Converting a Suburban Yard Into a Farm

  

About 23 years after the addition was put on the house, the bobcat returned once again to pave the way for new garden beds. After removing the sod, a thick layer of healthy garden soil from the back of our property was leveled out over the proposed beds. Winter rye grass was seeded down for the fall. Come spring raised bed gardens were built with old bricks, and the first round of strawberry and raspberries were established. 
  
  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director
  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director

DIY Mini Greenhouse

  
It's inevitable, every farm needs a greenhouse. In the fall of 2015 the Pilguy family came together to construct this 4' x 25' mini greenhouse. Now equipped with a temperature sensitive fan and ventilation system, this structure can reach temps in the 100's when sunny, even in winter! We laid the concrete foundation with a layer of 3 inch foam board, and covered that with plywood. Utilizing salvaged lumber and windows we framed up (3) 8' walls and cut out windows after framing. In between the windows we installed polycarbonate panels, which were acquired from Farmtek. The roof was framed with 2x2's and covered with ridged fiberglass material which we bought at menards. After it was built we went through quite a bit of caulk and spray foam to keep it as air tight as possible.

This structure works great for transitioning seedlings outside and drying herbs in the summer. Over winter it becomes home to some perennials. 
  
  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director

Raised Bed Garden Extravaganza

  
Last spring I constructed 4 identical raised bed gardens utilizing salvaged lumber and conduit. This project cost the farm absolutely nothing besides my time. The dimensions are 4' by 8' and roughly 16'' deep. I started by hammering two posts (old pallet bottoms) and tying a string between them. This gave me a guide to keep all gardens in line with each other. Next I laid a mat of cardboard down to help keep future weeds at bay. In between the gardens I piled up woodchip. I filled the gardens with an organic compost mix attained from Behrens landscape, and amended it with my own vermicompost mix. After a season of successful and bountiful harvests, I filled the gardens back up with shredded leaves. 
  
  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director

Walk In Cooler

  
Last spring I also constructed a walk in cooler. The dimensions are roughly 9' by 12'. Thanks to the gracious donation from my neighbors, 18 sheets of 3'' foam board helped tremendously on the budget. This was my second walk in cooler build, so it went much more smoothly having the experience. I framed the walls and ceiling out of 2x6 salvaged lumber. The placement of this cooler is in back garage, the same garage which the greenhouse is attached to. Two layers of foam board were used on the two interior walls and ceiling, and 1 layer on the exterior walls and floor. I wrapped a layer of house wrap as a vapor barrier between the layers of foam. A few cans of spray foam did the trick in getting the unit air tight. I purchased an exterior door from Habitat for Humanity. The only new purchases made for this project was the 18,500 BTU air conditioner and the Coolbot device, which is essential for getting the cooler down to ideal food storage temp. 
  

High Tunnel (In Progress)

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director
  
Through NRCS (National Resources and Conservation Service) I was able to apply for the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program). This program essentially allows new and beginner farmers like me to set up farming infrastructure for little to no cost. The catch is that I need to build and purchase items upfront. Once built a government representative will come out to check me off. I should (cross my fingers) get reimbursed for the full cost of this High Tunnel. This structure is 20' by 60' and was purchased from FarmTek. This past fall I had some buddies help me out to get the framework established. This spring I will hopefully get this baby finished. This is by far the most exciting project I have been a part of. With this tunnel I will be able to get an extra month or two of growing and harvesting. I also hope to set up a rainwater catchment and solar powered pumping system for this tunnel. Stay tuned for more pictures!