As we enter into a new season of planting, looking at our long term goals and the many obstacles we face living in this area, we must consider the following:
1. Growing more of our own food organically.
2. The extremes we have here from drought to flood conditions.
3. Water conservation and getting water to the areas needed.
4. Smart planning to reduce maintainence as we grow older.
5. Soil amendment challenges as we live on good textured soil but has low organic matter due to it being a former cotton field.
6. Sustainability is a must so as not to rob the soils and resources of others land to feed ours.
7. Our small budget. :)
The design element is critical for us. Although we know there is always going to be a level of trial and error added to the mix. I've always learned more by what didn't work, than what did. Who doesn't? At least I hope so. :)
One of the main things we want to consider now is fruit production. We have allocated one side of the yard for the bulk of our fruit. We have already planted blueberry and blackberry bushes close to the house in hopes that our rainwater harvesting will easily work here. In times of drought, we can exercise the option of greywater reuse. I'll give more information about that later.
With the economy struggling, we are doing what we can to help in the days to come. Expanding our garden is already in the mix. We've decided to add a traditional veggie garden for larger crops this next spring. Ideally I prefer biointensive raised beds for their overall efficiency, but now due to budget and time, we are grabbing everything we can to build our garden.
Here is the new expanse tilled so far:
We have to add quite a bit of organic matter to this to make it productive. Mulched leaves, compost, and lots of manure! (come on rabbits! lol) This should make it ready for spring planting.
We will be working on a drip irrigation system to keep this watered. It can get pretty windy and dry throughout the year, so we want to make sure we make the most of the water we need for this area. Any type of overhead watering evaporates quickly and encourages disease and mildew. Drip irrigation should do the trick for us.
Plans for starting plants indoors is the next step. More to come later. :)