Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hey, there's cement under here....

....Of course there is. Because in our world nothing goes as smoothly as we anticipate, we found the foundations of 2 tiny rentals that used to sit on the property where the garden will be going.

Some came up rather easily...some, not so much.

So, I measured where the unmovable cement will remain and reworked the garden plan so that the walkways will coincide with the cement....done.

And the funny thing is, I like the new plan better....yea!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Plan

In case you missed it I talk about the our decision to garden smaller on my personal blog....from now on everything having to do with this yard will be on this blog.

We graphed out our new location and came up with a total of 500 sq. ft. of garden space plus room for 4 fruit trees. This doesn't include walkways and compost bins. For us, for now, this will be plenty. In fact, even with it being considerably smaller in scope than our original 1/2 acre still seems HUGE!

My drawing isn't so neat and I'm sure there will be changes along the way...but this is a rough sketch of how we will set things out. We've made walkways (decomposed granite) to get to the back alley and side yard, and we've given ourselves plenty of space between planting beds (each square is 2ft.). We're not sure how much we'll get planted this summer but the plan is to get all of it tilled and maybe a third of it amended and planted. We can work all summer on the pathways and building compost bins as well as getting more garden space ready to plant. Hopefully, by next fall we'll have most of it productive. We'd like to do raised beds, but again that will depend on finding the wood. If this is to be beneficial to us, it needs to be done as cheaply as possible so we may just hill up the beds and build the boxes as we find wood.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Change of Plans?

Here's the much as we are excited about our half-acre...we're also feeling quite overwhelmed by the prospect of 'starting over'. It's a huge undertaking and we are stepping back for a few weeks or so to make sure we are up to the task.

We are by no means giving up our plan to become self-sustaining, just not sure this is the way to go about. We've been mulling over some ideas that would be smaller in scale and a bit closer to home (walking distance). We have a neighbor whose entire back yard is barren. She loves my garden but just doesn't have the time or the inclination to do much beyond a few flowers in her front bed. We may talk to her about the sharecropping idea....use of her yard for fresh veggies all year long. It would mean walking across the street rather than driving or biking the mile and a half to Anns. The yard is fenced, so we would only have to fence a portion of it to keep out the dog. She and I get along great....and I know she would appreciate fresh veggies....she loves getting salsa and tomatoes from us every summer.

Lots to think about....lots to pray about...stay tuned.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

God's Little (half) Acre

We have staked our claim and started a compost pile....yippee yahoo!  We went out to Ann's property about 2 weeks ago to measure out and position the 1/2 acre she is letting us cultivate for our garden/sharecropping project.

  It is so nice that she is excited about it too, actually had us move the garden closer to her house than we had originally planned.  And we are getting a bit more than 1/2 an acre....the garden will be 150x180ft. or 27,ooo sq. ft. (22,000 is half an acre).   Wow... that seems like a lot. 

Here is Steve staking the back left corner of the garden.... take a look at the panels on the red barn...
....we SO have solar envy :)

The dirt has not supported life for several years but was a plum orchard originally.  It will take a bit of amending and probably a few years to get the enriched soil we want. 

This is the front left corner, nearest the house, where the entry gate will eventually be.  Ann's property  extends to the trees, which are hers....she left them to provide a privacy barrier between her property and the neighbors.

Same corner looking towards house.  This house was originally in town and was going to be destroyed....Ann bought it and had it moved a mile and a half out to her property.

The official beginning of our farm project...aka Suburban Sharecroppers came this last week when we emptied all our leaves from the house to begin the process of composting.  Most probably we will be using this compost for the fall '09 garden....we don't think it will be ready by spring (especially since we won't be turning it).

The property is really beautiful, nice view of the Sierras and farmland on all sides. You can see the orange grove behind the truck Steve is emptying (which is for sale by the way :)