While I have the room to grow most of my own food since it is just 2 people on 2.5 acres I don't have the energy
for it. We are currently only using about a 1/3 of a acre to produce about 1/3 to a half of our fruit and veggie consumption. Since my husband is still working full time and I am partially disabled we can't quickly increase our production. Once you start growing a good chunk of your food you find processing and preserving all that food takes a huge amount of time on top of gardening
and maintenance. We do add another garden bed
and or project
to the homestead every year but we have a long way to go till we are producing most of our own food.
I am hoping the plan for the oak trees is for the north side of the property. I have too many friends with low producing gardens due to shady oaks and maple trees. I planted American Hazelnuts because they are deer
resistant shrubs and produce in 5 to 7 years. They are mixed with dwarf or semi dwarf fruit trees and other fruiting shrubs. I did this because they are near the house and driveway. I don't plant tall stuff near the house, power lines, or driveway. I didn't want to worry about something getting tall enough to damage the house if it came down in a storm 30 to 40 years from now when I am a little old lady. Shrubs are ideal for me for ease of maintenance and harvesting. I find these work really well in my zone 1 and 2 areas. Paw Paws could be planted on the shady side of the house but not too close to the foundation since they are shorter trees at full height. There are other nut and fruit trees that do not grow 100 feet tall that may be a better fit for your space.
My front yard garden
is about a 1/4 acre and we are slowly removing lawn and adding more edibles. I would start with the things you know you will eat. I know that isn't as cool as a bunch of hard to find native
stuff but it sucks to out a lot of energy and space into something to later find out you don't like or can't eat.
Can you legally raise chickens
or rabbits? I don't like harvesting my own meat so we just have laying hens. I also can source most of my meat from local
farms that I love how they raise and treat their animals and I happily support them.
After 5 years many of the fruits trees are starting to produce. The fruit shrubs have been the best bang for our buck so far. The blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, and sour cherries have been amazing. Autumn Olive is aggressive and invasive so we hack it down in the fall and make ketchup from the berries. I love the black currents, pears and peaches we harvested for the first time this year. Asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb are also great perennials that we love. Apples have been a buggy nightmare so we are moving one of them and replanting it in the chicken run
. We will put a dwarf peach tree or a dwarf mulberry in it's place. All of these perennials are mixed with herbs and flowers so it makes for good looking landscaping that produces food. More importantly is food we eat and tends to be expensive to buy organic or better grown. Cooking herbs are an easy one to grow and they do not take up a lot of room.
Veggies are mostly annuals at this point due to my inability to properly digest many great perennial foods that will survive a NH winter. I am grateful that I do garden and can grow a wide variety of foods I can eat that I can't regularly find in the stores here. I am glad these are annuals since I had to dramatically change the way I eat 2 years ago for health reasons. I have winter squashes, potatoes, canned sauces and condiments, dried herbs and a freezer full of home grown fruits and veggies. It takes up a lot of space and if we do get to the point we are producing most of our food we may add a chill bot room in the basement.
I love cattle
panels and T posts for trellises. The 16 foot long ones make great arches and the 8 foot ones are great for tomatoes
and cucumbers. We have high winds here and the cattle panels are the only thing that hasn't fallen in a storm. I will plant greens in the under story of the trellised crops to get more out of my space.
is worth it. We currently grow wine cap and shiitake mushrooms and at some point I may add oyster mushrooms.
One thing we have done is chose plants and varieties so we would could have a smaller harvest over a longer period of time. This way we currently have some sort of fresh fruit ripe from the middle of June to early October. I love having grapes for over a month instead of just 2 weeks because we have 3 vines that produce at different times. Ever bearing strawberries give us strawberries from spring to fall. We need to add some fall raspberries to stretch that season. I try and plant the early season types closest to the house so I know when I need to start watching the other plants. It saves time and energy.
Here is a link to images of my garden.