I’ll tell you a secret. You might be shocked.
I am a lousy landowner.
Sure, I keep my front yard looking passable. I mow. I trim a little now and again. But you should see my backyard.
I mow my back yard maybe twice a summer. By the time I get around to mowing it, I have to bring in the big farm mower or even the new brush mower. I have poison ivy. I have creeping charlie. I have dozens and dozens of little weed trees taking root in the middle of my back lawn.
This disheveled mess is due, of course, to my frequent absence while tending the crops in the country gardens. I don’t get home from waging battle against the weeds there and think, “Ah! I’ll think I’ll kick back and do some yard work.” But I did get on it a bit today.
Honestly the only reason the front yard stays looking halfway presentable is my fancy neighborhood–I don’t want to be the “single mother with the junky yard.” Though I might be anyway, but maybe my neighbors are just too polite to say it.
But all of this is about to change, my friends, because I’ve decided to pursue the project I’ve been dreaming about for years. A foodscape. An edible, medicinal, and beautiful landscape in my yard.
I am going to start upon this project to learn it by doing it, and maybe when I’m done (is a garden ever really done?), I will then offer my services and knowledge to other people who’d like to do the same.
A couple years ago, I built a raised herb garden out of scrounged materials and soil from a garden I dug on the north side of the house. Since then, I’ve been collecting some nicer materials and eyeing the back foundation as an expansion area for that bed.
Then there’s the front yard–I’m thinking herbs and flowers–medicinal and culinary and beautiful. Maybe a little terracing to help with watering when things get dry. I’d like to install rain barrels beneath the downspouts.
And then there’s the even bigger task of returning the terraced backyard, below the house, from the wilderness. Lots of trees have grown up in there, and a few of the larger ones will have to be taken out. I’m not going to clear-cut–I like to keep cover and sustenance for the birds and (a little grudgingly, I’ll admit) the squirrels.
But it would be nice to be able to see where the terraces start and end, and maybe build them back up and reinforce the retaining walls. I’d like to see if I can grow greens back there in the cool shade.
This will be a slow process, but in the end, I think it’ll raise the value of the property, and more importantly, provide me and my family with food, and the birds, the bees and the butterflies, too!