Growing in the Twin Cities with Backyard Harvest

Building a sustainable (and delicious) urban food system – one yard at a time

Keep the Questions Coming… March 3, 2010

Filed under: FAQs — Krista Leraas @ 11:21 am
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Asparagus - a classic spring delight

Asparagus - a classic spring delight

Q:  In your Asparagus Companion Beds, how long does it take asparagus to produce a crop? How long does it live?

A: The year after planting you will be able to cut a small amount of spears in the spring (nothing says spring like asparagus shooting out of the ground!). You will be able to enjoy the flowers and beauty of the plant in the first year. An asparagus plant lives to be about 25 years old. We recommend the following: When first planting, don’t pick any spears the first year, pick one meal the second year, two meals the third year and from then on pick spears for 8 weeks each season. A healthy asparagus plant should produce about 25 spears per season.

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Q: In your Strawberry Companion Beds, how long does it take the strawberries to produce a crop?

A: Depending on the variety, you should get some harvest in the first year and then the following year will be prolific. In order to help the strawberries develop a strong root structure it would be best to pinch off some of the flowers in the first season – which means a little less fruit production.

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Do you have questions about Backyard Harvest, backyard farming or urban permaculture? Just ask and we will do our best to answer!

 

More FAQs… November 24, 2009

Filed under: FAQs — Krista Leraas @ 1:32 pm
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strawberries and chives

strawberries and chives living together in harmony

Q: In your new Strawberry Companion Beds, why are chives and borage planted with strawberries?

A: Chives are pest repellent to keep pests away from the strawberries. They are also edible. Chives will spread but they tend to be balanced by the spreading of the strawberries. Borage is an attractant for beneficial insects as well as an edible flower.

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Q: In your new Asparagus Companion Beds, why are alyssum and dill planted with asparagus?

A: Dill is an attractant for beneficial insects. Alyssum is also an attractant as well as good ground cover for suppressing weeds.

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Do you have questions about Backyard Harvest, backyard farming or urban permaculture? Just ask and we will do our best to answer!

 

You Ask & We Respond… October 29, 2009

Filed under: FAQs — Krista Leraas @ 12:55 pm
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Q: I’ve grown more vegetables than I can use and wonder if food shelves could use this excess food. Also, are there any programs to harvest vegetables from backyard gardens and distribute them to people who could use them?

A: Yes, food shelves will gladly take extra produce though some are less inclined to take highly perishable items like lettuce or other greens because they don’t have refrigerator space for them. For Backyard Harvest, we ended up bringing our extras to a place that had both a food shelf and a daily meal program – the Aliveness Project on 38th and Chicago. The fact that they have a meal program allows them to use perishable items quickly. So if you have highly perishable items, look for a shelter or church or someplace with a daily meal program.

At this point, Backyard Harvest has not coordinated an effort to collect excess food from citizens’ veggie gardens. This is not the first suggestion/request for it, however, and we may end up adding this service in the future. Fruits of the City at the Minnesota Project will take fruit and harvest from fruit trees.

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Q: I’m confused. Backyard Harvest seems like a small business yet you are a program of a 501(c)3 nonprofit. How does that work?

A: Yes, folks do this very service as a for-profit business. In addition to offering this fee-based service, we also offer community events, training for our farmers, educational opportunities for our garden clients, gardens that are dedicated solely to providing food to food shelves, etc. The significant difference between how we run our “business” and how it could be run as a for-profit is in what we do with the money that we do make (which was none this first year). Any profits that we make will be rolled into offering more programming for the community including classes, low cost options for low income clients, more food shelf gardens, more community-building services, etc.

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Do you have questions about Backyard Harvest, backyard farming or urban permaculture? Just ask and we will do our best to answer!