Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grow your own!!

So, we bought a house in north Oakland, CA (home of the Black Panthers!) this past December 2008... and ever since, have been working to turn the yard into a forest garden, an edible landscape of permaculture with a garden for annuals in the back. This just seems like good common sense to me, and a recent post on BlueOregon shows that the consciousness is spreading that we all need to be doing a little bit more of growing our own. Indeed, a recent article in AARP magazine shows that retired folks are finding that this is a great way to use some of that extra time they find on their hands, while reducing the burden of their food budget on their pocketbook!

So far, we've planted an orange tree, some rosemary, thyme, oregano and jasmine in the front yard (the last because it smells good and can serve as a centerpiece for the kitchen table). And in the back, the house came with a mature apricot tree, which we have surrounded with hops, blueberries, a faux-artichoke, a four-on-one apple tree, a fig tree, a currant bush, strawberries, lettuce and salad greens, carrots, peas, valerian, rhubarb ... and three chickens!! We'll be adding dozens of other crops over the next few months, as we haven't even started to plant our two raised beds, and also intend to add a few more fruit & nut trees & shrubs... I'm quite excited by it all, frankly!! I think it's one of the best parts of owning a house, that you can plant trees and stuff in the yard and know that they're your trees and shrubs and that you should be able to reap your own harvest, year after year (and if you move, well, the next occupant will be able to reap your harvest, year after year)!!

So go out there and plant edible stuff, anywhere and everywhere you can! Just pay attention to what each plant needs and wants (sun, partial sun, shade, good fertilized soil, poor well-drained soil) and give it to it at the beginning... it's just that simple!



Anonymous said...

Keep having fun with your growing world! How big did you say your yard is? Good thing you have a co-backyard farmer to help you out with all those plants and chickens.

Paul Renn said...

Might I add also the home of the Oakland Raiders, SLA Symbionese Liberation Army, and while not the founding chapter of the Hells Angels, certainly the most notorious chapter, run by Sonny Barger. What a city

Garlynn Woodsong said...

The yard is... smallish. It's a 30x100' lot, or 0.07 acres. The house takes up maybe the first 45 feet or so of the lot, so the back part is maybe 55x30', but nearly half of that is deck, concrete or storage shed. The rest is actual yard. I'll post photos in a follow-up post...

And yes, the co-backyard farmer is a big help! :-)