We're heading down home… to your farms! Urban, suburban, or rural — whatever you're growing and doing, we want to see it.
Welcome to the Down Home Farm Tours series. To see all the farms and homesteads featured in this series, click here.
Welcome, Old World Garden Farms!
Today, I'm so pleased to share Old World Garden Farms. Jim and Mary have three acres in the middle of Ohio. They carved out a beautiful space from many unlikely and salvaged materials. You can visit their website here and their blog here. The blog contains project tutorials and lots of beautiful pictures — do visit!
What is your name and the names of your family members?
We're Jim and Mary, and we have four teenage children.
What is the name of your farm/homestead?
“The Farm” Old World Garden Farms
How long have you been farming/homesteading?
Share a brief description of your farm/homestead.
We have a little three acre plot of land in the middle of Ohio. “The Farm” was little more than an overgrown thicket of small trees, thick brush, and a whole lot of poison ivy. After a long weekend of clearing the land with a small rented walk behind brush cutter, and a few painful weeks of dealing with poison ivy for Mary…we had carved out a little space to start our dream.
What are you raising, growing, and doing?
As we slowly work on our dream, we are trying to incorporate simplicity and responsibility into every facet of “The Farm”. We grow most of our own vegetables in a 40′ x 40′ plot (it yielded us over 2000 pounds of vegetables last year). Our nine happy chickens have grown up to supply our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers with fresh eggs every day — not to mention they give us great compost for the garden. This past summer we canned over 200 jars of our own tomato juice, pizza and pasta sauce, salsa, peppers and more. We hope this is just the beginning!
How did you get into farming/homesteading?
With four kids in their teens heavily involved in extra-curricular activities and with each of us juggling our own professional career, we wanted to build a place to be able to start to simplify our life — and enjoy our love of the outdoors and all it has to offer.
Any future plans?
As we say on our blog: We’re far from “hippies”… we don’t aspire to live off the “grid” and in spite of our children and friends constant ribbing, we don’t wish to make our clothes from hemp. We’re pretty regular people, we still go out to dinner now and then, we love to travel, but we love our farm most!
We are two individuals committed to a more simple life, who want to be responsible for a majority of the food we eat, and conserve the resources we consume. We both came from great families who gardened, and both have fond childhood memories of working alongside our parents in the garden and kitchen. We remember homegrown meals, and great winter dishes made from the food we grew and canned in the summer. We both loved it, and strive to create a household that embraces those values responsibly. Simply put — to do things the best way possible for us and the land.
Our goal is to re-use existing structures and products and utilize new only when necessary — and to do so in a way that adds lasting beauty to the property. Too often the image of reuse and recycle conjures up thoughts of cardboard shanties and soda pop structures in what can only be called a junk yard. That’s a stereotype we hope to break with Old World Garden Farms.
Our chicken coop was built almost entirely of used shipping crates we obtained for free. Same goes for our composting bins. Our “new” barn was built over the course of a summer by reclaiming two turn of the century barns (one of which was my dad’s) and turning them into our new Old World Garden Barn. Both barns came only for the price of simply tearing them down. We have also built our barn table and many other things for the farm from second hand materials.
Our farm is and will always be a work in progress — and always with an eye towards good stewardship of the land and its resources. This spring we planted a small scale apple orchard and grape vineyard on the hillside and installed a rain collection system from the barn roof for watering the garden throughout the growing season. Longer term goals include the use of solar technologies to help power our barn, coop and hopefully someday, some of our house.
Let's Tour “The Farm”!
(Wardee: In the captions below, you're hearing from Jim and Mary, as they tell what is in each picture. Don't forget to visit their blog for lots more!)
The barn; reclaimed from two turn of the century barns.
Our barn patio built from reclaimed brick. (Wardee: That is gorgeous!)
View from the upper pergola.
Our rain water system.
Building our coop.
Compost bin: stained, landscaped, and finished! Made entirely from pallets.(Wardee: I've never seen such a beautiful compost bin. Who would've thought?)
The power of compost!
Cold pack green beans.
Us: Jim and Mary.
(Back to Wardee) Jim and Mary, thank you for sharing with us!
Please give Jim and Mary a warm welcome in the comments! Be sure to visit their blog, too.
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