When we moved into our current home in 2013, the garden/yard had essentially been used as a pet toilet and ashtray by the previous owner. Yeah, lovely. So some regeneration needed to happen, in a big way! See most recent 2018 update here.
It was almost devoid of life, dead grass, infested with ants, not very inspiring.
I have been working on improving the soil, collecting rainwater, growing food and increasing biodiversity for the past three years.
Most recent pictures are in the garden blog pull-down menu.
I cleared out a LOT of “landscape”plastic, cedar shake, weeds, poop, and trash.
Not sure those trees had EVER been cleared beneath. Bit of a fire hazard in the dry Okanagan, I’d say!
After doing this I found a black widow spider in the front yard, so glad I didn’t get a nasty bite in the process.
Coming from the city, I never had to deal with any dangerous creatures (unless walking on Granville Street around midnight on a Friday or Saturday 😉
In permaculture, we are encouraged to use whatever we can find on the property as an asset.
There is Japanese Knotweed growing on one side of the house and I was able to use that for some trellises for my peas in the spring as well as building a bean teepee (beside cherry tree) in order to fix some nitrogen in the very depleted soil. This is an invasive plant, I have since learned, so I will work to dig it out over time.
Soil, fertilizer, mulch and cedar wood for raised beds were where most of the investment went.
The piles of dirt that my father not-so-affectionately calls my “buried bodies” are called HUGELKULTUR or “Mound culture” beds. These are used to build soil and they break down and get better in the 2nd or 3rd year.
I did this for the first 2 years, then decided I had to go higher with the raised beds due to a neck injury.
They look a lot better when they grow in and painting the fence really helped to spruce it up, not to mention making it stronger and longer-lasting.
I have now grown all sorts of vegetables and fruits for the first time! This has brought me and my family a lot of joy, and lower grocery bills.
I tried to grow a bunch of thing that a) I hadn’t ever grown before B) were free c ) did something beneficial to my terrible soil.
There are detailed progress reports in the pull-down menu on the different projects completed 2013-2016
Here are a bunch of macro shots from plants around the house started from seed from the seed swap, or gleaned/traded/shared by friends and family.
Hopi Blue Corn
Growing your own food is one of the smartest things you can do in these changing environmental times. Food and water security will be defining issues of the next generation, so I encourage everyone to get started as soon as you can.