David and I are wandering the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this week, and giving a talk on Sunday (February 7, 2010). The display gardens are beautiful, as always. Some are even spectacular. But only two garden installations serve to truly inspire an urban gardener in these times. Since David and I are particularly interested in sustainable, organic food production for urban dwellers we found that these two gardens had the most to offer: “A Family’s Little Farm in the City” and “The Truck Farm.” (More on that in my next blog). “A Family’s Little Farm in the City” certainly lives up to its promise: to “demonstrate how a family can live sustainably in the city.” A small dwelling – actually a barn, but it could be modified – with solar panels, a quiet patio serving as a front porch, vegetable beds, an edible forest, compost bins, rain barrels, and bee hives. All thrive on this tiny plot of land.
I love this chicken tractor. The hen industriously scratches and pecks, tilling the soil for you. She can retire to her little shed to lay her eggs. Talk about a valuable partner!! This is probably my favorite item in the display.
We’ve built cold frames from discarded windows for thirty years, but it is really treat to see one so well-built and attractive.
Rain barrels make sense no matter where you live. There are so many places in the world where water is a problem. Anywhere along the west coast of North America, the summers are dry. In the Southwest U.S. it’s dry all the time. Even the east coast of the U.S. experiences prolonged periods of drought. Catch water off any roof and storing it for later use is a great idea.
And what garden would be complete without some domestic animal companions and helpers?