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Urban concrete driveway evolution. Lot's of pictures.

 
Posts: 341
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Not sure if this is the right spot to put this, but it seems like it could work here.

So, this is just an evolution of "spots" along a long concrete driveway that used to be of little use to me.

I got into growing my own food around 2015 or so, and it has progressed to the point where I've gone a bit crazy trying to pack as much as possible along this east to west facing driveway (best spot in my yard to grow on).

Not permie in most regards, but 100% organic, utilizing some permaculture ideas along the way.  Zero pesticides, and zero herbicides the last two years (only organic prior to that).  I do fertilize with organic ferts.  

Not including the fruit trees to the south of the planter that parallels the drive, there's 293 sq. ft. of raised beds (69' of which are in the parallel 12" deep planter, 224' in the 30" tall raised beds that run perpendicular to the drive), and then another about 240 sq. ft. of good planting area (albeit a little shaded from the tall planters) in between the steel fence, and raised beds.
A salt build up in my soil caused a bunch of the fruit and nut trees to die the last two years :(  but I'm slowly trying to plant more to see how they do.

Just posting because it shows how much can be packed into an otherwise useless area, and more because I'm pretty proud of how it's all turned out!  Can't wait to get it all planted out this spring!





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2013. Mostly just kept junk on the side of the house. No fence built, nothing planted anywhere.
2013. Mostly just kept junk on the side of the house. No fence built, nothing planted anywhere.
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2016. Mostly junk area still, although the fence got built, and I started a small garden in the small space created.
2016. Mostly junk area still, although the fence got built, and I started a small garden in the small space created.
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The little garden area.
The little garden area.
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Cleaning the junk up. Two ash trees, and a bunch of oleander bushes existing.
Cleaning the junk up. Two ash trees, and a bunch of oleander bushes existing.
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Ash and oleander removed, and 16 fruit and nut trees planted fall of 2016.
Ash and oleander removed, and 16 fruit and nut trees planted fall of 2016.
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Another view of the planted fruit and nut trees.
Another view of the planted fruit and nut trees.
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Trellis built to espalier the fruit trees to.
Trellis built to espalier the fruit trees to.
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Built a 12 tall raised bed from reclaimed metal roofing panels. Early 2017?
Built a 12 tall raised bed from reclaimed metal roofing panels. Early 2017?
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Just a cool picture of a not so unusual sunrise.
Just a cool picture of a not so unusual sunrise.
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Made a hugel style sunken bed around 2018. In between the house and driveway.
Made a hugel style sunken bed around 2018. In between the house and driveway.
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Some snow.
Some snow.
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Just finished filling the last of the new raised beds last night, and stood on a ladder to get this picture.
Just finished filling the last of the new raised beds last night, and stood on a ladder to get this picture.
 
pollinator
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I love the transformation of your driveway! It is such a joy to see what you can do when you have the determination to get less consumer and more producer.

Those raised beds and the other beds, plus all the trees, promise some high yields.

It was a very good decision to take this step. (BTW (my garden is about the size of your driveway so I know that it is not a tiny spot and can give a good yield with good planning).
 
gardener
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Outstanding!  YES, that is permaculture.
- It's integrated design
- Multi-species biodiversity
- Energy and water capture systems
- Multiple Elements
- Multiple Functions
- Using biological resources
- Energy efficient planning

Everything about that is permaculture.  I'd love to know how many calories you are pulling off of that space every year.  I would expect that once your trees are mature, it will be hundreds of thousands of organic, nutrient dense calories.  

And every dollar you don't spend at the store is a dollar in your pocket -- untaxed.

Those pictures made my day.
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 341
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Anita Martini wrote:I love the transformation of your driveway! It is such a joy to see what you can do when you have the determination to get less consumer and more producer.

Those raised beds and the other beds, plus all the trees, promise some high yields.

It was a very good decision to take this step. (BTW (my garden is about the size of your driveway so I know that it is not a tiny spot and can give a good yield with good planning).





Thanks Anita!  Yeah, I'm really hoping to produce a lot of food out of the driveway this year.  I'd like to supplement a good portion of my 10 chicken's diet with greens grown from the beds, and am considering adding meat rabbits to the yard if I can grow a bunch of their food too.  The rabbits are a ways off, if ever.  Of course food for me too!  and the bugs, the bugs get a lot too, but it's okay nature has compelled me to build this.  We all win.

Yes the driveway is pretty long.  From the shed door to the very last bed is almost 70' long, and I think from the steel gate to the concrete wall is about 20' so yes it's a total of 1,400 sq. ft. I'm working with.  (not to mention the fruit trees go beyond the shed)  That's great to hear you're getting good yields from a similar size.  

Thanks again, Anita!  Appreciate the positive words!  Have a great season with large yields, and good times outside!
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 341
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Marco Banks wrote:Outstanding!  YES, that is permaculture.
- It's integrated design
- Multi-species biodiversity
- Energy and water capture systems
- Multiple Elements
- Multiple Functions
- Using biological resources
- Energy efficient planning

Everything about that is permaculture.  I'd love to know how many calories you are pulling off of that space every year.  I would expect that once your trees are mature, it will be hundreds of thousands of organic, nutrient dense calories.  

And every dollar you don't spend at the store is a dollar in your pocket -- untaxed.

Those pictures made my day.




Marco!  Reading that just made my morning!  Big smile on my face right now.  :)
Thanks for pointing out the things I had no idea I was doing!  lol  That's just awesome.  Some stuff might actually be sinking in that I read on here!  Thanks you guys!

The funny thing is is there was never a plan to any of it.  It just kind of happened.  

I didn't mention that more than 50% of the compost in the beds was made on site.  I sifted broken down wood chips from around the yard that had fungal strands in them, and also used wood chip compost from the chickens deep litter bedding that had a lot of their manure in it.   I just now did the math actually, and with each bed being filled about 9" high with compost (on top of wood chips/pallets as bottom filler) that would be about 6.2 yards needed to fill them.  I brought in two yards of bulk turkey manure, and a bunch of misc. bagged composts that for sure was less than another yard.  So, figure three yards of "bought" compost.  That still puts me at 3.2 yards produced 100% on site!  That makes me really happy, and I'm really hopeful that I never have to buy bagged compost again.  This system will hopefully be a closed loop one, with the exception of bringing in more wood chips as bedding (which are basically free, but I do "tip" the driver).  I expect these beds to drop in level quite a bit over the season, but so far they're not showing much signs of sinking.  Here's the long picture heavy thread of how I filled them.  Which I need to update.  https://permies.com/t/134151/filling-raised-beds

I'd love to put a 55 gallon drum between each bed and daisy chain them into the roof gutters for a lot of water storage and easy watering just dunking a pot right into each bed as I go along.  I'll have to install drip too.  Too hot and dry here not to have it.

I'm also planning on planting a bunch of fig trees (and maybe even trying some paw-paw in between the gate and the beds.)  I kind of think it'll be a micro climate that'll protect them from the harsher weather?  The plan would to be to keep them pruned like bushes.  Also I'm having this vision.....to enclose the hugel bed (which is a very small not "real" hugel bed that's just made in the style of one) and planting citrus and maybe an avocado in it keeping them tight against the south wall of the house.  It'd be easy to frame out a little sunroom/greenhouse with a minimal amount of material for the colder months here, and then completely remove the covering when it gets warm out....but I'm just dreaming out loud.  Not sure that'll ever happen.

I'll update this post of how it went.  I struggle getting a lot of things through to fruition still, it gets really hot really quick here.  Hopefully this'll be the year!

Thanks again for pointing it out!  Very encouraging words!

Josh





 
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Hey Joshua;   Great job ! Quite the transformation.  
What I'm curious about, is where did you build your shop???
I saw all those cool projects and then they were gone ?
You must have built a shop and moved the jeep inside ? Right ?
I mean there are priority's in life ... heck anyone can grow fruits and vegi's...   But restore a 60 year old jeep!!! That takes skill....

Sorry Josh,  couldn't resist teasing you there.  Super job on transforming your driveway!
i-cant-remember-your-name-but-you-got-the-red-24073241.png
[Thumbnail for i-cant-remember-your-name-but-you-got-the-red-24073241.png]
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 341
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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thomas rubino wrote:Hey Joshua;   Great job ! Quite the transformation.  
What I'm curious about, is where did you build your shop???
I saw all those cool projects and then they were gone ?
You must have built a shop and moved the jeep inside ? Right ?
I mean there are priority's in life ... heck anyone can grow fruits and vegi's...   But restore a 60 year old jeep!!! That takes skill....

Sorry Josh,  couldn't resist teasing you there.  Super job on transforming your driveway!




Thomas, I'm so sad about selling that 1950 CJ-3a last year.  I forced myself to sell it because I just lost interest in restoring it, and it was just sitting there rotting away.  Mechanically I had it pretty good to go, but it needed a lot of time in body work due to a lot of rust.  One of these days I'll get another one.  I've owned Willys wagons and trucks and cj's my whole life.  I still have two CJ-5's sitting in the garage right now, and just couldn't justify the project jeep.  
I'm actually going to sell my first car (1977 CJ-5 built like a rock crawler now, but used to be my daily driver for about a decade) pretty soon.  I haven't driven it in over ten years.  I'm just not into rock crawling anymore, I've progressed to garden crawling..lol....it's all the same thing, just play'n in the dirt.

Here's some tribute pictures to my jeep cj's.  They were made to be the poor man's tractor/grocery getter, and I try to keep the spirit of that alive.  My little 1980 CJ-5 current daily driver, along with a 1970 CJ-5 that I cut in half to make a trailer out of have helped build a lot of what's in the yard!  Thanks for pointing it out!  They are the only physical help I got with this project.


Thanks for the complements on the driveway too!

 
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Two current jeeps taking up room in the shop/garage. Picture is a few years old, but it looks the same today
Two current jeeps taking up room in the shop/garage. Picture is a few years old, but it looks the same today
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Hard physical labor with help from 1.5 cj's.
Hard physical labor with help from 1.5 cj's.
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The trio. Knowing what I know now, I'd not have pulled the stumps out, and just left them to rot.
The trio. Knowing what I know now, I'd not have pulled the stumps out, and just left them to rot.
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 341
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Holy smokes am I pleased with this setup.  Abundance galore, if that makes sense.  I kind of have two threads of the same thing going but I'll just post an update here of the pictures just taken minutes ago.  The other thread is "How I'm filling my 8' X 4' raised beds".  It shows how I filled the beds, and everything I used in them.  It's here.  https://permies.com/t/134151/filling-raised-beds

The ten chickens get a five gallon bucket full of greens every day.  They actually got about a dozen full heads of lettuce this week since our temps got to almost 100f already.  I figured I'd cut it before it started to bolt.  Oddly, the snow and snap peas look pretty good still.  I just ate a bowl of them for breakfast this morning.  I can't believe how well almost everything is growing.  I overseeded the carrots, and am pulling the biggest ones out and eating them on the spot like little baby carrots.  

I'm really just in awe of it all.  I go out there with the biggest smile in disbelief.  
Just planted twenty sweet potato slips in various spots in the beds where other stuff came out, put some peppers in in some other spots, and yeah, it's all just doing pretty well.  I even put a bird house gourd in, and the Chinese snake bean/gourd thing from Baker Creek.
I'm trying a crazy intense method of growing the tomatoes.  Two full beds of them with a total of 64 plants.  I'm going to try a greenhouse technique called "lower and lean".  It is going to be a nightmare.  lol  There must be 100+ tomatoes that are actually fruiting already.  The biggest being about the size of a golf ball.

Oh yeah, I put in a bunch of cattle panels for arches in the last month too.

Blah, blah, the pictures show it all.

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This pic is a week old. It's the overview of the "driveway".
This pic is a week old. It's the overview of the "driveway".
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This is the very back bed, broccoli, and onions, and mixed other stuff.
This is the very back bed, broccoli, and onions, and mixed other stuff.
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The onions on the other side of the same bed as the broccoli.
The onions on the other side of the same bed as the broccoli.
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200 heads of garlic on half, dozens of beets on the other half.
200 heads of garlic on half, dozens of beets on the other half.
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I'm going to regret this, but 32 tomato plants in 32 sq.ft. I'm single stemming them up bailing wire. Lots of fruit set.
I'm going to regret this, but 32 tomato plants in 32 sq.ft. I'm single stemming them up bailing wire. Lots of fruit set.
IMG_20200501_103034442_HDR.jpg
This is another bed to reinforce my bad idea. Yes, 64 tomatoes in two beds.........it's going to fail. That's how I learn.
This is another bed to reinforce my bad idea. Yes, 64 tomatoes in two beds.........it's going to fail. That's how I learn.
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Another bed of mixed beets with Swiss chard.
Another bed of mixed beets with Swiss chard.
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Dino kale, peppers on other side, carrots packed in the back, peas behind the carrots.
Dino kale, peppers on other side, carrots packed in the back, peas behind the carrots.
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better view of the carrots and peas.
better view of the carrots and peas.
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Red kale in back half, with broccoli on the other back half, lettuce was in front, but now it's the snake bean, and peppers.
Red kale in back half, with broccoli on the other back half, lettuce was in front, but now it's the snake bean, and peppers.
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Behind beds. Cilantro going to seed, planted two fig trees in there, and put my two citrus trees up against the house.
Behind beds. Cilantro going to seed, planted two fig trees in there, and put my two citrus trees up against the house.
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Behind beds other view. Potatoes in ground, sunflowers, buffalo berry, cilantro, peas, and stuff.
Behind beds other view. Potatoes in ground, sunflowers, buffalo berry, cilantro, peas, and stuff.
IMG_20200501_102932767_HDR.jpg
A mix of squash, peppers, peas, and more stuff in the lengthwise lower raised bed.
A mix of squash, peppers, peas, and more stuff in the lengthwise lower raised bed.
 
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