Friday, May 18, 2012

Dreaming of The Good Life

The Good Life, known in the US as Good Neighbors, was a telvision series about a couple who opt out and decide to become self sufficient - growing their own food, producing their own electricity, etc. The gimic being that they do all this while living in the suburbs. The show is charming (and available on Netflix if you haven't seen it) and much is played for laughs, but I have always seen it as aspirational.

The idea of growing our own foodhsa been appealing to me for so long. When I lived in Somerville, we tried having a garden one year, but nothing much grew. Shortly after I moved to a building with no available green space. The tiny unit we are currently in does not even get enough light to grown things on the window sills (well, tables as the sills are far too shallow for even the cat to sit on.) Soon I'll have the opportunity to see how green, or not, my thumb is.

One of the things we looked for when house hunting was a large lot. I needed to be able to have a garden and it would, of course, be nice to have a place for Sprog to play (once she gets over her new-found fear of grass.) The house we're buying, while not having the largest yard around, did meet specs for us, and also had the advantage of not needing any work done to it. There is also a two car garage at the end of the back garden in which we can store supplies.

I've been advised to start small with a garden. They are a lot of work, and it's work I'm not used to. Plus we'll be moving in June, the growing season already underway! So my plan for our first year is to star with the raised beds the previous owners put in the back and perhaps some of the front garden as well. They have what was called "perennial landscaping," which is pretty and all but not really functional. My plan is to pull out the front plants and replace with herbs and edible flowers (if anyone wants some perrenials, I'll be giving  them away.) These are things I can easilly get in pots already growing so I need not worry about starting from seed. The list so far of what I want:
  • Thyme
  • Lavendar
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • lemon balm
In the back there are two raised beds. I already have an upside down tomato planter, so hopt to put some plants in there. For the beds I have spinach, carrot and French breakfast radish seeds. I'd like some more herbs in the back as well and already have basil and Chinese basil seeds (the latter Spouse came home with ast night.) I think corriander and catnip should round out the herbs for the year. Other items I'll try this year are potatoes, chili peppers and onions. Even if nothing grows this year, we'll still prep for next with some garlic planted in the fall.

In addition to all this veg, I want to have some fruit. This is long-term planning obviously, but I want to get a Meyer lemon tree as they can be kept small and in a pot, brought inside in the winter. To stay outside blueberry bushes would be lovely and an apricot tree. Some currants and grapes would be lovely as well.

Other long term plans for they home include alternative power sources like a wind turbine. That's obviously not something we'll be able to afford right off the bat, even if it does pay for itself in the longrun. Now, if only we could get the laws changed so I could legally keep chickens, I'd be all set. The Good Life, indeed!

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