To be honest, I have to wonder if there is a cost AND time effective way for one gardener to single handedly take care of an acre. I suspect my husband would say lawn to cover the whole premises. But he wouldn’t be the one to mow it (due to his allergies and work schedule), and I would find it uninspiring. I suppose I could stop watering everything, and possibly replant the native sage brush. The yard would certainly be less cozy that way. No more playing out on the grass for anyone. No more summer parties, unless we all stay on the cement patio. And I would be depressed all summer.
Landscaping takes a lot of flack from the minimalist crowd, but it has it’s uses, both social and practical. By creating an oasis in the desert (or taming the jungle, depending on where you live), we just might provide habitat for many more friendly creatures than the untended terrain can support (squirrels don’t count). The area around the house can become safer because wild critters don’t usually set up house where people are wandering around. We foster family health by providing areas to get exercise and or just relax in the fresh air. The soil is tended to to increase fertility, plus erosion is kept under control. Heating and air conditioning bills can be positively impacted by thoughtful landscaping. How much of that can be edible landscaping is influenced by things like covenants, size of yard, and desire to pick things spontaneously right before dinner.
Okay, I’ve talked myself into it. I am going to do some gardening again next year. The trick is to come up with some skeleton of a plan that puts me in control of the garden, and not vice versa. I can at least try. I have come up with some categories of goals. I am even going to list the improbable, because sometimes the act of doing that stimulates the thinking. I will prioritize and cross off later. Here are my categories, with a few thoughts in each:
- Make a plan for how many hours a week, or a day, I can realistically expect to spend on yard work. Talk to my husband about this and compare to other priorities.
- Make a weeding schedule.
- Make a pruning schedule.
- Review options for getting lawn mowed and edged.
- Check lawn equipment, under supervision.
- Check premises for various equipment, fencing, etc, left around out of place.
- Schedule burning and or trips to the dump.
- Decide about tool repair or disposal, under supervision.
- Deal with remaining debris clean-up from last fall.
- Mulch and simplify several outer lying flower beds that always get out of control in the weeding department.
- Not so many flowers in areas I rarely see or visit.
- Move blackberry vine to place where it can be mulched and trellised.
- Decide where I might plant strawberries.
- Figure out how to let chickens out to safely scratch and weed front chicken pen, hopefully with engineering expertise.
- Replace flower bed by front door with patio; move sprinklers from there.
- Mulch around grape vines.
- Replant lawn destroyed from swimming pool installation.
- Deal with sprinklers that are at odds with the fence line, under supervision.
- Fix leaky faucets, under supervision.
- Replace broken side of rotted raised bed, under supervision.
- Fix front lampost, under supervision. (Obviously, if I didn’t need so much supervision I could
destroy more things when no one was lookingget more done.)
- Re-evaluate how much we really eat in a given year.
- Evaluate seeds in storage.
- Order seeds.
- Make planting schedule.
- Lobby for new cold frame.
- Invite starving college student children to raid pantry.
- Decide ahead of time where I will plant my annual flowers.
- Dig out anything that is not a favorite.
- Move flowers from area being turned into patio.
- Plant cutting flowers among vegetable garden.
I figure that by taking time to fix a few problems as early as I can in the spring, I will avoid some trouble in the middle and late summer. I just have to decide which problems are most beneficial to fix this year. If I make a plan now, I will be ready to take advantage of any good weather that comes my way. (clicking on photo will enlarge it)