Here's how NOT to position a vegetable garden: In the furthest corner away from the house, distant from a water source, snug to the fence on two sides, with the neighbors very healthy crabapple trees providing shade most of the day. That's what I inherited from the previous owners of our house. For four growning seasons, I've made the best of it with varying results. At some point, we'll move the garden bed. But this year, Farmer Liz is taking a break. It's just too much work for substandard results. I'm covering the plot with plastic and much, save for the hardy herbs and walking onions that have returned on cue. And the strawberries will, once again, go to the squirrels.
Enter Aspen Moon farm, Hygiene, Colorado, which offers community supported agriculture (CSA) shares and also sells at the Longmont and Boulder Farmers' Markets. If you're not familiar with the CSA concept, here's a snapshot from the USDA:
Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.
So back to our local scene: A nearby resident secured enough share subscribers in neighborhood for Aspen Farm to agree to once-a-week delivery. We are splitting a share with our next-door neighbor.
Aspen Moon presents these seasonal examples, which will vary with availability and weather.
Spring: 10oz bag salad mix, 10oz bag spinach, bunch chard, bunch radish, bunch turnip or carrot or beets, bunch green onion, pint sugar snap peas
Mid-summer: 10 oz bag salad mix, bunch collards, 2 bunches carrot or beet, 2 onion, 2 zucchini or cucumber, pint tomato, pint purple green beans, 3 peppers, herb bunch
Fall: 2 heads lettuce, 6 oz bag arugula, 1lb broccoli, ½ lb shallots, head of celery, 1 winter squash, 1lb potatoes, 1 Asian cabbage, garlic bulb
No, I will not be missing that vegetable garden this year. I'm sure the neighbors will be glad to share some crabapples, especially if some of them boomerang in the form of jelly. And, well, I still have my flowers to tend.