Saturday, December 16, 2006

Food Not Lawns #2 - Research

I have been doing a lot of planning and thinking since I originally posted my "Food Not Lawns" idea. I have read numerous books and have done a lot of sketching. Right now I am still at the planning stages. I know that I want to create a beautiful landscape, yet have it functional (edible).

Part of the decision to do this comes from my desire to know where my food comes from. I know that I have not sprayed the food with various chemicals. I want my food to be close and not travel 1500 miles to get to me. I can't get much closer than walking out my front door. I also want to know that my food is not contributing to climate change. How? Well, food that is grown and sprayed with chemicals adds to the problem -- as the creation of the chemicals is bad for the environment. Then the truck, plows, and tractors which plant, harvest, and transport our food emit CO2. If the food is processed, that emits Co2. I believe I read somewhere that our foods use 10 calories of energy to create 1 calorie of energy. It seems out of proportion. I'd rather walk out my door.

So, in the research of this I have read Gaia's Garden (thanks for the recommendations). Wow. It opened my eyes. There is so much that I thought impossible, that now is possible.

In this book I learned about water catchment systems, using grey water, and forest gardens. Forest Gardens? Yes. It turns out that I can use the shady area in the back. The shady area is dominated with a canopy of tall trees. I can plant fruit trees under those trees. I can plant fruit bushes under those and herbs and shade vegetables with the bushes. It is very exciting to me!


I drew a map of our property (not to scale). I also found some pictures from our sidewalk designing phases. I have included notes regarding the light and shade during periosd of the day.

So, thus we start. I am now going to use the sketch and the photos to plan the garden.

Next will be a decision of what the beds will look like, how paths will weave through, and what plants I will start with. I have also been reading about plants which are beneficial to one another.

I have seed catalogs and have been taking notes on the light/shade issues, companion plants, and germination periods. I need to think about when to plant various plants and when to start some of these indoors.

There is still a lot of research and planning to do, but I feel that I am off to a good start.

I look forward to sharing more of this journey soon!


The yellow mercedes in the driveway is our veggie car!

20 comments:

Eva said...

Emme,
I ran across your blog last night... and I am so inspired and intrigued! Thank you for blogging, I will be reading more of your postings. I just learned of The Compact, and hope to start next year. Thanks for recommending Gaia's Garden...

You've given me lots to think about. THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

hi emme do you know about the book, Food Not Lawns that i wrote? I love your blog, very real, well done.

Heather Coburn Flores

Emme said...

Eva, Thanks for stopping by. This is all a journey. I love compacting and hope you enjoy it as well.

Heather, I was recommended the book "Food Not Lawns" about 2 weeks ago when I posted my first posting about this project. It is on my wish list for the holidays (for those who decide to purchase us gifts).

I hope to be able to read it soon! It is exciting to see that there are so many people who agree that the lawn simply doesn't make sense.

Bellen said...

Don't forget the services of your local Cooperative Extension Service - part of your state's college system, paid for in part by your taxes - home of Master Gardeners. They have lots of free materials just for the asking.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Emme, I am so terribly impressed that you manage to get so incredibly much done while working AND raising five kids, including your tiny son. . . . I was thinking about you and your husband--the fact that you make enough money that you don't have to choose this lifestyle. You are a model for families poor and wealthier. I think you have the potential to be a leader in this movement. At the end of your compact year, I think you should consider writing a book about your evolution and how you find the time to get it all done. I'd certainly read it.

Lisa said...

I think what you are planning to undertake is wonderful. I will be folowing up to see how it is going...

Best of luck

Beo said...

1) Gaia's Garden changed my life-looks like you have a full year infront of you!
2) It uber cool that you drive a veggie car
3) How cool is it that HC Flores read your blog?!?!

Emme said...

Sally, Wow. Wow. thank you for the compliment. [blush] I may consider writing something longer...

Bellen - One of my design students works in the extension office. We have been talking about this project and she has given me recommendations. Pretty cool!

Lisa, thanks for reading. I look forward to the next steps.

Beo - I have been recommended such wonderful books. It truly is amazing. Gaia's Garden has had a major impact on my thoughts! The Veggie car is great - even runs in the cold Minnesota winters! I can't believe the HC Flores read my blog. I look forward to reading her book!

Bryan Moyer Suderman said...

We got Gaia's Garden in the middle of last summer (after we'd already planted our garden in straight rows...), and we're looking forward to doing something more creative next summer! (Though I think we canned and froze enough tomatoes to last us to next summer... a big accomplishment for us...baby steps...).

I'll keep checking your blog for more ideas. Thanks so much!

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