Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Phase 1: It's Begun!

As part of my new Custom Backyard Farm planning service, I'm enjoying watching a project go from conception to completion. And it brings great joy to know that this particular project is going to help a dear senior who attended my "Create a Farm in Your Backyard" class be able to have access to the joys of gardening for many, many years to come. So here's what we started with:
It's a beautiful yard with well generous, well cared-for soil and great diversity of annual and perennial plant species. My client has worked hard in her yard for decades, and she knows a thing or two about gardening! But we needed to organize the space a bit more to encourage accessibility and to incorporate some permaculture design elements. Here's the plan I drew up for her:
After going over the solar survey, site survey, and my report including initial observations, potential obstacles, permaculture design principles, and recommended next steps, she agreed that we should get started! So here was step one:
We hated to take down this dogwood tree, but its location on the southwest corner of the site was causing a shading problem over our target area. It's all good, because NONE of this tree was wasted (I'll show you how we did that) and many more trees will be planted in better locations to take its place. Here's what we did to "save" the tree:
Part one of the plan was to build cinderblock raised beds. After leveling the blocks and laying the frame, I dug deep into the bed and threw the parts of the tree in. This is a classic hugelkultur-type technique in which nothing goes to waste. I followed this procedure two more times, filling each box with compost. The edges of the cinderblocks have holes that I filled with dirt and compost that she can use for smaller fruits and vegetables like strawberries, bunching onions, leaf lettuce, and such. Here's the finished product:
Next step: dig out the paths to make water-retaining swales, line with newspaper, and fill with wood chips. Then build up the future perennial vegetable area and the food forest area. More pics to come when that phase is done!

Do you want a farm in your backyard but don't know where to begin? I can help! Go to the "Custom Backyard Farm Plans" page for more info and contact me when you're ready for a consultation.

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