By Cindy Naas
I began reading the Shibaguyz blog after I began writing here on UGC, and I have to say, it is one of the few blogs I visit almost daily in the hopes of finding a new post.
These two men, Jason and Shannon, lead an interesting life.
They also are raising some of the cutest dogs around, two shiba inu boys. Hence, the Shibaguyz.
Recently, they took time from their busy gardening schedule to let me ask them a few questions. I think they have a lot of good ideas for all of us urban gardeners.
Jason and Shannon both grew up around farms. One was raised on a farm, the other had a large vegetable garden tended by his mother. So, after they met, they both knew they wanted to find a little place to live where they could grow some flowers and maybe some herbs.
One day, Shannon heard Barbara Kingsolver being interviewed on NPR. The topic was her book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”, and it was a watershed moment for him. For both, actually, as it was this book which put them on the journey to become urban farmers.
The pair garden on a small patio-sized plot, approx 10′ by 12′. This is a very small space- smaller than my kitchen- yet during the summer, they estimate they produced roughly 60 % of their food. Their estimate for their yearly output is something like 20% of their food grown in this tiny space! Their blog details the adventures of too many tomatoes amongst other things, and the pictures are incredible. One of their tomato plants appears to have grown over 6 feet tall- that is a lot of tomatoes. Go here for a great entry entirely of pictures of this stunning garden:
Their Goals and Ideas
As with most of us, once they began growing a tomato plant, one turned into two which turned into half a dozen, and then they were hooked. They now trellis plants, grow plants in pots, in the soil, and for next summer’s project, they are taking over the neighbor’s yard! Vegetable gardening can be very addictive.
The Shibaguyz also buy the rest of their food from their local farmers’ market. They are both firmly committed to the 100 mile diet, something I find quite interesting. Living in the Seattle area makes this a bit easier for them, but according to both, they are getting just a bit tired of kale right now. Still, it’s a good idea and they are ardent supporters of it.
For the first time, they are trying 4 season, or winter, gardening. They built a system of cloches which are plastic row covers. They were growing broccoli, lettuces and all manner of greens. Unfortunately, the unusually heavy snows that hit the Seattle area earlier this winter collapsed the cloches, damaging or killing many of their plants. Plans are underway to convert to an actual cold frame for next winter’s crops. Stay tuned- I’m sure they’ll be involved in all manner of interesting projects by then!
Predictably, their long-term plans involve moving onto a small farm. They want to raise all of their own food (except for coffee, Jason pointed out) and raise some to sell, too. Since they have become very close with the vendors at their farmers’ market, I think there will be lots of good advice and good wishes waiting for them when they finally make the jump. I can hardly wait to read about it!
What’s on Their Bookshelf