Urban Farms in the Summer

wpid-20140603_191158.jpg

As the summer months approach, I finally fall back into my blogs. Although this blog has been ignored for a few months Fear Not! I hope to be back with a more constant stream of information for my readers!

During the summer it’s harder to keep your urban garden alive, especially in places like Arizona where temperatures can hit as high as 120 degrees. This makes it difficult to keep plants healthy and unfortunately, any live stock or poultry you may have. There are a few things you can do to help take care of your urban garden.

1. WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER…. make sure to provide your garden, live stock or poultry plenty of water. A good way to keep poultry and livestock cool wet down the ground where these animal are housed. As a general rule of thumb I water down that area about twice a day and water my garden around three times a day, if possible.

2. SHADE…make sure your livestock and poultry have shade for the hottest parts of the day. Shade can create an area that is around ten degrees cooler than areas that are in direct sunlight.

3. MONITOR…make sure you continue to check up on your urban farmer, if you see signs of heat stress on your plants, livestock or poultry take action, continue to give them lots of water and contact a veterinarian if signs get worse.

Advertisements

Chicken Legislation in Arizona

Eggs

It’s shocking that there is so much legislation across the United States related to chickens and other live stock. Recentlya bill was introduced by Senator David Farnsworth from  Mesa, Arizona, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

According to the bill, SB1151, “Municipalities are prohibited from adopting a zoning ordinance that prohibits a resident of a single-family detached residence from keeping fowl in the backyard of the property.”

The legislation would allow cities to restrict the number of chickens and the allowance of rosters or not.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times the law would allow for cities “to outlaw roosters, except for ones that no longer crow.”

For more information about SB 1151 visit the AZ House website.

Volunteering at the Growhouse

Growhouse is a community garden in Downtown Phoenix that is a part of the Roosevelt Row District.  On November 17th, 2013 I had the chance to volunteer at Growhouse with students from Downtown Barrett. Growhouse has partnered with the Roosevelt Row District to create a community location for community members to come together and work to grow a garden that benefits them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Growhouse consists of a community garden, private plots for gardeners in the community, a boutique called the GROWop boutique, a chicken coop, a compost area and a beehive.  The GROWop boutique sells handmade vintage and local goods as well as houses local artists art work.

Kenny Barrett, the co-founder of Growhouse and programs manager for Roosevelt Row CDC,  started Growhouse with another artist, Kelly Placke in 2008.  “We didn’t have any experience when we started” he says. “Phoenix is super accessible, especially right now, it’s an exciting time of year because you can really get in and start something right now.” He spoke to BLAST’D, The Barrett Leadership and Service Team Downtown, before they went out and volunteered at Growhouse where they weeded plants, helped paint the house, and planted plants. “Once we started growing enough we started selling our vegetables at the farmers market and now we sell to local restaurants and cafes, like Carly’s” Barrett says. “We get all kinds of people out there volunteering…doing this has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had and it has led to a lot of interesting things.”

“The Growhouse itself is just a magnet of awesome, there is so many beautiful things that have happened as a result of having that place for people to go, to learn about the community and in retrospect to really understand that there is growth within gardens in Downtown Phoenix” says Nicole Underwood Director of operations for the Roosevelt Row CDC, who also spoke to students about Growhouse and Roosevelt Row. “Growhouse kind of comes underneath the A.R.T.S Market Program…and that stands for Activating Temporary Reusable Space and basically we [Roosevelt Row CDC] as an organization saw the dirt lots, not as a deficit but as an opportunity for growth, to activate, to get people involved downtown.”

Bailey Scalise, a student who volunteered at Growhouse, says “It was nice to do volunteer work that was more physical and had an immediate impact on the community.”

Growhouse has many opportunities to volunteer. Every Sunday from 10 am until noon, August thought May, they have a Garden Day at Growhouse. On these days volunteers can help with preparing garden beds, planting, weeding, building things to use within the garden and other projects. To sign up to volunteer contact Kenny Barrett at kenny@rooseveltrow.org.

An Update on My Urban Farm

ChickenMy urban farm has had some ups and downs over the past couple of months. We have had many attacks on our urban farm by different predators who have attacked our chickens and even our garden. After several attacks on our chicken coop (including a cat prying the side of the coop open) we have a total of three chickens left, all from our original flock.

We plan on raising more chicks at some point so that we can increase our egg production. Currently, we only receive about two or three eggs a day. In the past, we have received about ten to a dozen eggs a day. We were to the point that we had no idea what to do with so many eggs, so we gave them away to neighbors and friends.

Our garden is currently producing lots of different plants. We have a large crop of okra and have a bunch of gourds growing in our backyard. One of the plants that we wanted to grow a large crop of was pumpkins, but unfortunately they did not flower.  One of the biggest problems we had with our garden was birds. We have birds lurking in our backyard because of our chickens and the chicken feed we have near our garden. When the birds had finished off the chicken feed they decided to go after the newly planted seeds in our garden, which caused lost of problems when we were trying to grow plants. We also had lots of volunteer plants from the last few years of harvests.

Besides the chickens we also have rabbits, cats, and a  tortoise. In the past we have also had ducks. I hope to expand my urban farm to include many other animals. The animal aspect of urban farming is my favorite part because I have a passion for animals.

*UPDATE 11/13/13*

We have now added these 9 little ones to our flock.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Local Urban Gardener

Kim Kunasek lives in the Phoenix Metro Area and has her own urban garden in her backyard. She has cultivated and tended to her garden to the point that she wants to share it with others. She decided to do this by joining a group of individual families who put on urban garden tours.  Over the years she has participated in many different urban garden tours and had hundreds of guests tour her garden.  Kunasek has a passion for gardening and growing edibles, plants that you can eat, and raising chickens. Kunasek and her garden were even featured in the Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine. Her garden started off with just plants and then grew to also have chickens as well as other animals. Check out her story.

Predators In Urban Farming

Recently, my chicken coop was attacked by a local neighborhood cat…this happened three times over the span of four days. We tried many things to keep the cat away but nothing seemed to work. The cat started off trying to pull different doors open to get in, when that did not work he became very determined to get inside and even pulled part of the wood paneling off the side of the coop to get in. In total we lost all but three of our chickens.

Currently we are in the rebuilding process, but to help protect your urban farm here are some tips about how to protect your urban farm from predators.

What is Urban Farming?

Many people are confused about what urban farming actually is. This video gives a general description of  what exactly an urban farm is. Urban farms may be small, but they still can contain lots of resources that communities can share. They can also contain different farm animals such as chickens, goats, sheep, etc. There are many different types and sizes of urban farms, but they all contribute to the urban farming community. Many people believe that it is hard to become a part of the urban farming community, but most people can join in some way. There are a few things that can help kick start an urban farm such as planting a small garden or raising a few chickens.