Jared Mason wrote:
In terms of goals, by food forest-y I mainly just meant a permaculture style kitchen garden - sustainable, no-till, high-density etc. I've seen lots of cool food forest vids online. This ( [youtube]http://youtu.be/iX9mQNswJrw)[/youtube] is probably closest to the balance I'm trying to strike and even this is waayy bigger than my space.
Tyler Ludens wrote:Don't forget that raised beds dry out faster than ground level beds, and are mostly suitable for cold climates where raised beds will warm up faster in the Spring, and very wet climates where better drainage is needed. In warm climates with no Summer rain, raised beds don't make any sense, in my opinion.
Dana Jones wrote:Jared, do you have a front yard where you could plant fruit trees? If so, then that would save more of the sunny areas in the back yard for planting vegetables. We recently moved to 8 acres, but before that, I gardened successfully on a tiny city lot with beds in the front yard. I covered the beds with paper feed sacks to keep moisture in and weeds out. I cut a small hole in the paper and planted my vegetable plant. Since you are just starting out, I recommend using started plants, seedlings. They are easier to get started with than starting from seed. We really, really want to encourage you to continue gardening, even though you may experience garden failures. We all have failures, no matter how good we might think we are, so don't become discouraged if something dies on you.
Study your permanent plantings, make sure that what you plant will give you the most bang for your buck. Plant trees, berries and grapes that will produce well for your area. Also, look around and see what is readily available. For instance, we love blueberries. Blueberries are picky about PH and moisture levels. I am not prepared to babysit blueberry bushes right now, so what I plant has to be tough to survive. There is a huge blueberry pick-your-own farm 20 miles from us and it is so easy to go pick 7-10 pounds several times during the season and freeze them. And--I don't have to take care of the blueberry bushes all year. So if there is a peach farm down the road from you, plant plums. What fruit or nuts cost the most in your area? Why? And if you planted it, would it grow in your area?
Is it possible for you to have a few chickens? I kept hens in a coop in my backyard. They got kitchen trimmings, garden trimmings, raked leaves piled 3' deep, what they didn't eat, they scratched and pecked to pieces and pooped on it, making wonderful dark, crumbly compost which went back on the garden. Win-win. Note I said hens-you don't need a rooster crowing at 3 AM, waking the neighbors! What are the laws/rules for your town? And if you do get hens, be sure to gift neighbors with fresh eggs now and then, they won't mind the hens at all!