With this blog we plan to document the progress of our garden, making note of various mundane and unexpected difficulties with the hope of providing useful information to our readers, and maybe even offering a useful urban gardening template. (Though we are by no means so vain as to expect perfection. Thus the Open Source portion of our title).
Our first dilemma:
As we are attempting to apply principles of permaculture and local sustainability, we find ourselves running into the problems one usually encounters in applying universal notions to messy local circumstances: On the one hand there are plenty of resources on broad principles and exciting ideas, and on the other, lots of hyper-local bits of knowledge. We're looking for that sweet spot somewhere between the wonderful science of optimal nutrient balances , the great design principles of Eric Toensmeier , and the "here's what my really cool garden looks like!" blog. (Nothing wrong with any of those, by the way). Things like, "what are city policies on compost as waste", or "what are supposed to do with all this gravel in the driveway?" What are regulations and liabilities for pricing and selling vegetables? Found some good local companion plantings? Fun wild edibles? Good row sizes for gardens? While many of these are invariably local, we think they apply, generally, to the process of building an urban garden from scratch. (And if you're in Chicago, so much the better). As we're sharing the experience in "real time" hopefully you can learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. As we're always learning, we'd love your input. Let's start a conversation.
Our first tip?
Two great books we've been reading. (That navigate well the local/generalist divide).
The New Organic Grower