Spring is begining to come upon us here in the northeast of America. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen some warm temps, climbing into the 60s; We have also seen about a foot of snow in the past 10 days or so. Here in New England, it takes spring a few weeks to really get a foot hold. As it approaches however my mind is increasingly focused on developing (growing, if you will), last years vegetable experiment.
Last year I took a small plot of land, only 4′ by 8′ and grew a few vegetables. It was small, it was simple and it took almost no time at all. Mistakes were made, things were learned, but more importantly, it reinforced my big ideas for how to live my life.
Over the past several years, as a precursor to my experiment last year, I have been following a project happening in Britain led by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall. He’s was a guy living in London who left the city and began to grow his own food, little by little. He started with veg, pigs and chickens on less then 1/3 of an acre. In the past ten plus years it has really grown into something quite amazing. You can read about on the River Cottage Website. Today, my aspirations are not to turn it into a business as he has done, but to start simply and begin producing more and more of my own food. I think that what he has done is wonderful and he has put in place the ground work for me and a few friends to try our hands as well. He has taken his findings and turned them into a massive resource for people all over Britain. The fact that he has created a way to live life the way he wants to, and make a living do it? All the better.
The plan this year is to plant a few separate gardens at various locations in my local area. One of those will be Supporting Door Farm, which is owned by a friend of mine one town over. This will represent what I imagine is about 50% of this years total project. We intend to do a large garden, a ‘poly tunnel‘ of some kind and perhaps some livestock. Right now the the plan is for some chickens and a couple goats. As this progresses we continue to hone the final setup.
The other 50% will be located in two places. One will be my home, where I hope to have several smaller raised beds as well as some pigs, perhaps as many as four. Then, at another local farm, we are planning to secure a good size lot of land for planting as well. The final vegetable load out for each place has not been decided yet. I want to ensure veg through the spring and summer and I also want plenty to pack away to last through the winter months here in New Hampshire.
It’s all feeling like a big jump up from last years attempt and I’m not sure how it will turn out.
Something else I hope to do this year is better document the process. I took a good number of pictures last year and had high hopes of blogging about them, but it never happened. The garden took up so little of my time and I had to do so little to maintain it that it just never happened. I wish that I had.
What I plan to do this year is start a podcast of some kind. I have my eyes set on a decent camcorder and I hope to be able to pull together some episodes about what I’ve done and why. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to pull in much more then just some farming information and I’ll be able to really branch out into the whole yearly process of growing, foraging, harvesting and saving. I want to try and build a library of episodes that will allow other people to begin to replicate the way of life I am going to try create. It will be a long road and I’m sure it will be filled with failures and pit falls but in the end I truly hope it will be worth it.
I am always open to feedback and it will become needed more and more as I progress. This will all be new to me, and in large part to those who will also be a part of this, and the more help and pointers we can get the better.
I’m incredibly excited and perhaps a little scared about the whole process but I believe it’s the way life ought to be lived. The real adventure will be finding out if it’s still possible to do.