Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hello Front Yarden

Here is the "after" picture. We ported some of our old garden over here in pots and barrels and the rest, we started from seed or plant.

We have:
artichokes and sunflowers

rare french musk melons
eggplant and greens
and much much more...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Goodbye Front Lawn

After a year or so of foreclosure induced neglect, the "lawn" had turned into a field of weeds. I like weeds that are useful or nutritious, but many of these weeds are noxious, prickly and invasive.

There is a sprinkler system in the ground for watering a lawn, but the previous owners must have taken the controller. While we are planning on collecting some rainwater, I think we will have to rely on some city water for the garden. I plan to get a new controller and convert the sprinklers to drip lines soon, but first things first.

We had a slab of concrete in the back which was cracked and heaving in multiple directions. We rented a jack hammer and broke it up. Then we had a big pile of concrete chunks which we used as pavers and garden beds.

We pulled a lot of weeds and dug a lot of dirt. A thin layer of imported topsoil covers our adobe clay. We got 5 cubic yards of high quality compost from a local supplier called Grab N Grow and have ammended all the garden beds.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Moved to the Big City

We were living out in Penngrove in a chicken barn for the past several years and, due to the recent collapse of the housing market, were finally able to find a home. Perhaps due to wine and horses, rural land was still out of our reach financially. In town, the formerly "cheap" half million dollar "starter" homes were now far less, so we gave up our country mouse dreams and moved to the suburbs in the City of Petaluma.

We got a bargain in this house, but had to put a lot of work into it as we could only afford a fixer upper. Besides cosmetic and functional upgrades, we are focusing on energy efficiency and reducing the amount of money it takes to run the place. For instance, we insulated before we moved in. Built in northern California in the 1950's, this place was never insulated. There are lots of rebates available for this. We got $300 back from PG&E after spending only $500 on materials and we will save on heaing bills into the future. We installed LED recessed lights. We hope to add solar hot water and heat soon as well.

For the purposes of this blog, I will focus on the transformation of a sunny and unproductive front and back yard into a food source and example victory garden or urban homestead.