Category Archives: Urban Farming

The Displaced Farmer: Hunting, Gathering & Going to Pot

I’d have to place the following under the category of, “And now for something completely different”…

It was Saturday morning.  The clocks had been set ahead returning to Eastern Standard Time which unofficially and non-chronologically marked the beginning of the feel of spring.  Still, here in the Mid-Atlantic region 7b, with all the unspring-like weather we’d been having, it became at the time what to do while waiting to plant; and I did want to wait to plant.  The answer: prepare. Continue reading

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Introducing Gardening with the Displaced Farmer

A mixture of husky cherry and grape tomatoes, a must in my garden every year.

A mixture of husky cherry and grape tomatoes, a must in my garden every year.

I love gardening.  It probably stems from some seeds I planted as a young man. Even though they sprouted, some weren’t that happy with the evidence of my green thumb; but I digress.  As a city dweller, gardening reconnects me to the land and, at least in my mind, brings me closer to heaven, if you can understand what I mean. Continue reading

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The Displaced Farmer: Frustration, compost, Hubie Brown & the things that make it all worthwhile

Sweet banana peppers coming back after a sketchy start.  Not out of the woods yet with wet weather still around.

Sweet banana peppers coming back after a sketchy start. Not out of the woods yet with wet weather still around.

For area gardeners, this has been a tricky summer.  Excessive heat, along with sporadic, torrential rainfall has our plants not knowing what the bleep is going on.  We’re finding out that as much as the rain is a bountiful source of nourishment, it’s also a cradle of disease and disaster.

Bacterial, viral and fungal ailments flourish in the wet, muddy environment that’s been so prevalent these past few weeks.  And once they take hold, they can be a bitch to get rid of.

What to do in the midst of all this frustration becomes the question.  I’ve written before about the importance of faith; faith in yourself, in God and/or Providence.  Think about it and you find, in that context, we have more in common with our agriculturally-driven ancestors than we realize.

They had more than just a summer garden at stake and had no farmers’ markets or Whole Foods to tide them along the way.  For them, after frustration came prayer and a rethinking of the problem.  If nothing else, they were tenacious; they had to be.

So, I’m going to go back to basics, back to the dirt (back, back to the tar pits!).  I’ll lay a mulch of compost across everything and once that’s done, I’ll attempt to channel my inner Hubie Brown (NBA analyst and former NBA coach for those of you who can’t place the name) in that there’s “plenty of time” to turn things around and give my harvest a modicum of success.  Coming into the start of the fourth quarter of summer, I figure you either stop wasting water ($$$) and scrap your whole season or dig down and as they say, leave it all out there on the field.  Tenacity and plenty of time.

And the things that make it worthwhile?  Well, Thursday while watering, I saw a grasshopper, a baby.  Suddenly looking down at my hose, there it was, just sitting there, I think watching me.  Who can tell with those eyes?  I haven’t seen a grasshopper in my yard for years; you just don’t see them in the hood like that anymore, at least not in mine.  So, gardeners can change an ecosystem even if it starts with their own little one behind or beside their home, it appears

And yesterday, while watering an azalea, a small bird creeps up close slowly, really close.  It’s one of those instances when you question if the animal is sick, it’s so unafraid of humans.  But it didn’t seem sick, it was wary of me and tentative; a few hops, followed by an intense “what are you gonna do?” look.  Eventually, he settled at my feet, at the pooling water surrounding the azalea.  In the end, he took his eyes off of me and proceeded to drink, all the while I’m standing there amazed that this creature would approach me this closely and the level of trust (or thirst, lets be real) that allowed him to do that.  He drinks his fill after which he hopped back under the lilac and went on his way.  Now, I’m going to have to get a bird bath for the garden cause you know he told his boys.

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The Displaced Farmer: Men’s Health Month, gardening, stress and faith

It’s kind of funny when you think about it, ironic even.  We have in our midst now a workplace environment where emphasis is placed on maintaining employee “wellness”.  Nothing overly altruistic, it’s a move made not only for the sake of the workers but also for the sake of the employers bottom line cost of healthcare coverage.    There’s also been a lot of talk thrown around the office concerning an employee’s ability to battle stress; a lot of talk.  Which to me is somewhat disingenuous because if an employer truly wanted to help their employees battle stress, they’d ensure that their workers received more money in their pockets at the end of a pay period or limit their work load or recognize their contributions or not try to force them to work outside of their job descriptions.  But I digress.

The good thing about this trend-because I truly think that it’s only a trend-is that we all can use a bit of help when it comes to identifying and combating stress.  Stress is a killer and we need to be able to recognize the symptoms of it: irritability, loss of sleep, weight loss, headaches, lack of concentration just to name a few.  We also need to know how to fight it and regain a solid footing on the road to good mental health.  Everything I’ve ever read says that occupying your mind with a hobby is a major way to get between yourself and the pressure.  And if it’s a hobby that lets you break a bit of a sweat then you’re doubly blessed, indeed.  Problem is what do you do when your chosen hobby, the one that hopefully relieves your stress levels, takes those levels in the opposite direction?  I’ll tell you what you do; you have a little faith.

Gardening is a great hobby with which to relax.  There’s nothing like putting spade to dirt in order to grow something.  You step back with a feeling of accomplishment not present in other hobbies or recreational activities.  But it does, after all, involve nature and thus isn’t something that will go just as planned.  This summer is a very good case in point.  Hot, humid weather is raising a ruckus in many gardens across the region.  Bacterial or fungal infections are lurking in our yards and only need a bit more “splash” to get really going.  You want to talk about stress?  Try watching your whole growing season, along with the money spent to get it started, go down the toilet right before your very eyes.

So, you have faith that all will be OK.  Trust yourself and have confidence in your abilities to achieve what you set out to do.  Don’t concentrate on the bad that’s happening but rather put your emphasis on creating a plan of action to solve your situation.  It’ll take your mind off your difficulty, if only for a spell and at the same time, give you viable alternatives that may even afford you some success.    June is Men’s Health Month; a time to promote awareness of men’s health issues including early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys.  But as 53% of Americans say that they receive little to no help in their stress management efforts from their healthcare providers (Harris Interactive), it’s apparent that we need to be able to help ourselves as much as possible.  Truly help yourself by not sweating it.  It won’t change anything if you do and will only make you sick in the long run.


  1. Try to develop a solution
  2. If not successful in your initial attempt, look for alternatives
  3. Seek help; again attempt to find alternative solutions with the aid of others
  4. If all efforts fail and you truly have tried to seek a solution then forget it (Not exactly how she put it but you get the idea)



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