Sunday, November 15, 2009

Next year's garden

We signed up for another year at Starbird Farm. I got most of the garden tilled before the rains started in ernest. That got most of the canary grass under some kind of control. I plan to put down black plastic, cardboard or old carpet on the worst of it to make life easier next season. We will also reverse the planting next year to we don't concentrate pests. I will spread lime again this year since I don't think we got a very uniform spread last spring.

I'm concerned longer term about the availability of Starbird Farm to community gardening as well as the whole global warming thing. A rise in sea level of only one meter would just about wipe out Ebey Island as a farming community. I need to seek higher ground, so to speak.

The trouble with large scale gardening/small scale farming is that most land around here is priced for development. That price is way too high if all we want to do is garden. If the price is lower, then there must be something wrong with the land. Either it's in the flood plain, or it won't perk which means it is probably also not good for gardening. I keep looking. I'd rather rent than buy, but I'd also be willing to buy a quarter acre. I'd want tolerably good soil, good drainage, access by small truck year round, the possibility to build s shed or small barn, water (could be a driven well), good sunlight and not more than 15 miles from where I live -- Everett.

1 comment:

  1. When I look at the global warming issue and ebey island, I have to figure two things: one, the dike height can be raised; the dutch have farmed reclaimed seabed for centuries - and the rise that's expected by the most pessimistic estimates in the next 20 years is on the order of one or two inches.

    I'm 46, and I don't think I'll be able to farm to the extent that I am now at 66, so 20 years is on the outside of my likely span.

    The bigger risk to ebey island is the threat that changing regulations by various agencies will prevent the maintenance on the existing dike will not be sufficient to keep the river out. More cynical people have speculated that that's the overall plan. Allow the island to flood, and then use that as a lever to get everyone off it at bargain prices.

    One recent change is that the county has limited the use of rock faces on the dike, in areas that were damaged by last years flood, and suggested that landscape fabric and cottonwood trees are a good replacement. It's an experimental approach that the diking district estimates will cost 3x the cost of maintenance with rock, and personally, given the (lack) of succcess of other regulation-based initiatives (wetlands that don't work, regulations that actually harm rather than help species, etc)I'm skeptical that this approach will be better than the tried-and-true.

    Of course, if the new approach fails, the county isn't at fault.