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Getting started

Posts: 7
Location: NW Oregon (Zone 8)
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Trying to get all my thoughts in a row so we can get our yards prepped this fall for planting in the spring. Front, back and one side yard will all be transformed into food if only I can get my thoughts inline. Ive been reading so much on the subjects of lawn to food, permaculture, urban farming and organics I could almost write up my own book!

The background on the yards is that we've been here for over 10 years and have done nothing other than mow, remove a couple of trees and loosing a battle to kill off roses (heavy pruning (which I think they like way too much) and mowing). No chemicals used at all

So to get started on the front yard Im currently thinking of doing it lasagna style; leaving the grass where it lays, adding 6-10 layers of wet newspaper, add a bit of compost (not our own yet will need to purchase), then a layer of yard chips (which I hope to get from the electric co).

As I hope to have this done mid to late Oct, would it be too late to try and sow a green manure for added bonus needed for the spring crops? I was hoping that I could just spread seed over the mulch and what happens, happens.

The back yard gets the bob-cat treatment as we get to remove a bunch of dirt to get to the fun leftovers from a remodel. Contractor didnt take much out, just buried it. Makes it hard to plan and plant a good garden. Im hoping I can sift through most of the dirt and keep most but also planning on adding purchased compost to get started.

Lots to do for next spring!
Posts: 2719
Location: Maine (zone 5)
hugelkultur goat dog forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation
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Sounds like you have a solid plan. The key is to get started building the soil. You could feasibly get a crop of buckwheat or some other fast growing cover to grow in about 60 days then just let it die over the winter. If you mulch it again early in the spring you can plant your food crops right into that. By continually adding organic matter to the top you'll be building the soil without disturbing the soil life and you'll also keep weed seeds from surfacing and sprouting.

In my side yard I just turned over the sod and threw a thick layer of dried grass clipping on top. After a good watering, I heavily sowed buckwheat which I cut before it went to seed. I left that on top and just planted my food crops (mostly herbs). That was in late April of this year. If I dig into it now, I can find clumps of mostly broken down sod full of worms, so I guess by the end of the growing season all I'll have left is good crumbly soil.
If you started now you could probably get quite a lot accomplished by fall.
Hope that helps

best of luck
Posts: 4
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First of all, let me applaud you for having such a "gung ho" attitude about removing yourself from the deteriorating agriculture system. Secondly, let me strongly urge you not to rush into your first year of transformation. You more or less have two options, in my opinion:

1) Continue on with your soil preparation strategies, developing the small organisms in the soil in hopes that it will be sufficient to grow bountiful produce. It is possible to do that in the small time slot you are working with, however, I must again, strongly urge you to NOT rush the process. Such an exciting transformation only sparks the motivation in you to get started, I understand. But nature needs time.

2) Instead of planning on transforming your land next year, give it an extra year. Take that extra year to do more studying, develop more knowledge, allow the soil to mature, add more contents to the soil, deal with your back-yard situation (removing the leftovers) and by doing this, you're guaranteed to have a humus-enriched soil just begging you to plant things.

I've rushed the process before and wasn't too satisfied with the results. That's one situation out of a million, thought, so don't let it affect your judgement on your own situation. The only message I am trying to get across is that nature needs it's time to develop and mature.

Best of luck in your journey, whichever option you choose. Remember to keep local and grow as much food as your can! The earth is capable or great things if you give it time to prepare.
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