Have you ever thought....
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09-02-2011, 01:33 PM
Have you ever thought....
....you could grow wheat in your front yard? A vegetable garden on your balcony? How about raising your own meat on a small city lot?

The "challenge" thread inspired me to come up with my own challenge. As most of you know, I'm kind of an eco-nerd-farmer-save-the-planet kind of guy. So I thought I'd pose a challenge that's close to home for me.

Spring is approaching, and I want to see who can be the most creative in finding a way to grow your own food. It doesn't have to be much. Just SOMETHING. I have a friend that uses his front yard to grow grains instead of grass. (Last year he actually grew wheat, and ground his own flour. It was incredible!) He has a very small, inner-city lot. Another friend raises some meat rabbits in his back yard. (He was my inspiration to raise my own) He even sells the manure to neighbors for fertilizer. (Apparently, anyone who grows roses knows that rabbit manure makes for trophy winning roses. Whodathought?) I'll even take on the challenge myself. If you have a situation where you don't think you can pull it off, tell me about it, and I'll find a way for you to do it!

This really is easy to do. And the best part is, even the people who aren't into this type of thing may just find out that it's rewarding to have a meal with food you grew yourself, even if it's just a few tomatoes in your salad or a loaf of bread from your very own 6 x 6 foot wheat field!

So lets start sharing some ideas. Spring is coming, and the best time to plan is now!

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09-02-2011, 04:23 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
I think you need a license in some countries to make sure you don't make any untaxed profit and other stuff like that.

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09-02-2011, 05:06 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
Only to sell food. If you don't need a license to grow a houseplant, you shouldn't need one to grow a tomato plant. I don't know for sure, but I'm quite confident that you don't need a license to have a garden either.

If that's really a concern, then you'll have to look into that in your specific area.

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09-02-2011, 05:17 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
How do you have the time to grow your own food and work ?
I think aeroponics are the way to go , especially if you live in an urban environment.
You could easily grow food on the roof.

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09-02-2011, 05:50 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
I think you have aeroponics confused with something else. Aeroponics uses a similar method to hydroponics, but sprays a fine mist onto the root system instead of submerging the roots in nutrient solution. It's actually a fairly time consuming method compared to growing in soil. (Unless you meant growing food on the roof wasn't the same as aeroponics)

I grow alot of my own food, but to have a small garden or a few plants in the house isn't time consuming at all. My brother felt the same way. I told him to make it a habit to leave the remote control beside his plants, then when he sits down to watch TV he'd inevitably look in on the plants. He realized that it was easy and didn't take much time at all. Now his place looks like a bloody greenhouse!

For me, growing my food is part of my job. For the amount of time I spend growing food compared to the amount of money I save in grocery bills, it just doesn't make sense NOT to grow food. Plus I share with my extended family, and they often return the favor in their own ways. (My bro is an accountant, and does my taxes for me in exchange for eggs. My stepdad is helping me build my daughter a new room downstairs, and is supplying all the materials, all for potatoes and eggs year round, and some veggies when they're in season). And after all that, I still have enough surplus to sell to neighbors, who appreciate the price (I sell for a little less than a grocery store) and frequently tell me they'd pay double for the quality!

As for food on the roof? GREAT idea! Plus having a living roof has many other advantages too. You do need a roof that can take the weight though, so some research and elbow grease are necessary. Well worth it I'm sure though. (Alas, my roof is reserved for solar panels)

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09-02-2011, 07:50 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
I would actually love to try this, but...

We live in a tiny apartment. I've tried to grow simple flowers on our tiny porch, but the afternoon sun here is SCORCHING hot. All my plants I've tried so far have not lived long. Sad The inside of the apartment is very dark, so I can't really grow anything inside.

I'm open to ideas. Wink

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09-02-2011, 07:51 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
YOu can raise bees anywhere! I am a beekeeper and it is a fascinating, fun, and easy hobby. You can even raise bees on a rooftop in the city. Really!
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09-02-2011, 11:09 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2011 11:14 PM by Stark Raving.)
RE: Have you ever thought....
(09-02-2011 07:50 PM)trillium13 Wrote:  I would actually love to try this, but...

We live in a tiny apartment. I've tried to grow simple flowers on our tiny porch, but the afternoon sun here is SCORCHING hot. All my plants I've tried so far have not lived long. Sad The inside of the apartment is very dark, so I can't really grow anything inside.

I'm open to ideas. Wink

Two ideas off the top of my head:

First, try growing something that likes lots of hot sun. Did you know you can grow canteloup on a trellis. It's a vine, and does great growing vertically. Saves lots of space on your small porch and gives you a huge payoff! When the melons start to develop, make hammocks to support them out of old nylon stockings.

Second, you can make "burn blind". It's really simple. Just place a piece of cardboard upright in front of where you'd like to grow. Mark where the shadow falls during the hottest three hours of the day. Put your plant there and it will get shade during the worst parts of the day, and you don't even have to move it. Once you figured out what size of burn blind you need and where to put it, you can replace it with something that looks better. (It will only take a couple days of observation) You can even put up a small trellis, and grow a heat loving vine on it to provide your veggie of choice with the protection it needs! (Try peas. They grow fast and certain varieties tolerate heat quite well)


P.S. sometimes the right amount of water is more important than lots of water. To keep your plants from drying too quickly, mulch the surface of the soil with a few inches of straw, wood shavings or compost. It retains moisture and adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil, even in pots. Also use big pots. By letting moisture levels drop it encourages the roots to reach further, creating a better root system and makes the plant hardier.

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09-02-2011, 11:15 PM
RE: Have you ever thought....
(09-02-2011 07:51 PM)catdance62 Wrote:  YOu can raise bees anywhere! I am a beekeeper and it is a fascinating, fun, and easy hobby. You can even raise bees on a rooftop in the city. Really!

Great! Now I know who to come to when we start our own colony!!

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10-02-2011, 05:50 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2011 06:32 AM by Kikko.)
RE: Have you ever thought....
First I thought I could just take it easy and have a small potato field, but then I got an idea: how about trying to grow coffee?
It takes 4-5 years for the coffee bush to start producing coffee, but I could also buy one or two 1-3 year old bushes to get some feel into it before my own bushes grow.
Now to find out if Coffee Arabica can survive dark winters. Summers shouldn't cause problems, there's plenty of light and heat then, but winter is sort of the opposite.
________________________________________________

It would also be a great business idea if it would be possible to produce local coffee efficiently (Finland uses more coffee than any other country when compared to population [Finland: 10kg/person, Middle Europe: 5.5kg/person]). But I doubt if it's possible, since nobody seems to be doing it yet, but it could also be because coffee exported from indebted 3rd world countries is so cheap.

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