Suburban permies from Texas checking in! Spouse has a PDC, and we've both been all about all things homesteady and permaculturey for a long while, but we moved around so much in our 20s and 30s we never had a chance to put down any roots until recently...though we did have several great gardening opportunities in a variety of places.
This is the third year in our (more or less) "settled down" place; we have approx 1/3 of an acre corner lot with the house kind of unusually placed on the lot, creating a rather large front yard and oblong back yard. Clay soil and a sea of lawn to turn into an oasis of groceries and joy. It will just take, you know, a wee bit of time to do that.
AND NOW...I will regale you with a lengthy and nigh obsessive description of our progress, which we have tried hard to keep in check with family and friends who maybe don't want to hear us go on and on about mycelium, squash vine borers, and cowpeas.
The first two years were spent doing some structural things (fixing old fencing and building a retaining wall with lots of generous help from a neighbor), and planting perennials like fruit trees (fig, olive, lime, 2 plums, and an anaqua [a local shade tree that also bears edible fruit]) and some pollinator/desert/native/decorative front border beds, which will also function to lower the visual impact of the more edible gardening we plan to eventually do in the front yard (we don't have an HOA to contend with about it but we want to be conscious about it). Earlier this year we finally started the official veggie and herb beds.
Our veggie beds were put together a little hastily -- we were planning to do just one or two beds now and more in the fall, but the pandemic moved things up a bit for a few different reasons. So we have a straw bale raised bed, a non-straw bale raised herb bed, and a few sheet mulched beds. We're in the "do a lot of different things and make plenty of mistakes and figure out what works here" stage really, so this season is mostly about learning, celebrating when we get veggies at all, and the understated but to me limitless value of zen-like "watching the garden grow" time. Despite a litany of things that haven't gone well (stunted corn, non-fruiting pole beans, non-ripening peppers and tomatoes), there are things that have -- we battled a wave of squash vine borers and the summer squash is still producing, the cowpeas look great, the perennial Mediterranean herb bed is flourishing, and I have a jar of pickling cucumbers fermenting on the counter (not my first time fermenting, but first time fermenting cucumber pickles that I grew myself, so that feels awesome). We're crossing our fingers for some watermelons this summer -- the vines have taken off.
We've also kicked our homesteading skill-building into overdrive, and we've started trying to grow oyster mushrooms (first attempt a spectacular failure...second try here in a week or two), built a rocket stove, reinvigorated our love for sourdough, and are working on our first hot compost pile right now. We have a few barrels of rainwater set up for collection and plans to expand that. Other projects on the horizon include worm composting, installing a clay-pot irrigation system in the veggie beds, and of course expanding the veggie beds out and working on growing staples. We want to get very serious about seed-saving going forward, and we're super excited about landrace gardening, which we only just recently became aware of.
Glad to be here and look forward to learning more!