Plant Your Own Miniature Fenway Farms
Guest Post by Green City Growers
Here’s a fun way to get your family to eat more veggies in 2017: start your own miniature farm! Whether you have a large backyard, a tiny back patio, or even just a fifth floor fire escape, milk crate gardening is an easy (and fun!) way to grow and eat the freshest vegetables imaginable.
A perfect example of this is Fenway Farms, a rooftop farm WITHIN Boston’s iconic Fenway Park. Comprised of thousands of these milk crate gardens, the farm produced nearly 6,000 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables in 2016 – all of which were used in the park’s concessions.
Start your own garden with two or three crates and you’ll have your own Fenway Farms in no time!
Check Your Sunlight
Light is perhaps the most important element when choosing your garden site. You’ll need at least six hours of full sunlight to grow veggies like peppers and tomatoes, though some “low-light” crops like herbs and lettuce can grow in as few as four. Using a solar tracker is the most accurate way to measure sunlight hours. Take into account the height of trees when they’re leafed out. More sunlight means more growth potential!
Set Up for Success
Once you’ve picked out your site, you’ll need to build your garden. Cut a 3’x3’ square of landscape fabric for every 1’x1’ milk crate. Using a staple gun, line the crates with the fabric, then fill to the top with clean, organic soil, which you can find at a garden supply center.
What to Plant
Cool-weather crops (think spinach, beets, and scallions) grow best in the spring and fall, while warm-weather crops (beans, tomatoes, peppers) will want the full sun of the summer. Harvests like radishes and carrots are best planted from seeds, while produce like eggplants or squash should be transplanted.
Seed packets will tell you how far apart to space your plants – be sure to pay attention! If you plant your crops too closely together, they will compete for nutrients and won’t grow to full size.
The best time to water is in the early morning, followed by at night. Soil should be damp to the touch (but not soaking wet) about a finger’s length below the surface. A drip irrigation system with a timer is a good idea if you have a large garden. Be sure not to overwater your plants!
Maintaining Your Garden
Once your garden gets growing, you’ll want to monitor it for pests and diseases to ensure healthy and productive crops. For more tips and tricks for keeping your garden in good order, check out Green City Growers, the “farm team” at Fenway Farms.