Home and Garden

Sustainable Gardening 101


Here’s our plan for when the kids are off to college and we have more free time. A large part of it involves growing our own fruits, vegetables, and flowers with a sustainable garden.

The fruits we’ll be growing:   

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Lemons
  • Plums
  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
The vegetables we’ll be growing:

  • Chard, Lettuce, Kale, Collards
  • Brussels sprouts, Asparagus
  • Tomatoes, Onions, Shallots, Garlic
  • Snap peas, Green beans
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage, Spinach
  • Mint
  • Potatoes
  • Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Sage
  • Turnips, Beets
  • Avocado
  • Beans, Lentils
The flowers we’ll be growing:

  • Sweet peas
  • Lavender
  • Agapanthus
  • Evening primrose
  • Platycodon
  • Pansies
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Pelargonium
  • Kniphofia
  • Penstemon
  • Dahlia

  • Cyclamen
  • African violets
  • Roses
  • Daisies
  • Lantana
  • Lobelia fuschia
  • Petunia
  • Forsythia
  • Morning glories
  • Pachysandra
  • Bougainvillea
  • Nasturtium
  • Lupins

We will use a deep-bed, minimal-turning method for the plant beds, so the deep, loose soil can provide higher yield and bigger crops in a small space. 

We will plant taller trees and plants to the north and shorter ones to the south, to make sure everyone gets enough sunlight.

Compost (from crops and kitchen scraps) and manure (from chickens and goats) will be added regularly to keep the soil healthy. The compost bins must each reach an internal temperature of 150F to kill all the pathogens, and need to be turned over to another bin when they start to cool down. We will have a row of 5 compost bins (5’x5’x5′) that move down the line from fresh cuttings to digested dirt.

Vegetables will be rotated on a 4-year cycle, where potatoes get planted after root vegetables get harvested, and miscellaneous things come after the nitrogen-encouraging peas and beans. This ensures the fields are always ready for the next crop:

  • Field 1: Miscellaneous -> Root vegetables -> Potatoes -> Peas/beans/brassicas
  • Field 2: Root vegetables -> Potatoes -> Peas/beans/brassicas -> Miscellaneous
  • Field 3: Potatoes -> Peas/beans/brassicas -> Miscellaneous -> Root vegetables
  • Field 4: Peas/beans/brassicas -> Miscellaneous -> Root vegetables -> Potatoes
  • All fields will get green manure crops in the winter (mustard, comfrey, alfalfa, rye), which will be dug in or composted once they’re grown to enrich the soil

In addition to the 4 annual vegetable beds, with walking paths between them, we will have:

  • seed bed
  • holding bed
  • herb garden
  • perennial bed
  • perennial soft fruit bed
  • fruit trees
  • compost bins and animal housing (both far from the house)
  • garden shed and greenhouse (near the house)
  • lawn and flower beds

House needs

For the house we’ll be building, here are the requirements we’ve put together:

  • 5+ acres of land 
  • Pacific Northwest region
  • One story
  • Passive solar design
  • 1-2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen, 1 seating area
  • Comfy indoor-outdoor spaces with lovely seats and a soaking tub
  • Greenhouse/conservatory to enjoy the outdoors when it’s raining
  • Homemade stained glass
  • Workshop
  • Root cellar
  • Flower and yoga/meditation garden in addition to the fruit/vegetable garden
  • Chickens and goats for eggs, milk, meat and fertilizer
  • Dog 


Examples
Passive solar design:
https://www.habitechsystems.com.au/passive-house 
https://homeworlddesign.com/modern-australian-farm-house-with-passive-solar-design/
https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-home-design/passive-solar-home-design 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_solar_building_design 

Dome house: http://www.domegaia.com/designs–inspirations.html 

Zen garden: http://www.sonomamag.com/zen-garden-in-your-backyard/ 

Build your own outdoor chairs:https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/a709/easy-adirondack-chair-plans/ 

Design software: https://www.homedesignersoftware.com/

Coming soon: more info on shelter design and construction, land, power, waste, water

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