Spin Farming

I’ve been hearing a lot about this new concept called Spin Farming lately. It’s really new and so is pretty introductory but was supposed to be revolutionary, focusing on teaching methods for urban market farming.

I decided to buy myself the spin guides. It cost over $80, and truth be told is not something I would consider worth the money. However, there are some really great concepts to be had in the guides. I wonder if the price puts people off from buying their guides? The best part has been once you make a purchase you are then allowed to be a member of their google email group which has been a plethora of great information.

A lot of it is general concepts, except they structure it really well and basically have a “template” for people to follow. I’ve heard it being referred to as a farming “franchise.” The concepts are great – use what land you have in your yard, rent, borrow, barter for other people’s spots. People farm little plots as much as 500 square feet, as long as they have enough of them. 2 foot wide rows, heavy mulching, minimal tilling. No chemicals. The best part is that you farm in the city, so it’s a lot easier to transport and sell your produce – and you don’t need a lot of space, just a half acre or so, usually made up of garden plots in different back yards.

I like the concepts. I am, truthfully, pretty attached to my wood-sided raised beds. I’m not sure yet how this will translate since I do eventually plan on market gardening on a large enough scale to support us. I don’t think I’ll be able to afford cedar sided raised beds for all of that… I’m also not going to till, being a fan of sheet mulching instead. I figure, throw down the mulch and let the worms till it in!

OK so I know this post doesn’t have much structure, but it’s been so long since I posted and I’m just trying to get over the fact that I don’t have a picture to post. Dumb, I know… but it feels like it’s a naked post without a picture!

We got 3 feet of snow last month. It was crazy! My garden beds looked like white marshmallows sitting on a blanket of, well, marshmallow. I took pictures… I’ll get them uploaded someday. The worst part was not getting to the compost pile. Compostable waste building up on the back porch with everything else was NOT easy to live with. But at least it was so cold it didn’t smell, right? 🙂

It’s been melting now and it’s interesting because I can see the beds and I had heaped up leaves on them pretty good and now the level is at least a few inches below the tops of the beds. I imagine by springtime it’ll be down to about 6 inches, and I estimate I piled the leaves about 15 inches high.

I’ll be making a seed order pretty soon, just have to pick out my varieties. I also decided that this year we’ll inoculate some logs up at the property with phoenix oyster mushroom spore. They grow well on conifers and, well, we got PILES of old conifer logs from when the property was selectively logged. We’ll see how it goes. It’ll take about a year from when we inoculate the logs before they start producing, but this is a long term plan anyway. Oyster mushrooms sell from $6-10/lb in the stores and do not ship well, so are generally hard to find. Sounds like a boon to me! I like the idea of growing mushrooms since they aren’t as much WORK.

Also, I had another idea – I wanted to grow shiitake mushrooms but no oak trees to grow them on. I know a lot of residential homes in the area have oak trees so I was thinking if I contact tree trimming places I might be able to get any oak trimmings/tops/chips they end up with, and those would grow mushrooms just fine. In fact, if I offer them cash for oak, maybe they might be real good about it… who knows. Though, I STILL haven’t gotten my load of wood chips for the mulch (I’m thinking at this point, I’m NOT going to get them) so I’m not sure if it would work or not but would be a good idea. At $10/lb for shiitakes, I think it would be worthwhile to offer $30 for a ground up oak tree, especially if they would otherwise have to PAY to get rid of it.

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  1. Hi Bethany,
    I didn't see any contact information on your blog I guess this is the way to do it. Well, my name is Robert Zacks and I am a business entrepreneurship student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (CA). I have also heard about SPIN Farming and I wanted to ask you a few questions about it. If you don't mind e-mailing me at Robert.Zacks@gmail.com that would be great. I'd prefer we talk via e-mail because I don't know how to use these blogger websites!
    Thanks so much

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