A major factor in any lot farm or homestead would be a garden but the thing that a lot farm has going against it is space. Trying to garden for a family on a traditional town or city lot can be challenging and there might even be certain codes against it. Keeping a garden “attractive” enough for neighbors and big enough to grow what you need for your family, while keeping within local codes, can be hard, these are the reasons I eventually decided to go with our square foot garden.
I have lived in cities most of my life and knew very little about gardening. While I lived in Chicago, I had huge floor to ceiling windows and tried house plants, which all died, and that was about the extent of my gardening. My husband’s grandmothers and mother all canned and when he canned some strawberry jam one year, I kinda got into canning, which made me want my own garden. I knew I didn’t want to use all of my back yard space, as I have 4 dogs and 4 kids, so I knew I had to get creative. I found a book called, All New Square Foot Gardening, read it and ran with it.
The book is very helpful, explains how to garden in raised beds (which is helpful to those with neighbors who might complain about the traditional look of a garden or those in towns that are against gardening in the front yard, as the plants are essentially in flower boxes.), it explains a lot about each plant from seed to harvest, has a “recipe” for the perfect soil and much more. I figured that I would give it a shot, the book makes gardening sound that easy!
After deciding to do raised beds, we needed to find a spot that didn’t take space away from the family but also had sun, and turned to a strip of land in front of our driveway. This strip of land is approximately 4’x40′ and was basically underutilized, but gets terrific sun. The first year, we only built (3) 8’x2′ boxes, using 24 feet of the space. We built our boxes, mixed our soil, planted our plants, watered and waited…eventually we got this…
This picture shows 24 cucumber plants, 12 tomato plants and 24 pepper plants. From this we canned 48 jars of pickles, 21 jars of salsa (tomatoes and peppers from the garden) and froze lots of peppers for stews and other recipes. The garden was very simple and easy, I was blown away by how well we did and needless to say, we were hooked to gardening this way and knew before our first season was over that we would be expanding the next year.
I started a garden unsure if I could keep plants alive because I enjoyed canning my own food, but it became much more than that. We loved the feeling of growing something for ourselves organically, it was something we, my husband and I, did together, our kids loved learning about the process and we were able to eat the fruits of our labor all winter, not to mention we saved money along the way.
If having a garden is something that interests you, click on one of the subjects to the right for more information on that topic and I would consider picking up, All New Square Foot Garden, it really has been a go to for me!
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Bet + Fam 🙂