The Farm Is Born

June 7, 2010 § 1 Comment

It took a long time, but the truck farm is finally here! After finishing spring semester, and Ryan’s “Maymester” trip to Chicago, we finally had time to dedicate solely to the truck. Ashleigh had the bed waterproofed a week ago, and over the past few days we went from an empty 1966 Ford to a fully functioning urban farm on wheels. We used components of a green roofing system to build the farm and it was a great learning experience in the process.

On the very bottom of the bed we cut and installed a layer of specially designed drainage tiles. These tiles collect water and channel it out of the bed, and allow for air to circulate underneath. We topped the drainage tiles with a root barrier fabric, and a dense filter fiber layer which will hold moisture and prevent roots from damaging the drainage tiles below. Once these were installed it was time to get soil. We headed to Renewable Fiber and loaded the bed with a cubic yard of expanded shale. This material is much, much lighter than soil but still provides the depth needed for roots to grow. On top of the shale we used a combination of potting soil and bio-organic soil supplement mixed with a dash of compost. This gave the truck bed an additional 4 – 5 inches of soil depth and will be nutrient-rich for the plants. Against the cab we used a piece of cedar to create a deeper bed for tomatoes to ensure that they have at least 12 – 14 inches of growing room.

Once all of this was in place it was time to plant! With a little help from some friends the planting event went pretty quickly. Soon we were able to admire our work – 4 tomatoes (Early Girl and First Lady), 8 various peppers (Anaheim, Big Jim, Jalapeno and Sweet Banana), 4 cabbages (Emerald and Chinese), 4 shallots, 1 Spanish yellow onion (an experiment), 2 cilantro and 2 Boxwood basil.

On Sunday we made our way to the Old South Pearl Street Farmer’s Market and pulled the truck right up to one end. We were a hit! Overall, people loved the idea and thought it was incredibly fun and creative. It was very popular with the kids too! Despite the blazing heat, we were all thrilled with the response and enjoyed our first Sunday at the market. Many more to come! And soon we hope to have some better marketing materials and maybe even t-shirts!

Special thanks to Andy Creath of Green Roofs of Colorado for his generous support and donation of materials!

Happy growing!


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