raisedbed-feb20.jpg Putting in more raised beds

More Raised Beds

After five+ years the strips of 3/4″ plywood (though cheap) have started to rot at the bottom. So with our growing 10k challenge we figured now was a better time than any to give the raised beds a face lift.

Eating What We Grow or Dough?

On the topic of growing food, our dilemma is not only do we grow food our ourselves but we also grow produce in which to sell for income. This really limits our planting in a sense that we plant more “lightweight” or “specialty” crops (edible flowers and herbs for garnishes) rather than focusing only on feeding ourselves. If we had “other jobs”, our winter garden for instance would be heavy planted with root crops (carrots, kohlrabi, beets, etc) and cabbages, etc. However, given that our salad mix is one of our main income producers the majority of the space goes towards raising greens (lightweight). So if lots of what we plant here on the urban homestead is lightweight to realize that from just this 1/10 acre we harvest nearly 3 tons is, I have to say, pretty impressive. Imagine what the harvest totals would be if didn’t have a “market garden” and focused primarily on growing heavyweight veg and fruit crops like potatoes, cabbages, carrots, apples, peaches, apricots, guavas, etc for our personal food consumption. Though, we’d love more fruit tree (equals more poundage!), fruit trees rob the sun from vegetable crops and it’s not like we have a nice little growing plot away from the house. We have to deal with shade from buildings, neighboring trees with create a insane amount of micro-climates. So it will interesting how this year will transpire as we figure out how to get the most productivity out of our victory/market garden.

From the Inbox

Hello dear Dervaes family,

I am a long time reader of your wonderful website. I have a family of six in Oklahoma – we are growing in our sustainable lifestyle every year. We are currently setting new goals for 2008 and are looking for some good books as reference for a sustainable life and urban homesteading. Do you have any recommendations of books that have been especially helpful in your studies? Some of our top projects for this year are in the area of energy savings [including pedal power] and solar energy. So anything you could recommend on those topics would be appreciated.

I looked through the website for a general resource list of reading material – I’ll bet it’s there but I just didn’t find it. If you want to answer this inquiry by just sending a link – that is great. I know you folks are ever busy. I don’t want to distract you from your own goals just to answer questions from those of us not quite so far down the path to freedom.

Wishing you a joyous new year!

Greetings, Mary

Thank you for your email and positive comments. It’s great to hear from fellow travelers who walking the sustainable path. Far from writing (or even having a contract to write) our very own urban homesteading book(s) anytime soon, these are some of the books we recommend which are available at PTF’s online store

The ultimate growing book: How to Grow More Vegetables

Overall bible on self sufficient living: The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

Wishing you and your family all the best in your journey.

Still catching up with emails and I haven’t forgotten those of you who posted questions ( you aren’t being ignored… I’ve got your questions right here!) In time, I will get through all this backlog….one step a time.

Tomorrow stay tuned for our weekly menu wrap up and 100 Foot Diet Highlights.

No Comments

  1. Meg says:

    Wow, those beds look great! What kind of wood did you guys go with?

  2. Crystal says:

    I’m wondering if you’ve ever thought of trying to expand your planting space by using neighbor’s yards. Lots of people pay for landscaping… maybe you could work out a deal (a portion of the crop to the owner in addition to a beautiful yard might get you free growing space).

  3. Anais says:

    Hello Meg,

    Thanks for the comments, I tell the guys.

    The wood they used is untreated Douglas Fir which is pretty cheap and will last us another five/six years.


  4. Anais says:

    Hello Crystal

    Yes, we did at one point a few years ago use our only neighbor’s yard (we are surrounding on three sides by a private school) Unfortunately the property sold and they are rennovating the home and it’s not lived in at this time. As for our other neighbors, I would say the majority of them are renters and unfortunately are really not into growing vegetables. The dynamics of the neighborhood is slowly changing, perhaps in time like minded folks will move it….

    We shall see. Besides, right now are incredibly busy and preoccupied with our little property at the moment, but we are always on the look out for expanding our growing grounds.


  5. Anais says:

    Hello Rhonda

    Thanks for the email, positive comments and heads up. Thankfully here in So Cal they build mostly with untreated Douglas Fir – a wood which the folks next door and down the street are using in their housing construction.

    California is pretty good about labeling and regulations. Always good to know your wood source, especially now a days when things are treated with all sorts of chemicals.


  6. rhonda jean from down to earth says:

    Here is Australia much of the timber used in house construction is “treated”. I don’t want to alarm you but have you checked that timber contains no poisons? If it does, I’m not sure if it would remain in the ash after the fire, or if it would be contained in the smoke, but I think it’s worth checking.

    As always, it’s a real pleasure to read your posts.

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