Frequently Asked Questions

What Does The Installation Include?

  • Douglas Fir or Cedar frame (12″ deep)
  • Removal of grass and tilled ground if necessary (~6″ deep)
  • Our special nutrient and microbial rich organic soil mix
  • Our grid system to separate garden box into 1’x1′ sections
  • Initial garden design with the crops of your choice
  • Initial planting with the crops of your choice
  • Weekly email reminders through the season with tips, reminders, and beginner tutorials. Emails are customized to when your garden is planted.
  • Access to our online Garden Guide and Garden Tips
  • Continued customer service to answer your garden questions through the season.

Can You Come Out For A Consultation First?

We usually help locate the best spot for a garden on the day of the installation if you have a couple places in mind that might work. We can take a look at your house on Google Earth just to make sure it has ok sunlight. If you want someone to come out beforehand, we charge a $40 pre-consultation fee. We use a Solar Finder and talk through the location a bit more. The biggest thing we are looking for during a consultation is good sunlight (4-9 hours). Other factors we take into account when determining a location are: access to irrigation, proximity to kitchen, visibility from house, slope (we try to avoid extreme slopes of the yard), and proximity to large trees that may have roots coming into the garden.

Do I Need Irrigation?

There are three ways that your garden can be watered:

  1. By Hand
    Watering by hand is a great option if you’re willing and able to do it every day. It might be the best way to water because you are getting outside to interact with your garden every day, and you have the ability see how much water your garden needs day to day. Giving it more attention will make it more successful. The downside is if you go on long vacations or are unsure if you will be consistent at watering. This is a great chore for kids too!
  2. Grass Sprinklers
    The sprinklers watering your bluegrass can also water your garden if your bed is in the middle of the yard. The downside of this is that your grass is most likely only watered 2-3x per week for a long period of time. Your garden should be watered more frequently, with much less water. The days your sprinklers aren’t on, you may have to supplementally hand water. We cannot work with or connect to existing sprinklers, unless it is drip irrigation (see below).
  3. Drip Irrigation (best option)
    Connected to An Existing Drip Line or Running to a Hose–
    Our drip systems run along the surface of the soil, with four emitters placed per square foot. This is a large number of emitters because the soil must stay evenly moist in order for all the seeds to germinate. The drip line runs down the bed and must connect to an existing dripline nearby. We recommend running the drip irrigation about 2-7 minutes per day, depending on the weather and month. The downside of connecting to an existing dripline is that most of your landscaped plants like less frequent water for much higher duration. Therefore, you must change your irrigation time to accommodate your veggie garden (landscaped plants shouldn’t mind the difference in time and duration too much). Unfortunately, we cannot change irrigation timers, so you need to know how to do this through the season.
    Drip Irrigation Connected to Your House’s Spigot—
    When your drip is connected to your house, we put a Y Valve, Timer, and Pressure Reducer onto your house spigot and connect the drip irrigation line to there. Your garden is watered directly from your house faucet. The timers are better because you can more easily control the time and settings. Sometimes we encounter leaky or loud spigots that prevent us from connecting timers to the house, until they are fixed.

How many different crops can I grow in my bed?

We use a square foot gardening method that breaks the bed into square foot sections. You can plant one crop per square foot. Therefore, in a 4×4’ bed, there are 16 squares. In a 4×8’ bed, there are 32 squares. Theoretically you can plant 32 different crops in a 4×8’ bed, but we suggest planting 3-4 squares of each crop to ensure that you have a significant quantity of vegetables to eat. If you love kale for example, we suggest planting at least four squares of kale.

How much food will the garden produce?

It depends on how well the garden produces, and what vegetable are planted. As a rough estimate, a 4’x8′ garden box will supply enough vegetables for about 1-2 adults every day during the growing season. Therefore, a 4’x8′ garden bed can pay itself back within about two years compared to buying organic vegetables at Whole Foods. (Based on Census Bureau data on the vegetable spending of the average U.S. resident.)

How do I weed, water, harvest, and fertilize?

After we install your garden, we will provide you with several ways to learn how to do these simple tasks. Our Online Garden Helper, weekly email reminders, and Garden Packet will all help you understand how to do these things.

What Vegetables Are Easiest to Grow?

Please let us know if you’d like this list, or see our blog post (http://blog.urbanfarmcolorado.com/choosing-crops-and-buying-seeds/).

What about rabbits, dogs, deer, and other pests?

We offer rabbit protection, deer protection, and general pest netting to keep out almost every pest you can imagine. We offer this as an add-on product.

We go on vacation frequently, is that a problem?

No. The gardens pretty much grow themselves. While they occasionally require some weeding, harvesting, pest control, and re-planting, leaving for weeks at a time isn’t an issue with a drip irrigation system in place. Having a neighbor or friend tend to the garden once per week is best.

Is the garden organic?

Yes. Absolutely everything we do is organic—from fertilizing to pest control.

How much time will it take to care for my garden?

On average, customers in 2012 said they spent 3-5 minutes per day in the garden. This is typically about 20 minutes once per week, although we suggest trying to interact with the garden once per day if possible.

I don’t know how to garden, and have a brown thumb.

That is why The Urban Farm Company exists! Most people aren’t master gardeners and don’t know how to grow their own food. Luckily, there is no evidence to suggest that some people are inherently better or worse at growing food. It’s simply a matter of education, patience, and practice. We make it as easy as possible, and guarantee that your garden will grow vegetables in the first year.

How many gardens do I need to feed my family?

On average, one of our 4×8’ gardens will be enough to feed 1-2 adults throughout the growing season. This obviously on what you’ll be growing (pumpkins take up much more space and don’t produce as much as kale, for example). We highly suggest the 4×8’ garden as opposed to the 4×4’ garden because a 4×8’ garden is the same amount of work for twice the amount of food.

How often do I need to water the garden?

The garden needs to be watered about every day during the growing season. In the spring and fall, usually every two or three days with cooler temperatures. We send emails every week throughout the season with updates on how long the irrigation systems should run each day (3-7 minutes depending on the time of year). The drip system will automatically water the garden every day.

Do the gardens use a lot of water?

No. Our gardens use less water than bluegrass. Even though they are often watered every day, they don’t need nearly as much water. Our soil is designed to hold water in the soil.

What happens with my garden after year one?

We will send an email after the first year on how to amend your soil to maintain a strong garden. We also offer a soil amendment service each year where The Urban Farm Company will come to your house to amend and plant your garden after the first season.

When is my garden planted?

Your garden will be planted in the spring, typically in mid-April depending on the weather. However, gardens will do very well even when planted as late as August and September.