LIVING THE FAIRYTALE ON THE FARM
In 2007, we bought the property next door to us as a tenancy-in-common with now city-council member Micah Posner and his family. We own a percentage of the entire property, but the 50 X 50 square foot backyard, combined with ours, is our little urban farm. We live across the river from downtown Santa Cruz. So although we are just blocks from the city, we have our own little urban oasis.
With the purchase of this property came the inspiration to host classes, dinners, and other events in order to share the beauty. Though I have no formal gardening training, I learned from practice, slowly planting fruit trees, trying out strange varities of seeds I found in heirloom catalogues, and getting new chickens every year. Because we took the fence down between our yards, Micah’s young daughters are included in the communal space, so I have four girls aging in range from birth to teens eating from the garden, playing in the garden, and thriving from it.
Our goal is to be as self-sustaining as possible. We have solar on our house, greywater drip-lines, a beehive, chickens, and we try to grow most of our vegetables and fruits.
We call our little slice of nirvana “Fairy-Tale Farm”.
We brought in wheelbarrows full of horse manure, planted cover crops, then planted an extensive vegetable garden. I put in a weeping mulberry bush, a chocolate persimmon tree, a black mulberry tree, a fig, two cherries, a peach, and pineapple guava bushes, raspberry canes, and a chicken coop. A few years later, an empty bee box on the property was blessed by a swarm of bees. Now the bees have swarmed again, and we caught the swarm, setting up another accidental hive. We harvested honey for the first time this year.
I like to grow unusual plant varieties, and am a sucker for purple or pink colored vegetables. I try to save as many of the seeds as possible to plant for successive generations. And I’m addicted to sweet pea flowers.
Sometimes we host dinners in the garden, sometimes we open the gates every week for classes, music, art, or simply hanging out.
Most of all, we live, work, and eat in the garden. Though property is not affordable in Santa Cruz, and we had to buy this garden during the peak of housing prices, so we’ll be paying it off for many years to come, I like to think it is worth it. Preserving a little slice of heaven in the middle of the suburban forest feels necessary.
I like to inspire people that they too can grow their dream. I hope you come visit our little Fairytale Farm.