One acre of land, 43,560 square feet. And yet there isn’t enough room. I am a huge sci-fi fan, hence the title of this little ditty. There is not enough space, there is never enough time, and it is always continuous. So, how to create more ‘space’ within said space?
I have several huge maple trees that will be coming down. This will do several things all at once. I will suddenly have full sun on all my open property except for very late in the afternoon. I also will have more firewood than I can split and stack in one season, for sure. And it will open the entire area into useable space. It may take a couple of years to get all the roots rotted down and the stumps burned down enough that I can do something over them, yet it will be a lot more manageable with those trees down. Then I will start looking up. Vertical farming, and spaces made of whatever I can find will fit that bill. I need to do more research to be sure, yet I am thinking that cardboard Sonitubes, such as those they use for pouring concrete columns, with holes cut in them to make a tall vertical ‘strawberry jar’ type arrangement, would work great. Yet they cost money.
So now it comes to some inexpensive options. I will be building some ‘vertical boxes’ from sawmill slabs, the predominate species being pine. Bark side in probably, a footprint of maybe an much as 4 feet square. It won’t be too high, since I wish to work the whole thing from the ground. So, 4 feet wide by 5 feet high, 20 square feet. Four side, 80 square feet. Two rows of holes in each side, a hole every foot staggered, and I should have a minimum of 40 planting holes. And although I will have to pick and choose what is workable, the math says in 16 square feet my planting density just multiplied by at least four in that footprint.
My concern right now will be the stability of those towers once they are up. Time will tell. The biggest issues for my smaller space is volume per square foot. and how to increase it, whatever it is, until it reaches a level of being as good as it can get. This will also take into consideration such things as crop rotation and natural fertilizers (manure, compost, leaf mold, worm casting). I will also be looking at trial-and-error learning regarding open-space gardening, cold frames, row covers, row tunnels and, of course, high tunnels.
Photo: iStockphoto.com/Jonathan Eastland
So that touches on the space thing. Time is my friend and my enemy. There is never enough of it, and what I have usually has too many things to get done within that allotted time. And I generally never allow enough time to get done what I want. It is still amazing to me that what used to take me an hour to do now takes three. Or more. And as often as that happens, I still cannot grasp the thought that it does take me longer when I am planning my next day the evening before. Do I bust my rear end for 10 or 12 hours a day? No, I do not. I am getting there, yet right now if I get in a groove, four or five hours is about the max I can manage without totaling doing myself in before taking a longer-than-I-like break and then going at it again..
And as farmers, homesteaders, living-off-the-land-type people know, the work is continuous. I can remember as a young man all my friends would ‘go off on vacation’ during the summer months when we were out of school. We never did. Yes, my grandfather managed to squeeze in some fishing with me at the local creek, with cane poles and night crawlers, yet even then all the chores had to be done early for that to happen.
I lived that life 60 years ago because it was the life I was born into and I didn’t know anything else. Fast forward 60 years, and I am trying to do it again, by choice and not by chance. Perhaps there is a fold in the space-time continuum that has caught me in its grasp. I hope so. Recently the world lost a very fine man, and one of my favorites on the old “Star Trek” series.
So let me close with the same words he had in his last tweet, “Live Long and Prosper.”