Let me go back a little earlier than a year ago. I want to start with a few photos I took in September 2009, a month before we purchased the house. The yard was nice....quiet, private, and ordinary. It was the type of yard you'd expect to find in my neighborhood.
|September 2009 at .09 Acres.|
Despite the numerous drawbacks, the property offered many things I was looking for in a yard. Full sun exposure for 8-10 hours per day. A manageable size. Privacy fencing that offered seclusion and also created a slightly warmer micro-climate. And a fairly open layout that I could configure any way I wanted. Maybe this was the right place!
We eventually purchased the house but I didn't dive into the yard until we had spent a few months working on some DIY renovations inside. I finally got out into the yard in early spring and pruned or removed many overgrown shrubs, bushes, and trees. I ripped out the creeping groundcover, and even moved the fence closer to the property line to reclaim some additional footage (it all counts in a small yard!) By that point it was April, 2010 and I was ready build some raised beds and plant some edibles.
|April 2010 at .09 Acres.|
I worked when I could. An evening here, weekends there, official holidays, work holidays. I even dragged myself outside when I was sick to pull a weed or water a new plant. It borders on obsession at this point.
Here we are one year after I built the first raised beds. What does the place look like now? To be quite honest, it looks a bit bare. But I intentionally provided sufficient space between the fruit trees to allow them ample room to grow and thrive in the coming years. And hopefully they will. Now the peach tree and berries are growing like crazy, the young fig trees are starting to leaf out, and I'm preparing to plant new veggies in the raised beds. Within a few weeks the whole yard will be alive.
|April 2011 at .09 Acres.|
The original 5 raised beds have been joined together. I added the rough overall dimensions of these long beds to give an idea of how much produce I can grow. I opted for raised beds because the ground is very low and drains slowly after a good rain. I also smothered the grass and weeds with layers of cardboard and mulch. I'm not sure how effective that will be over the long haul. Only time will tell.
I didn't really know what creating an edible landscape would take in terms of time, labor, and expense, but I went for it. By no means am I done, but I've accomplished quite a bit. I know the yard will continue to change and evolve. I'll have more successes and setbacks, more elation and deflation (is that a word?), and that's what makes it exciting. Equally exciting is the pride and enjoyment of harvesting a basket of ripe heirloom tomatoes, watching figs ripen in the sun, and plucking sweet raspberries and blackberries off the trellis. Sure beats mowing the lawn, doesn't it?!