I, too, am jealous of you folks in warmer climes. We had some unseasonably warm days in February and early March, here in central Pennsylvania, and I was fooled into setting out snap peas and onion sets. They didn't make it, alas, as the freezing temps and damp came back.
My house gets very little natural light, so I can't even sprout seeds. All the talk here makes me want to get out there and dig!! Soon....
Have fun out there!
I was inspired by this idea a few years ago, and started transforming my empty, dead yard. I recently bought a little greenhouse for my patio and have started tomatoes, tomatillos, several kinds of peppers, broccoli, beets, and lots and lots of greens (which we can grow year round). I have to say though, it's a little scary being surrounded by millions of people who grow nothing. Our goal is to move to a less populated area as soon as possible.
We moved into our small suburban house and yard exactly two years ago and the first thing I started doing was digging up the lawn to turn it into garden. The first summer I dug up almost the entire front yard and went from one to three raised beds in the back. The second summer I finished digging up the back yard and in the autumn spread a huge load of woodchips in the paths and over piles of leaves to make the last few beds where we will plant fruit trees/shrubs/bushes this spring. In mid-March my dad helped me build a cold frame out of free cabinet doors and some wood from the basement.
I've been using whatever I have on hand to make the garden beds. After the first two raised beds were built with purchased wood, I started using big rocks from a construction project across the street. To start my new beds I put down a layer of sticks, small logs, and lots of leaves (which I collect from my neighbors; sometimes I even rake their lawns for them - with permission). Then I put purchased organic garden soil on top, as I want to be careful about possible contaminants in the soil. I am building up the soil by making compost and by putting any plants from weeding/pruning directly on top of the soil.
Photos of my garden from last summer (back garden, then front garden), plus one of the back garden from the autumn so you can see the organization of the beds:
@Anna O'Malley - Welcome to permies! Wow! Great garden. This just goes to show it's possible to do wonderful things with very little money spent and lots of re-use, re-purpose, re-cycle! Using branches and leaves to build soil is exactly how it happens in nature (with lots of help from our friendly microbial helpers etc). Your garden looks lovely. With the current crisis, hopefully some of your neighbors will follow your example.
Victory Gardens traditionally focused on standard vegetables, but I thought I'd just mention that particularly if you worry about using front-yard space, there are lots of edible things that the average person just think are "pretty", or even if they do recognize, they won't get bent out of shape over. Unfortunately, deer like daylilies and strawberry plants just as much as I do, and there are a bunch of uncommon fruit bushes that look no different than less useful "ornamental shrubs", and there's lots of info here in the plants forum to help you.
For example, my front garden has Daylilies, walking onion, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Sage, chives, Garlic (in a hanging basket that will get something colourful after the risk of frost), bright lights chard, a grape-vine covering some ugly cement and the odd bit of kale that's been self-seeding for years. There's so many variations of "green" with the odd flower, that most people don't realize it's mostly edible. I intentionally let things like the Rosemary and Oregano bloom as our bees and other winged garden helpers need the nectar. Many herbs are understory plants, so if you do have an existing ornamental tree, now is a great time to cut back the grass around its base to make a large bed and find plants that will work cooperatively with it that either feed wildlife or have medicinal uses, if not edible in their own right.
This is for Gail, who was trying to decide whether to go camping somewhere with her bus for the duration. I’ve been hearing reports of campgrounds being closed down, and campers sent away. If you have a friend or relative who is willing to let you camp on their property, you should be fine, but camping on public lands right now is a no-go.
If you think about it, there are some good reasons for closing the campgrounds. For one thing, most of them have facilities which have to be cleaned regularly. People are hired to do that, whether it’s a campground manager, or a designated person who only does cleaning. These people are exposed to whatever bugs the campers may be carrying (my grandmother’s last employment was cleaning toilets in national forest campgrounds on the Oregon Coast; she got amoebic dysentery from that job one year). Also, if they close the campgrounds, then the employees can stay home and do the social distancing thing.
In addition, imagine if people in the campgrounds started getting sick with the virus. They would quickly overwhelm whatever little hospital was nearest.
Better to shelter in place, and if you can, do the community garden.
I used to live on a farm and do miss having the large plot to grow on, Someday that option will become available again.
Until then I will keep planning for it and practicing on a small scale.
I just brought home about 20 pallets to lay out for planting in, thus stretching the mulch a little farther.
Teach me of your sacred plants, spaces, places. Share me your songs that I may share the stories to those not yet born.
Today I weeded and topped up a half-barrel so that it's ready for my baby lettuce. The lettuce has been hardening off on the front porch, although I tucked it right up against the side-light for tonight as the prediction is for +1 Celcius at the local government weather station and that means we could easily get freezing.
Inside the house, I had full germination of the Leaf Cabbage and close on the peas (15/16 and the last one may make it as it seemed to be thinking about it). The Kale is well behind, so I may re-seed tomorrow. I find in the spring that I have to do so much weeding to make room for the plants I want to grow that I hate having to kill any more seedlings than I have to. That means I tend to only plant the number I *want* rather than doing a bunch of spares, particularly for things which germinate quickly. Others may feel they are happier with extras - it's whatever gives you joy in your garden that matters.
I'd hoped to get some tomatoes started today, but a little project grew and I prepared a bin and a 1/2 barrel for potatoes instead. With the unpredictable weather we've been having, I want to find a way to put a little row cover over the bin and barrel before I actually plant the spuds.
I can't plant *anything* that deer will eat (yes, they'll happily eat potato greens) so I've been working on both fencing issues and ways to attach dog fur to sticks and fencing at about deer nose height. I often use stainless steel clothespins to pin the fur to the fencing, but the pins sometimes get knocked off and I don't want the lawn mower to find them for me, so I've been making little string leashes to loop around the fence wire. Since my friend has to prune her standard poodle anyway, we both "reuse" the fur to discourage deer. But we have little fur thieves in the neighborhood so it's entertaining to watch the hummingbirds and little yellow birds trying to pull the fur out of my bundles to line their nests.
Diggin' it for sure! I am in the beginning stages of setting up my first "real" garden so I am liking this thread. If I ever get it going I will post some pictures.
Here is where I am at:
Started 60 plants from seed last night in some paper cups. I mounded up some clay, manure, and woodchips and sticks last fall and cover cropped the beds with a soil builder mix. which was kicking ass until the deer found it about a month ago, hahaha. It's just now starting to re-kick ass even after a 2 foot snow, I hope to have some green matter to turn under. So now I gotta build a fence, cover the mounds with my collected and semi-composted organic matter (featuring biochar!) and till it in. Trust me, it needs to be manually incorporated, at least this first year. Then I plan to hit it with some aeratedcompost tea and mulch it heavily, wait a few days and plant my starts as well as direct seed some junk. Wish me luck!
It's like I always say when I raise 2 fingers: screw peace, VICTORY!
I love you all,
If you settle for what they are giving you, you deserve what you get. Fight for this tiny ad!