Thursday, February 12, 2009

Patio Farm - parameters

The Shibaguyz asked for more details on this Patio Farm challenge that I've been handed. So, here are the parameters.

The patio is located in a Midwestern city, borderline between zones 5 and 6. It is a second floor balcony. Dimensions are 8' x 14' (bigger than I first thought.) It faces southeast. It is a concrete floor with a 42" steel rail on two sides. It is accessed by a 5 foot sliding glass door in the north wall. The north and west walls are about 10 feet high. There is nothing overhanging the space.

For the time being we will ignore any structural (weight bearing) and zoning limitations.

My friends, well call them Dick and Jane, have basic gardening skills, and about an hour a day each to devote to maintaining this system. They would like to produce as much of their food as possible from this space. They are NOT vegetarian, and hope for some kind of animal protein from their farm. They would like it to produce year round.

For this to be a meaningful example of a sustainable way forward it would have to produce most of its own water, energy, fertility, and seeds going into the future.

Can It be done?


nancybond said...

...would have to produce most of its own water, energy, fertility, and seeds going into the future.

That IS a challenge -- can't wait to see what you all conjure up.

Jan Steinman said...

Tough situation. Have you looked at Permaculture for design ideas?

It seems obvious to me that they will have to "go vertical" if they want a lot going on. The two walls to the south are a problem for sunlight. The lack of soil is a problem for perennials and tap roots.

I'd look at trellises on the north wall for climbing beans and some things that want it a bit warmer, perhaps tomatoes and corn. I was thinking about grapes on trellis, but it's hard to establish them with their feet in a pot.

Good luck! said...

Great info! We're on it! Good options here for solar power and rain barrel system.

EVERYTHING MUST CLIMG! LOL Or hang... climbing and hanging is good.

What on EARTH are we going to use for protein?? hhhmmm...


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