Our attempt to organically grow 1 ton of food on our urban city lot!
Urban Ton Background
When my wife and I moved to St. Paul, MN in 2008 we decided we would focus on planting a primarily edible landscape. Over the past two years we have drastically changed our 0.2 acre lot from a series of overgrown flower beds, bushes, and trees into what is becoming our own urban oasis. As we have discussed, planned, designed, and occasionally even fought over the future of our landscape a question frequently arose: Just how much food could we produce on our urban lot?
From that question The Urban Ton Project was born...
Can we grow 1 ton (that is 2,000 lbs.) of food in a single year from our urban home?
Here are the Rules:
1.) Everything must be harvested from January 1st to
December 31st in the same calender year.
2.) Everything must be grown on our property.
3.) Only organic methods may be used.
4.) Each day any crops harvested will be weighed and
recorded by crop type.
5.) Backyard grazing (eg. eating tomatoes off the vine) of unweighed foods will not count.
6.) Food lost to damage, insects, dogs, chickens (our backyard pets) or any other cause will not be counted.
7.) Inputs will not be counted against the goal but will be
recorded (i.e. chicken feed, purchased compost, seeds etc..).
8.) No single crop can count for more than 20% of the total (no mono-crops here).
This blog will serve to chronicle the ongoing efforts in meeting our Urban Ton goal and developing our edible oasis. We're starting in 2010, and we'll see how far we get...
Living in Saint Paul, MN will add some challenges not faced in other pars of the country. Being in zone 4, our northern cold climate has a short growing season and long cold winters compared to more temperate zones. With that said our hypothesis is that we reach the Urban Ton by 2015 which is when the fruit trees we plan to plant this spring will reach production age.
We are a family doctor and engineer from Minnesota and Pennsylvania respectively! We met in Rochester, NY, and later moved to St. Paul, MN. We love farming, traveling, camping, exploring the lakes/trails of MN, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hanging out with our dog Emma, and harvesting the eggs from our backyard chickens. We are always eager to try out new recipes (esp. with locally grown, organic veggies!) and also love pairing homemade beer or good wine with our meals! We look forward to your feedback about our project!
Over the weekend our soon to be brother-in-law Sean O'Leary spent some time in our garden with his camera. Sean works for Rishi Tea and does a lot of their on location promotional photography (what a fun job!). He did this series in black and white and we thought we would share a few of our favorites.