By Ian Taylor
This article is part of the Way to Grow Urban Farms series by Ian Taylor highlighting six hosts from the 2015 Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour.
When Liam and Anya moved into their house three years ago their aspiration to become urban farmers probably had a lot to do with their choice since they inherited a fine greenhouse and some sturdy raised beds from the previous occupants.
The greenhouse is a multi-purpose facility, featuring not only plants and fruiting citrus trees but a sofa and exercise equipment.
The chicken coop was built partly from recycled materials. “We use a lot of repurposed material,” says Liam. “Craigslist is a great resource and so is the Ballard Reuse store. And wood pallets are free!”
The four chickens are confined to the coop and run area during the growing season, explains Liam. “We use a deep litter system in the run with lots of straw. We also give them weeds and vegetable trimmings every day so they have lots of fresh food. During the winter they roam all over the garden, eating bugs and keeping the weeds down. They basically maintain the garden for us.”
The three beehives at Sunnyside Farm are a colorful addition to the yard and the honey harvest adds another dimension to the productivity of this beautiful garden.
“Each year we take on some new challenge,” says Anya. “We’re always looking for ways to increase our food production. Liam is aiming to produce 200 Ibs of potatoes from our potato patch, about 8’x4’.”
This couple’s advice to other aspiring urban farmers is to install a drip irrigation system to save water and make irrigation easy. Also, give plants more space than you think they will need and be patient.
Anya and Liam’s achievements are inspirational and that contented hum you hear in their garden is not just coming from the bees.