February 13, 2012

Urban Farm Challenge 2012

Another blogger and author, Annette Cottrell, has initiated an Urban Farm Challenge for this year, and YOU should join in! Here is the link - Urban Farm Challenge 2012

Have you ever wanted to grow some of your own veggies but did not know where to start? Each month she will be addressing another urban farming issue; composting, seed saving, preserving etc.

"Yes, yes, urban farming is about vegetables and chickens and putting up but what it’s really about is changing the food stream. It’s about a hunger to connect with what you eat, and what you feed to those you love. It’s about being mindful of the impact you have on this life, both on and off the farm."

She also wrote the "Urban Farm Handbook", which I do not yet own, but I think I may be adding it my library.  I have read many positive reviews, one from Food in Jars.

February is all about the soil.  I already compost our kitchen and some yard waste in our backyard composter. The City of Portland also picks up yard debris and the kitchen waste I do not place in my garden compost (meat, cooked food, greasy food etc.) curbside along with recycling and garbage.

We used to have one of these barrel type composters that sits on the ground, but developed a vermin problem.  A family of rats moved in - chewed right through the barrel - so we had to come up with a different solution.  Aside from the fact that rats carry disease, they were eating all my kitchen scraps before it could compost and I did not want them to try to get into the coop and start eating my eggs and chicken feed!  Our coop has hardware cloth buried 12" in the ground all around, but I was taking no chances.

My aunt actually got us the composter you see here.  It sits up on metal legs and as soon as we converted to it, the rats moved away!

The other composter was really difficult to manage...it was next to impossible to stick a shovel or fork in there and get any leverage to turn the soil.  This one is hinged and it takes some effort, but it can be turned regularly to mix up the compost.  Some people in dryer climates have trouble with compost tumblers drying out....this is not a problem here in the northwest.

The Hubs came across an article about Hugelkultur garden beds.  We are going to try this method out this month and plant it this summer and see how it goes.  I will keep you posted.

Be sure to sign up for the challenge and then post about your efforts on Annette's site.


  1. Ooh, I might have to check out the challenge. We're expanding our vegetable garden by almost triple this year and our chicken flock may get a boost as well. We made our composter for about $10 if you want to check it out on my blog. Good for those DIY enthusiasts who need something low cost. Take care and great post!

    1. I would love to check out your composter...can you send me a link? I tried to search for it on your blog...but no luck.
      I am thinking of starting another compost bin area...and was thinking of using pallets, is that what you used?