Winter is a challenge on an Urban Farm, no doubt. It’s a bit of a challenge on multiple fronts;

  • protecting built infrastructure, planters, rain barrels, and fountains from water and freeze damage
  • protecting greenhouses, hoses, waterers, and outbuildings from UV radiation
  • protecting animals in warrens and coops from the wind and cold,
  • resetting garden and plant bed areas
  • and bringing your husband’s cold-sensitive plants into the house from the cold.

It sounds like a lot and it really is. But when spring comes and the system starts humming along again it is such a relief. The trick to maintaining and sustaining an urban garden is to understand the real damage that water freeze thaw cycles inflict on various materials and structures, and how powerful and relentless UV radiation can be on all materials. This is not a suburban patio; this is an enclosed sustainable series of inter-related ecosystems. When one fails it can be catastrophic. Take the time to respect physics, energy, biology, and most of all the science and economics of entropy. Over the next few blogs I will break this out as a series of best practices that allow you to maximize efficiency and yield and minimize replacing equipment. It is not an exaggeration to say I have replaced every system at Mezzacello at least once. A little experience and education will literally save you thousands of dollars.

Resetting the aquatic ecosystem. Protecting fish from predators, managing duck access and keeping leaves out. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello
A line of site detail of weatherproofing fountains, planters, stanchions, and benches against the harsh, wet, gritty, salt and pollution tinged city winter weather. Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

In the next coming week I will break down my strategies and best practices around each ecosystem at Mezzacello. If you aren’t familiar with the layout, take a tour here. Cheers! Also feel free to share your strategies. I am always open to to learning new things. I’d be a fool to pass on data and experience!

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