Sunday, April 17, 2011

... and we're off!

and so the grand adventure shaking up our lifes with a sustainable bent truly begins!  both hubby and i are itching to transform our yards and lives with a sustainability streak that will lead us forward .... but we need a game plan .... something we can tackle in stages and .... we are hoping this is it. <g>  at least we have a plan .... which is half the battle! i readily acknowledge, btw .... that most plans look dramatically different to what was maped out to start off with .... and that is ok!  at least we're moving!

so let's start with the easier one first .... our front yard.

for both the front and back we will need to get in a bobcat to clear out a fair bit .... but it is so worth it!  especially when we will be keeping the cleared stuff and making compost and good soil out of it.  anything cleared will be mulched and we will make a great bio dynamic compost out of it.

so this is roughly what needs to happen
  • clearing.  the jacaranda at the front and the tree in the middle of the circle we will keep.  but other than that .... they'll all be going.  down to stump level. 
  • planting acacia's (these are in the legume family and great for adding those yummy nitrogen fixing bits to the soil to make it yummy for the plants).  these will be integral to ensuring the soil quality continues to improve and provide for long term nutrients in the soil
  • putting in fruit trees and nut trees.  fruit trees at the front side will include more citrus.  will probably include some dwarf varieties as well.  i am determined to grow a mandarin as my kids go through them like crazy!  oranges too!  nut trees up in our neck of the woods .... probably hazelnut and walnut.  but that may be a bit of a guessing game
  • medicinal bed and berry bushes.  i am really wanting to get into medicinal herbs (i hear snickering .... stop that now! <g>).  i have had some real problems sleeping and after heaps of testing, etc. the best solution has been Valerian tablets .... so go figure.  once i've done a bit more research on the kinds i want to plant i'll share more there .... but that is still very much in the "what do i do now" phase.  i have a raspberry bush ... poor thing has been pot bound for a couple of years and valiantly tries to stay alive, let alone fruit.  hopefully this will give it the lease on life that it deserves!
  • olive tree and rosemary bush area.  this is an area where it gets really hot and dried out.... so i figure let's focus on the mediterranean aspect!  i'll put in an olive tree, with which i shall venture into the world of espalier (e.g., training it to grow flat against a wall) with several different types of rosemary with it .... and if i find any other herbs that thrive in dry soil conditions i might try them there as well.
  • mini herb plot.  the intent is to have all sorts of herbs growing in a variety of places .... it keeps the bugs guessing and means better success generally.  and doing the companion planting bit where you put basil with tomato's, etc.  however .... i really want a place where i am growing my main sachet group: continental parsley, thyme, oregano, basil and coriander in one spot (rosemary will be a stones throw away, so that's be there too) .... just means i can bop away from the stove and grab what i need easily.  not sure on soil quality here ... but probably gonna do a hay bale raised bed .... just because from time to time you need to try different things .... and it will disintegrate after time anyway and be good soil .... so it can't hurt. 
  • broad beds and raised veggie bed will be used as needed and the soil fixed at that time.  not sure what will be grown there .... i want to try all sorts of new and different veg and who knows what will happen here!
one of the major things that is not shown is that along the east facing side of the house we will build our composting area and move our gate from the back edge of the house to about 2/3rds of the way to the front to allow for a larger space in the back and a clearly defined area for the trailer to sit.  i imagine this will happen sooner than later .... but where it fits in the grand scheme of things is kinda out of my purview at this point.

watch this space for the backyard adventure ..... aquaponics now or later?  to goat or not to goat .... this is the question! 

part of the fun of this has been the adventure of planning, learning and growing personally in my knowledge of sustainability.  really happy to be expanding and using the old brain cells ... it really feels like i am moving towards a model that makes a difference .... at least in our little plot of paradise .... reclaiming it, bit by bit, for our Creator.

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