The other day I was standing behind the bar and my venerable overlord, Ryan, came up to me and we had a conversation something like this…
Ryan: “Hey I just ordered seeds for an heirloom variety of watermelon that grows to 200 pounds and I’m going to plant them in the alley”
Me: “They’re gonna grow with two flat sides!” (Our alley is about 5 feet wide)
Ryan: “Yeah, I’m just gonna throw them out there and see what happens. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone asked, ‘How many watermelons did you use in that batch of beer?’, and we said ‘Four.’?”
Naturally hilarity ensued, but this type of conversation is the start of something we’ve talked about for a long time: Finally establishing the farmhouse half of our Urban Farmhouse identity.
In the alley we have about 325 square feet to play with that, as I mentioned, is about 5 feet wide. This will be plenty of space to start with for watermelon, but our planting ambitions don’t stop there. We already have in house everything we need to start cilantro, sage, and a variety of other herbs that could find their way into a beer, whether during the fermentation process or in a firkin or special limited release. So we’ll need to create some more planting space, which is still something we’re working on.
From here, there are some questions that need to be answered. How can we make this a sustainable practice? How can we take advantage of our surroundings, despite their limitations, to produce useable product for our brewery with the smallest footprint possible? What the fuck are we going to do with a 200 pound watermelon?
We won’t really know most of the answers until we get to work, but would love to hear from you folks about your experiences in gardening and growing great product in less than ideal conditions. Drop us a line here or via email at Dave@Collectivebrew.com