Worried about rising food prices and the desire to be self-sufficient and sustainable in the time of post-peak oil, my significant other and I converted our weed-stricken back yard into arable land this past April. We leveled the yard, covered it in weed mat, built 8 4’x5’x12″ raised beds, arranged them neatly, filled them up with good dirt, mulched between the garden beds – and voila! – Our back yard had transformed into a mini-farm in just 3 working-weekends. We were the envy of our covenant controlled NoBo neighborhood.
Then, I bought already started plants from the Boulder Master Gardener’s Ginormous plant sale with thrift sale earnings, and planted mid-May. (Watch for this sale next spring!) Neighbors donated some started plants and lettuce seeds, so we have a variety of vegetables and fruits for our first season: pumpkins, watermelon, winter squash, summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, green peppers, kale, lettuces, arugula, cabbage, fennel, chard, basil, basil, basil, parsley, and raspberries. Love. The. Raspberries.
Then, we just stood back, watered, and watched everything grow – fast. We followed the ideas of the Square Foot gardener with raging success. The garden has been productive, healthy, water retentive, 99.9% weed free and best of all: ORGANIC. There’s nothing like going out back to get some lunch or pick some dinner. I worried that 160 square feet of farmland wouldn’t be enough for us, but I find myself eager to share our harvest. (There’s only so much zucchini you can eat….)
It really is amazing what you can grow in cramped spaces, and there’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own food. Even if you can start with container gardening, you’ll be amazed at the sustenance you can grow in a windowsill.