Friday, May 3, 2013

Backyard Gardening

After a bit of a disappointment in house hunting, I had a momentary pity party and then I had an epiphany.  I can search for what I think I want somewhere else, or I can do my best to make what I want happen right here.  



We can move to get over an acre of land and a rural setting which would be nice.  I would love to go to sleep and not hear night construction on I95.  However, trying to buy over an acre of land in Fairfield County Connecticut is super expensive.  Every home we looked at (except one) needs upwards of $50 to $100K worth of work.  Financially it does not make sense to move.  Not when our house is so close to being paid off.  Will we move?  Perhaps.  If we can find the right location, the right home, and get both for the right price.  But for now, we wait.



I can wait here and stew in my wants.  I can dream of a yard with backyard animals.  I can dream of gardens overflowing with life.  I can yearn for beautiful flowers and greenery.  Or........I can make my dreams happen.  



While helping to plant my friend’s ginormous garden in the rolling hills of the Northeast Corner of CT, I realized that I like gardening.  I like feeling the sun on my back and my hands in the dirt.  I like the thinking and planning and organizing that must be done to make a garden productive.   I have a ton of gardening books that I have collected over the years for Greg, who has always been in charge of our backyard garden and our plots at the community garden when we were members a few years back.  I pulled out an old copy of Square Foot Gardening and read it in one night.

I can do square foot gardening.  It makes perfect sense for the amount of space I have.  Our beds are already 4’x8’, they just need to be sectioned off.  Our new beds will be built as 4’x4’ boxes with walkways between.  I have already planted potatoes, cabbage, spinach, lettuce and beets.  They are sprouting.

When I slept over my friend Amy’s house last week, I realized how fortunate they are that her husband is self-employed and has the ability to set his own schedule.  He can spend time in his garden every morning before starting his day.  This connected with me and I realized that as much as I wish Greg were not on a train at 6:00am, I can be outside with my garden, sipping my coffee, enjoying the fruits of our labor for the two of us.  Now every day before the girls are up, I am outside watering my plants and wishing a good morning to the walkers and the joggers who pass by.  It feels good.




I spent some time with my Pinterest account and scrolled through the pins I have made on backyard gardening.  I read this family’s journey to become urban homesteaders and my thoughts and feelings of the potential of my yard came to life.  There are so many similarities from lot size, to urban location, to desire to be more self-sufficient and a strong yearning to get back to basics, as much as possible.  I do not live in California with a year round growing season, but I can use this as a model and make the most out of every square foot of land I do own.




I am starting one raised bed at a time.  I am giving thought into what can be eaten now, what can be stored for later, what can be preserved and what can be dried.  I am asking myself what our family enjoys eating, what we enjoy canning and what I need for my home remedies.  We are researching what backyard animals we can keep and what their purpose will be.  That is the beginning of our journey into creating our own version of an urban homestead.  




This was my inspiration.  I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did.

13 comments:

  1. Yay Jess! Amazing plans and I wish you all the best in your gardening efforts :)
    That attitude shift makes such a huge difference, doesn't it?! I have my struggles of wishing for something else, but it is always such a release of a burden to find the way to let that go, at least for now, and focus on what I do have.

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    1. It is a burden, isn't it. It can occupy your time and attention and steal your focus from what you do have. I honestly don't know what our family will end up doing but right now what I am doing feels right.

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  2. Jess you never fail to inspire me. I want to do a garden so badly. I just get so overwhelmed because it is just me and Keilee to do all the work. I know that is no excuse though. I love how just changing your attitude makes all the difference in the world. I can not wait to watch the fruits of your labor all summer. I am about to watch that video and see if I can't plan a small scale version of a garden. One that I can maintain. See...I told you...INSPIRING! :)

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    1. Karen, read Square Foot Gardening. I read the entire book in one night and it gives you detailed directions for starting a garden with a 4 foot by 4 foot box. I never felt so empowered to garden before. The book even gives you planting diagrams.

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  3. Go Jess! I can not wait to see the fruits of your labor!

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    1. So far I have spinach, cilantro, lettuce and kale sprouted. The beets are just popping up and so is a potato! No sign of life from the cabbage..... I am really curious to see how the worm tower will do. I have noticed more robins hopping around. I think they are eating my worms!

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  4. Great post, Jessica! I am encouraged and motivated to make changes too! I've read about the Dervaes but never seen this video. I loved it and watched it with my girls. It's truly my vision for our family and I wanted them to see that, because it seems so overwhelming at times. I needed to be reminded that it's a process to get there...but one that is worth it in the end! I can't wait to see what you do:)

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    1. He spent 20 years building his homestead. I am taking baby steps - the garden expansion, worm tower, rabbit hutch and hopefully some edible landscaping will be big changes for us. I need to know that I can maintain what I begin. Our land is so unlike yours. I would love to have the space you have, but I can see where that would be overwhelming too. I am going to take some pictures of my friend's farm this week and email them to you. When I saw your backyard on the 7 cool homeschoolers video, I could image you doing what she is doing.

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    2. Thanks, Jessica! I appreciate that:)

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  5. It looks lovely! All I've managed is some gardening in tacky containers. :-)

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    1. Last year we had an issue with termites and had to treat them. I was distraught about dumping chemicals into the home I have worked so hard to rid of anything toxic. But there was no choice (that I could find). We took the year off from gardening. We just dumped a bunch of flowers randomly into the garden and watched what grew. I tried to grow veggies in containers but I did not take very good care of them........I have seen beautiful gardening in containers on Pinterest. It is still very early. There is a whole growing season ahead!

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  6. way to go, jessica! I read http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/ and she gardens in her backyard and has chickens. She has a small plot like you and lives in a cold place up north like you. She inspired me to get started. I live down south in AL with almost 5 acres of land, I figured I could do it too. I had no experience though, but my husband is a redneck! HA!!! this is our second year and we are adding chickens. I got 5 baby chicks in the garage right now under a lamp. A chicken tractor outside that my husband built. My gardens are planted: tomatoes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, green beans, collards, lettuce, zuchinni... oh and so much more stuff! And I love it!! I love to watch things grow! Funny... I think this whole thing has been therapeutic to my husband without him realizing. He grew up with his Grandfather who used to garden and built things... so he is having fun building things for me, and seeing me watch things grow. He talks about his grandfather all the time now. It's amazing the things God will do in your life that blesses others around you without you knowing. You will love gardening. Check out my youtube channel. I got tons of playlists, one is just on gardening. So much great information out there.

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    1. Thank you for the blog! I spent some time this weekend looking for a gardening blog with conditions similar to ours. Our town/city allows chickens (but no roosters). At some point we may get two (maybe next year) if our next door neighbors are okay with that.

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