosystem, which is better for wildlife and helps prevent pest outbreaks.

 

Container Gardening is an excellent choice for a small space farm. Many vegetables and herbs can thrive in containers, and some do well even indoors. How about micro-greens indoors? You do need to water container gardens very frequently, however, because containers dry out quickly. Container grown trees also need protection in cold winter climates, because the roots are not insulated as well as those of trees growing in the ground.

Raised Beds are a good idea for small space gardening, because the yield is better. In square foot gardening, a grid of 1-foot squares is placed on the bed to guide you in planting even more intensively

Vertical Gardening is the new wave of urban agriculture. Check out some uber creative examples on my Vertical Gardening pinterest board here, and follow it if you’d like to see my updates.

Some vegetables that are usually associated with larger scale farming can produce well in a small space with a little extra planning and care. Even corn can succeed, if you understand its pollination requirements. Read my tips on growing corn in a small space here.

Vertical gardening within any farm also adds vertical habitat for the local wildlife, once again creating diversity which helps prevent pest outbreaks, as you can read in Permaculture Principles.

What to Do
Provide drainage if necessary by digging a shallow drainage trench alongside the bed, or grow in raised beds for improved drainage. develop the right soil texture - Garden soil should be well aerated to promote root growth and worm activity. The soil should be crumbly, not clumpy. Add peat or coir as needed.
click here to Download How to Plant Vegetable