Saturday, January 14, 2012

Not Grandma's garden today

Our house we just purchased will be the first house in 10 years of marriage that we know we will live here for awhile. When we got married I owned my home but he was in Seminary and we knew we wouldn't be there after he graduated. Then we were in a parsonage where I either wasn't allowed to or didn't want to do things because I knew Ram wouldn't be pastor there until retirement. Lamb 1 begged to plant some fruit trees at the parsonage, but that wasn't possible. Thankfully we had nice members that either let us pick fruit or gave us fruit. Looking back perhaps we should have done some things considering we were there 8 1/2 years, but that is hindsight now.
When I knew we were getting this new house I checked a bunch of books out of the library. Gardening at the new house will be a challenge. I've never lived out of the Midwest. Our back yard is small and shade from the fences and neighbor's houses make very little sun there. I doubt our homeowner's association would look kindly on planting a garden plot in the front yard even though that is where the best sun is. It is totally new to me that there are some winter crops that will grow here with little snow and mild temperatures. I've never had an automatic sprinkler system (or a need for one). I've never lived where it gets so hot but no humidity.
I was looking in the library books for info on fruit trees. I've never bought or planted or taken care of a fruit tree before. Soon I was branching out looking for what to plant here. I figure if we're going to pay all the money for water here we may as well have something besides grass. There are two small trees in the front yard and none in the backyard. So if we're going to pay money for trees in the back yard, they may as well be fruit trees.
In my reading, I realized that container gardening, square foot gardening, and edible gardening are not only just trends for city dwellers now, but they really do make sense.
It will take us years to get our gardening going like I would like it. In the meantime we are blessed to live in an area with nice farmer's markets and places to go pick berries etc. But eventually I would like to see a few fruit trees in the backyard and one square foot plot (36 inches by 36 inches) in the middle of the backyard in the only sunny spot. For our climate here we can have at least 2 if not 3 different plantings in that one square plot. I would like to see containers of herbs and veggies in the front yard. I was particularly looking for ones with beautiful flowers-hoping that my neighbors have no idea that what I'm growing in my flower pots in the front yard on each side of the garage are really edible.
My grandma and her two sisters shared a huge plot of land for a garden. Later in her life when they couldn't manage that much then she had a small plot by her back door. It was amazing what she grew in that little space by her back door. My plans plan for an even smaller space for our garden plot but then have more in containers and other spaces in the yard. The traditional garden space still works well for places like where we lived in rural MN. But for those Americans that live in cities, it's time to not garden like Grandma did. This is a new concept for me after living in the Midwest and recently living rural.
Lamb 1 has a high need to be outside daily and it's even better for him if he can be outside working especially with his hands in the dirt. We are planning on not planting anything this first year we live here. We want to see what the weather is like first. But eventually if we don't do a little gardening it will drive Lamb 1 crazy. So I'm absorbing all I read in the library books and thinking through how our ID garden will look.
I was unsure about buying our new house at first because of the small back yard. Ram and his parents liked the house so much that I had to reconsider. I do really like the house and the layout of the house is perfect for our family. It's not worth not getting this house just because of a small back yard. There is lots of green space in the subdivision and we're not far from the park so we don't need a big backyard for the Lambs to play in. Smaller yard means less lawn to mow. So if I rethink how we garden, then this yard is perfect for us.


joelle said...

Just want to say I'm envious of your shade. Our back yard is 100% sun all day long in the summer. A&T can only play out there in the early morning or right before bedtime. It is HOTHOTHOT!!! Our trees are starting to produce a little shade. Maybe it will be better next summer. I want your shade! Okay - done coveting :)

Dakotapam said...

Check and see if you have a community garden. We have two that I know of in Bismarck, I'm guessing you'll have some out west.