Brain Dump

I’ve had a few things kicking around in my brain lately that I figured I’d share with everyone.

First off, Nate and I are going to buy a house this year. We have a few requirements that I think we can actually work around. We want a small-ish house on a large-ish lot. 2 bedrooms at the least. A kitchen that is not tiny (it doesn’t have to be huge either). It’s actually been really fun talking about our dream house, or what we’d do to any house to turn it into our dream house. Our budget is rather small. But we are really frugal so we realized that we already have enough for a down payment.

And everything else stems from the decision to buy a house.

Gardens! I’m obsessed with gardens right now! I’ve ordered about 12 seed catalogs so I can plan an imaginary garden in my head. I’m reading about all the things that I want to grow so that I will know what to do when we finally get a house and yard.

I’m totally obsessed with maximizing our food production in whatever size yard we have. And along those lines, here are some links I’ve been loving lately.

How to build the best raised bed - Sunset Magazine

Nate really wants to build raised beds in our yard. Well, first, if there’s not a basement, he wants to excavate a root cellar/basement area somewhere in the yard. It doesn’t even have to be under the house! And then he wants to use the dirt we excavated to build raised beds in the yard. This is a plan for a super nice raised bed (with hoops for row covers!) that will last a long long long time because of the wood they suggest. It’s not cheap though.

Thyme-fringed pavers - Sunset magazine

I LOVE this idea! Creeping thyme (Thymus praecox arcticus) is planted between paving stones. Thyme is one of my all time favorite herbs and creeping thyme stands up to being trampled. The fact that it is growing in between paving stones means that it’s a bit more protected than if you were just walking on top of it by itself. Our goal when we get a house is to have no grass to mow. Nate hates mowing and is allergic to grass, but never seems to let me do the mowing. We’ll see how well we can accomplish that goal.

Grow vegetables in the front yard - Sunset magazine

I’m a firm believer that you can grow veggies in the front yard and have it still be as attractive as a landscaped front yard. You just have to plan it better. There’s no need to have traditional rectangular bed shapes either. Let your garden beds flow with the shape of your yard! I think that the pavers with thyme would be even better in between the beds in this picture than the gravel. And, no lawn to mow or water!

Urban Columnar Apple - Better Homes & Gardens

Urban Columnar Apple - Better Homes & Gardens

I’m really fascinated by this idea. It’s an apple tree that grows about 2-3 feet wide and only 8 feet tall. I need to do some more research on this. I want to say, is this really real?!?! Because if it is, I TOTALLY want a few of these in my yard. Apples without the space that normal apple trees take up? Yes, please! Especially in the city. Hence the name. There are apparently several varieties that they have bred into this columnar shape. Cool!

Espalliered Apple Trees - Better Homes & Gardens

This is another idea I’ve been kind of obsessed with for a while. Espalier is a traditional way of training trees to grow horizontally and was originally reserved only for fruit trees. It makes harvesting easier, it takes up way less space. You could do this with any kind of tree I bet, but I really want to do it with an apple or pear tree in our yard. Either against the house or against the fence.

Potato Box Project By The Seattle Times

Also along the lines of maximizing space: Grow 100 lbs of potatoes in 4 square feet via TipNut describes how to build the planter pictured above. Essentially, as the potato plants grow, you add more rails to the box and also add more dirt, causing the plant to keep growing up. As it grows up, it will produce more potatoes under the new dirt you have added. And to harvest, you can just take off one of the bottom rails and dig around for potatoes instead of digging all the plants up.

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