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SFG CSA idea!

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SFG CSA idea!

Post  littlesapphire on 4/27/2012, 9:04 pm

So I've been thinking for a while now that it would be awesome to start my own small CSA, and have been coming up with some cool ideas for it. Someone posted about their own SFG CSA they started, and how they gave each member three boxes (I think) and gave them the option to choose what went into each box. That's so awesome! I would so love to do that.

Now the problem is that hubby and I live in town and don't plan on moving to the country until our children are grown (we don't even had kids yet, lol). Our yard is relatively big for the area, but my 96 squares of SFG space (4 4x4s, 2 2x4s, 1 1x16) are taking up about 1/3 of my yard, and I just can't fit any more boxes without sacrificing room to play on the lawn. But the other day, I was taking a walk and saw an empty lot just a couple blocks from my home. It reminded me of a local guy who has turned a couple empty lots into huge traditional row gardens, and he then sells his produce along the road. Can you just imagine a 50x150 lot filled with SFG boxes?! That would be so cool!

But hubby asked me, how are you going to water the plants? Hmmm... They're empty lots so there's no water hookups or anything. I'd run a hose from my house, but, lol, that's ridiculous. Does anyone else has any idea of how to get around that problem?

These are just dreams for now, of course. This is only my third year with SFG and my fifth year or so gardening at all! But I really want to do this eventually, because I think it's so important to produce good quality food for people. And plus I love to garden!!! Why not get paid for it?

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  camprn on 4/27/2012, 9:08 pm

Did there used to be a structure on the empty lot? Who currently owns it?

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  Gena575 on 4/27/2012, 9:25 pm

The lot next door to me is vacant and for sale. It used to have a mobile home on it, but the city won't let him put another on it after his burnt. Of course the guy wants about 3x what *we* think it is worth LOL! But I often day dream about buying it and turning it into a garden business of some sort.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  boffer on 4/27/2012, 9:45 pm

Sounds like fun! If you're in town, I'm guessing you're on 'city' water and not a well? Every lot probably has a water meter. You can hook up a yard hydrant, and have the 'city' turn on the water.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  staci.bourff on 4/27/2012, 9:59 pm

What about rain barrels?

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  givvmistamps on 4/27/2012, 10:14 pm

That's a good idea; you should look into zoning laws & such to see if it's doable. Since it's in a subdivision you probably do have water access that could be hooked up pretty easily. I'm wondering: being so far north with a short growing season, wouldn't you need a lot of cold frames or a greenhouse to extend the growing season?

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  squaredeal on 4/27/2012, 11:15 pm

Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corp.

Read this article in the Indpls Star for how these enterprising ladies put raised beds on an empty lot in Indy. They created a patio with a tilted roof to collect rainwater into a 3000 gallon cistern. Furthermore, they tapped into federal funds to help pay for it.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  givvmistamps on 4/27/2012, 11:50 pm

That's pretty cool!

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  Lindacol on 4/28/2012, 12:22 am

You should read Farm City, true story about a gal who farmed on a vacant intercity lot. I found it very interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/Farm-City-Education-Urban-Farmer/dp/1594202214

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/28/2012, 9:19 am

@staci.bourff wrote:What about rain barrels?


+1

It is amazing how much water you can get from collecting rain. If you put up a garden shed or greenhouse with gutters you can collect an amazing amount of rainwater, limited only by the number of rain-barrels in your system. The roof of my house is larger than a garden shed but it takes less than an hour to fill a 55 gallon drum of water.

There are also those funky clay jars that get planted in the box (are they called oles??) that will keep your garden watered in dry seasons with a bit of maintenance.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/28/2012, 10:51 am

I would LOVE to do something like this, but will need to think about all the steps to make it legal in my state. Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Sounds like a project for the winter.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  littlesapphire on 4/28/2012, 11:02 am

Oh, you guys have some great ideas! I didn't even think to look if there was a water meter on the lot or not, but there might be. Our neighborhood is pretty old (my house is 100 years old), so I bet there was a house on the lot at one point. The land is owned by an individual I don't know, and of course these are just dreams for the future, and I have no idea if he would sell the land to me or not. I just feel like he would for the right price! The land is assessed for $1000 so it wouldn't be a huge investment or anything. It's on kind of a run down street, so it's not like people are dying for land there. And if that fails, I bet there are other empty lots I could find close by too.

I like the idea of rain barrels, too. How clever! If I had a couple of sheds, I might be able to get all the water I need for free.

I'm thinking there has to be a way to do this legally in my city, since just three blocks down there's a man doing pretty much the same thing as me, just with traditional row gardening. Of course, he's selling the plants by the roadside instead of doing a CSA, so there might be a difference there. I don't live in a big city so I get the feeling I wouldn't have too much trouble setting this up.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  littlesapphire on 4/28/2012, 12:19 pm

I just mentioned the idea to my hubby and he thinks it would be a really cool idea to try!! EEEH! I'm so excited. I guess I should start by getting certified as an SFG teacher, huh? And then find out if I can have this kind of business in my neighborhood... This sounds like it's going to be some work No

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  rowena___. on 4/28/2012, 4:49 pm

for keeping my gardens watered i use 8oz. water bottles with a hole in the cap, turned upside down and buried in the soil. the water drips out slowly over the course of several days. when i'm going to be gone for more than just a few days, i replace the smaller bottles with 2 liter bottles. this is one of my gardens the day i transplanted tomatoes and marigolds (i transplant when the seedlings have their first true leaves--i feel they do better the sooner they get going in place).


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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  quiltbea on 4/28/2012, 5:01 pm

Be sure to check that using rain barrels is legal in your area. In some states they are illegal with the thought that its needed for current groundwater issues and local flora and cannot be 'stolen' from Mother Nature by collecting in rain barrels.

Otherwise, there are govt grants you can look into that might help you.

What does CSA stand for by the way?

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/28/2012, 5:29 pm

@quiltbea wrote:What does CSA stand for by the way?

Community Supported Agriculture

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  littlesapphire on 4/28/2012, 5:58 pm

Rowena, what a cool idea! Does it work well for you? I ask because I usually have to water my garden very thoroughly in the summer or the plants get sickly. Maybe your way would make sure the water is going where it's needed instead of just running off to the side.

Quiltbea, good idea. I don't think rain barrels would be illegal in our area since we're so wet to begin with (we're
Literally in a swamp), but it's something to look into. You guys are giving me some great ideas.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and its a very cool idea. People get to buy a share of your farm or garden for the season, and they get a certain amount of produce each week through the growing season. It's good for the people because they get fresh food and get to meet the people who are growing it, and it's good for the farmer because there's less risk involved. The members get whatever the plants produce, whether that's a lot or a little, but the farmer gets paid the same.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  rowena___. on 4/28/2012, 7:47 pm

@littlesapphire wrote:Rowena, what a cool idea! Does it work well for you? I ask because I usually have to water my garden very thoroughly in the summer or the plants get sickly. Maybe your way would make sure the water is going where it's needed instead of just running off to the side.

for me it works very well! however i do still water the garden once a week or so using a watering can and water from the rain barrel because it gets so incredibly hot and dry here that the mix does still become dry in parts and i feel that the dry mix tends to suck the moisture away. but for the most part this works well enough that i only have to do the big watering once a week, or at most twice a week in late july/early august.

BTW, the netting on the gardens is excellent for preventing damage from bugs, which might also be a consideration for your situation. here is a picture of a kohlrabi plant from a neighboring box--the leaves you can see in the bottom of the picture had been damaged by worms before i got the netting on. since putting on the netting, there has been almost no damage at all, as you can see by the beautiful leaves that have emerged since then:





same plant, without the netting to allow you to get a better view:





here is the first kohlrabi that i'll harvest--it is about the size of a ping-pong ball today, so i think by the end of the week it will be ready to eat!:


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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  givvmistamps on 4/28/2012, 7:56 pm

That's a fascinating watering method Rowena. How hot does it get during the summer where you live?

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/29/2012, 8:05 am

Well there doesn't seem to be much in the way of "rules" even here in Maryland.

STARTING A CSA

CSA IN MD

The second one got me thinking about liability insurance which is something I hadn't even considered.

Thank you for starting this topic.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  rowena___. on 4/29/2012, 11:02 am

@givvmistamps wrote:That's a fascinating watering method Rowena. How hot does it get during the summer where you live?

in august it tends to stay in the 90's, with some weeks into the 100's. and our season is LONG. i've had tomatoes in the ground for over a month, and they will still be going strong under a hoop house at least until thanksgiving.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  GWN on 4/29/2012, 11:53 am

I think it is amazing you could get a piece of property for 1000 dollars.
WOW

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  givvmistamps on 4/29/2012, 3:11 pm

@rowena___. wrote:
@givvmistamps wrote:That's a fascinating watering method Rowena. How hot does it get during the summer where you live?

in august it tends to stay in the 90's, with some weeks into the 100's. and our season is LONG. i've had tomatoes in the ground for over a month, and they will still be going strong under a hoop house at least until thanksgiving.

I'm telling my friends to save their 2 liter bottles for me, and we'll save water bottles we use up here to try this method of watering. Seems like a modern-day version of the olla pots people have been discussing lately, and the bottles will come free!

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  sfg4uKim on 4/29/2012, 7:09 pm

Well now you've got me REALLY interested in this.

I've been eyeballing a piece of property for awhile now (a little less than a mile from my house). I know it has utilities because there used to be a BBQ smokehouse and an auto repair shop on the property.

Not even sure it's for sale, but . . .

I'm thinking of a 14 x 24' "barn" which I'll insulate & drywall. This will be my "store" and SFG classroom. The back will be fenced and this is where I'll grow the veggies. Then I can have a small stand out front. The property is on a good corner and people will be able to pull in & get out nicely.

LOL now all I have to do is see if I can afford the property and start saving my pennies. Don't expect to hear about this anytime soon . . . maybe 3 years down the road.

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

Post  givvmistamps on 4/29/2012, 10:25 pm

If I could buy the plot behind my house, I'd probably be wanting to do this, too...though I don't know what the zoning would be since I'm within city limits. I can't have livestock, I know that, but a "farm"? Who knows! First I'd cut down the Live Oaks! They're a pain in my neck anyway, and the ones on that property do NOT look healthy, as they're weighed down by the darn Spanish moss and growing up in weird directions. But the owner wants $100k for it, and that's an outrageous price in our tiny "city"! Shocked

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Re: SFG CSA idea!

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