THE NEW FAM­ILY FARM

An Ari­zona gar­dener har­vests home­grown good­ness.

Country Sampler's Prarie Style - - Contents - WRIT­TEN BY Bar­bara Jack­sier. PHO­TOGRAPHED BY John El­lis. STYLED BY Sun­day Hen­drick­son.

An Ari­zona gar­dener har­vests home­grown good­ness.

In­te­rior designer Caro­line Van Slyke does ev­ery­thing with great style. So, it’s not sur­pris­ing that when this self-taught gar­dener wanted to feed her fam­ily of four more health­ful meals, she turned her ½-acre backyard into a pic­tureper­fect farm.

“I never thought I’d end up be­ing the poster girl for an or­ganic, sus­tain­able life­style,” Caro­line says. “One day, I de­cided to stop grow­ing so many roses and start grow­ing more kale. Our farm just sort of evolved from there.”

Although roses still have a place in Caro­line’s Phoenix, Ari­zona, gar­den, she now grows only richly fra­grant heir­loom types that are best for mak­ing rose petal jam. Her lit­tle bit of par­adise is also home to six raised veg­etable beds, a kitchen gar­den over­flow­ing with herbs, 70 stone fruit trees, 17 chick­ens and 10 her­itage ducks for pro­duc­ing eggs, a frisky Scot­tish ter­rier, and two farm cats.

If you think a small city gar­den won’t pro­duce enough to feed a fam­ily, think again. Caro­line not only pro­duces enough for her house­hold, but also sells her ex­tra fruit, eggs, pickles and jams.

“I en­joy that light­bulb mo­ment when vis­i­tors re­al­ize it takes only a hand­ful of seeds to get started eat­ing food from your own gar­den,” Caro­line ex­plains. “My hope is that our fam­ily’s suc­cess in ur­ban farm­ing in­spires oth­ers to give it a try.”

“I NEVER THOUGHT I’D END UP BE­ING THE POSTER

GIRL FOR AN OR­GANIC, SUS­TAIN­ABLE LIFE­STYLE.”

OP­PO­SITE: Sev­eral times each year, Caro­line hosts farm-to-ta­ble or­ganic din­ners. The in­gre­di­ents are all freshly har­vested from her backyard or lo­cally sourced. ABOVE: Fruit trees pro­vide am­ple shade for Boho Farm’s chick­ens and ducks. RIGHT: “Es­palier­ing our 70 peaches, apri­cots and plums trees to grow flat along our farm’s fences is a real space saver,” Caro­line says. “Plus, the tech­nique en­cour­ages the trees to pro­duce more fruit than or­di­nary ones!”

LEFT: The cou­ple’s two chil­dren, Catharine and David, help their mom with farm chores. Col­lect­ing eggs is al­ways a fa­vorite. ABOVE: In or­der to gather a rain­bow as­sort­ment of eggs, Caro­line raises a va­ri­ety of breeds.

BE­LOW: Sal­vaged screens block the hot south­west sun from scorch­ing del­i­cate crops. When placed flat, the screens also pro­tect seedlings from birds and stray balls.

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