A little history...
- We purchased our home and moved in with the intention of staying here for 5 years. That was in 2007 and we're still here & happy with no immediate plans to move. This isn't our "forever home", but it works nicely until we find the piece of property we want to retire on.
- Our house sits on 1/8 acre (5, 445 square feet).
- Our house is a two story, is about 1600 square feet and was built in the early 1980s.
- Beyond the gravel, weed cloth juniper trees and bushes that were put in when the house was built, there had never been anything grown in the ground on this property. The soil was dead.
Here are a couple of posts about our journey from the grey, rock filled, dead earth world to the green, living world we are creating...
- Brought in a ton of good, nutrient rich soil (it really could be an actual ton...I've never done the math)
- Planted 5 fruit trees (2 apple, 1 pear & 1 cherry that are each spliced and hold 4 different varieties of their respective fruits and 1 regular ol' dwarf apricot)
- Created 165 square feet of raised bed space for fruit and vegetable growing (105 + 50 + 10ish)
- Created approximately 260 square feet of ground level bed space for fruit and vegetable growing
- Created several more areas for wild flowers, sunflowers and other random flowers
- Established a mini strawberry and rhubarb patch
- Planted some Ivy, Honey Suckle, Hostas, random flowering bulbs and a couple of rose bushes
- Built a chicken coop and then a Chicken Mansion and a run for the ladies (fresh eggs ROCK!)
- Created a dog run (so the "puppies" don't eat all our lovely veggies...or the chickens)
- Built a compost bed out of straw bales
- Put in 3 Rain Barrels (with a total capacity of 175 gallons)
- Built a Top Bar bee hive for our wonderful bees
- Planted a patch of drought tolerant grass
- Mulched all the paths in the front yard
- Put in a small fire pit (S'mores are necessary to life!)
- Built a grow light stand for the laundry room so we can start (almost) everything from seed each year
- Built a small herb garden
- Installed drip irrigation to all ground level and raised beds
Here is a graphic representation of what our property looks like now...
And here is the view from our rooftop in June of 2012 that will give you a photographic idea of how small our space really is (and how big that "enormous tree" really is).
What else is there left to do? You know, in an ideal world with unlimited resources, time and energy?
- Install a small green house or build a cold frame
- Rid the backyard of most (if not all) of those nasty rocks while creating a walk-able, mulched path (have you ever walked barefoot on gravel? It's not fun.)
- Practice crop rotation
- Intensify companion planting
- Become successful at succession planting
At this point we have limited space to do much more without sacrificing actual outdoor living space. We love growing as much of our food as possible but, believe it or not, we also like having space to simply sit in and hang out with friends (imagine that?!).
One day we'll have lots of space, but for now, we're enjoying the space we're in :-)