Field Trip: Our Allotment

This week’s Field trip might seem a bit light, but to us, it isn’t. We didn’t visit an exciting wood-fired bakery or get treated to a local meal at a fancy restaurant. In fact, we visited my parents’ house to check out a vacant piece of land that we hope will feed us for a year.

We live on a 70’x70′ lot in town, and most of it is shaded by black walnut trees, which poison the soil for most vegetables. The front yard isn’t much better – the gravelly strip gets a fair amount of sun, but we had to bring in a lot of dirt so anything other than grass would grow. We built a few 4’x4′ garden boxes and did relatively well for what we had to work with. But what they gave us, a few tomato plants, some cucumbers, were more of a novelty than anything practical.

So that’s how we find ourselves in this cold, snowy field. My parents, who have some land in Norfolk County, Ontario, have offered up this little, quarter-acre plot for us. After assuring them that the full maintenance and all failures and successes fall on our shoulders, we’ve started planning. We’ve picked out most of what we want to grow, and are planning a small greenhouse to get everything started. The greenhouse itself will be built from salvaged pieces of my grandfather’s greenhouse which started year after year of tomatoes, cabbages, peppers and more.

This year we hope to tip that scale away from novelty and actually produce a sufficient amount of food on our own. Our goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible – especially next winter. Come february 2012, we want only one thing in our shopping cart – milk.

[vimeo w=649&h=365]


  • I put the video up just for the birds. You should email my mom, she keeps a pretty good record of the birds she sees on the farm.

  • I just found your blog today, and I'm so excited to keep reading your previous posts because it sounds like you have similar wants to mine. I've got self-sufficiency goals too, but I live on a small farm in Indiana. I started a blog a while back, but haven't had a chance to put a lot of effort into it. Congratulations on your Food Blog nomination and good luck in the coming year.

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