Productive Land: The Beginning, January

This will be an occasional series about the ongoing attempt to turn the backyard at the new house into a small decorative garden surrounded by an L-shape of productive land. This post is to give an idea of the general aims, since January was not a great month for making actual progress, though there is a photo of a mammoth bamboo harvest…

The plan is to turn our modest and mostly concrete garden – about 30′ by 20′ – into something useful; a place to relax in summer, of course, but also somewhere that will work for us. Land is incredibly expensive under our economic model, so on purely rational grounds we should be trying to get more out of it. But good organic food is pricey too, so there is a shopping saving-and-quality argument too. More generally, I think (for a variety of reasons) that being able to de-outsource food production to some extent is sensible. Though I’ve been putting vegetable seeds in trays and getting fruit trees lined up in pots for planting, the space itself needs to be prepared.

In the beginning there was a mess

The photo above shows the garden about a week ago. The bath and picnic table won’t be there long, I imagine. There had been a thick wall of bamboo along the back, which was designated for the chop. It is not particularly useful and takes up a lot of growing space so down it came, but not without an almighty struggle – it cost us a fork and a pickaxe handle. Amazingly, the roots are only ever 3-4 inches underground, but they are dense and hold on incredibly tight. Still, we’re not just wantonly destroying greenery, as that would be bad. Instead we’ve reaped a bumper harvest of bamboo canes which will help prop up beans, peas, young climbers – all sorts of things, really.

Part of the bamboo cane harvest

Now comes the hard part. In the next month we should (hopefully!) have removed the concrete from the south end of the plot, laid out the raised vegetable beds and planted the fruit and nut trees. Following that comes the lawn and the wildflower garden, and then, possibly, some chickens. More on all that later.

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 10:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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