Why mow where you can grow? The thought has occurred to me many times that I need to better utilize my plot of land. As I’ve mentioned previously, we have a large yard. Yet, even blessed with a homestead on nearly an acre of suburbia, our growing space is limited. Much to my consternation, we simply have too much shade. The bevy of mature trees on and around our property see to it that photosynthesis is challenged. There are small islands of opportunity, especially in the front. However, “trophy lawn” culture rules the day more often than not. The city councils it usually elects tends to frown on anyone who would dare besmirch the neighborhood by growing food in the front lawn. I can understand that to some degree. Still…. you know… liberty, self sufficiency, and pursuit of happiness verses property taxes and resale values.. your rights, my rights, and all that. Try and get along.
With this in mind, I determined last year to establish a new gardening lot on the back end of our property. The amount of sun it receives is not optimal, but should be enough to grow with. My primary garden is also partially shaded throughout most of the day. Yields are respectable enough from it. So, I’m confident that this new garden will also be sufficiently productive. It has room to expand, and very possibly will.
It began last year. But as so often happens, a project started is abandoned for a multitude of reasons. Last year, the main issue was fencing. At the beginning, I didn’t even bother clearing the ground. After determining a spot, I sowed some kale along with Swiss Chard, then transplanted some extra Roma tomato seedlings. It was surrounded by a hastily erected and thoroughly inept fence. I knew better, but I allowed my family responsibilities and priority list to win the day. So that’s the way the fencing remained. Once the foliage kicked in, it didn’t take long for the local whitetails to invite themselves to the buffet. That’s what they do. Once the fence was breached, I gave up the ground, determined to fight another day.
That day arrived near the end of May of this year after a late and very wet spring. It was the subject of this companion blog post Adding Garden Space In A Grid Down Life.
Since that was published, progress on the new garden space has been slow and steady. The weather patterns this year have not been favorable, so I’m much further behind than I should be. As you can see, the space was smothered out to begin with. The tarps, newspapers, shingles, old paneling all worked well. Some of the green posts were left over from last year, still standing where they were when summer turned to fall, and fall turned to winter. In case you need reminding, this was all done with the theme of this blog at the forefront: grid down. This endeavor is practical emergency preparedness. How I am approaching it is how I suspect I would approach it if indeed the nation’s power supply was compromised.
Along with choking off the grass and weeds, a better fence was mandatory. I decided to use some of the dead limbs on our property. The agrarians of the 1800’s weren’t running off to the hardware store for T-posts. They used the trees. I’m using both.
I’m also using the 7′ tall plastic deer fence and chicken wire that I had already purchased a few years ago. They could both be replaced by brush if need be. All in all, it’s a project in the works, and I have low expectations on yield for this year. The soil quality will remain “as is” until I can start amending it with leaves, compost and the like. This yard was farmland decades ago, and my initial garden produced a respectable first year yield. As such, I suspect the nutrient values in the soil should be rich enough to begin with.
Currently, I have radishes, roma tomato transplants, and lettuce beginning to pop among some squash and pole beans. My low bar hope is to get half a dozen butternuts this year, some zucchini and green beans. It’s late. Almost July already. But I think it will produce at least some small amount. As always, a lot depends on the weather. Everybody knows its been a crazy ride this year so far. Regardless, God is in control. It’s entirely up to him whether we are able to grow food or not. How we choose to grow that food, how we steward the land that he gave us… is up to us.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoy this content, please support the blog by sharing, liking, commenting to help make it more visible to others who may share interests with emergency preparedness and DIY projects. You can follow the blog to receive an email when new posts are published too. Related content is available on the Growing From Scratch Youtube channel. And of course, there is the Facebook Group.