Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make your yard a money maker, not a money pit...

So just a reminder of our situation, we grow stuff at Johns parents house an hour away and stuff in our yard.  Our yard is less than 1/4 acre but you would be amazed to the all the stuff we jam pack into it!  In fact, most of our produce has been coming from our yard the last couple of markets.  Most people dump a bunch of money into flowers for their yards and mulching and weed killer and bug killer and landscaping etc..  I am way to cheap to even consider that, so we just plant all edible plants.  The only thing we have that isn't edible are our holly bushes, but those provide decoration for Christmas time so they are OK in my book (John can't stand them and wants to tear them out for their lack of usefulness, but I love Christmas so I win.). 

Their has been a lot of buzz about the Julie Bass and Oak Park MI stuff (if you are a hermit who has been living in the woods for two weeks and this is your first chance to get on a computer and you stumbled upon my blog as the first page you visited then you can find info on that here).  I for one this that every human should have the right to supply their own healthy supply of food.  Anyways, I really hate talking politics so I will stop there.  Here are some pics of what we are growing in our yard this year...

This is our amaranth we planted out front.  Amaranth is a grain, related to Lamb's Quarter.  It doesn't need hulled which is a plus since we do not have anything to hull grain with.  The leaves are also edible and can be used like spinach.  I was afraid it was going to get knocked down by a really bad storm we had the other day, but I think the fence helped protect it.  Not sure when the seed heads will grow but I will keep you posted.

This is calendula growing in front of the house with the holly bushes behind it.  Is that a tree seedling in there?  Whoops!  As you can see it is a rather sprawling plant, but the flowers are pretty!

Ground cherries growing on the side of our house.  They are a really tasty fruit, and I am hoping to have enough to can some pie filling.

Here is one of our Jack Be Little pumpkin plants growing in the side yard.  We have two mounds but it was super weedy so I didn't want to take a picture and embarrass myself!  They are a compact plant and are great for small spaces.  I think the vines only reach about 4 ft.  They are super productive and we are hoping that we can give pumpkins away at my son's Halloween party.

We also try and shove things in every available space.  These mini basil plants fit perfectly here!  BTW, those crappy looking logs are blocking our dog from escaping the yard.  We are just classy like that ;)

Here is the strawberry bed in our side yard.  Our house used to be a duplex and this was where the stairs to the upstairs apartment were.  It is the perfect spot for our strawberries!

These are our sunchokes which didn't survive the storm so well, hence the string holding them up.  Unfortunately for our neighbors they won't be ready to harvest for at least another month or two!
This is rhubarb, rainbow chard, and fish pepper on the other side of our porch.  The rhubarb has been really productive this year, I actually have enough frozen to make jelly for once :)

Here are some pole beans growing up the fence in our back garden.  Note the compost in the trash can being held together with a bit of WV steel (another example of our classiness!).  Pole beans are amazing in small spaces.  They will climb up any fence or trellis and you will get a ton from just a couple of plants.

Here is our popping corn growing in our other garden in the backyard.  I can't wait to harvest this!  It is multi-colored and I think the kids will love it :)

Here is our kale, rainbow chard, beets, and carrots in the back garden.  The chard is also a great crop for small spaces.  It is ornamental, produces over a long period of time, and is very productive.  I read one blogger who said she harvested 40 lbs of chard from 4 plants!!!!

There is so much more I would have taken pictures of if it hadn't been for the weeds!  In my defence we got about 6 inches of rain followed by high temps and I swear the weeds doubled in size!  With the price of food and safety issues with food from huge factory farms with not so great conditions, I think everyone should grow as much of their own food as possible!