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Occupy Your Yard as part of the local food system.
I graduated with a fresh Master’s degree just as Wall Street dumped on Main Street. There were no jobs to be had particularly for a woman of a certain age. This left me feeling quite useless and unproductive.  I decided to rip out my lawn and grow food for my family.
Beds under construction
I marked out four beds in the yard, leaving a small patch of weedy lawn as a car washing station to filter the water before it reaches the street.  My beds are 14’ long and 3’ wide. The wood was scavenged from a friend’s old deck timbers. I lined the wood with a double thickness of good plastic. I dug out some of the lawn even though the neighbor yelled at me to use Roundup.  I dug a trench down the middle of each bed and put river rock my husband had gotten in his canoe on the bottom.
I took my 1986 Ford Escort and put several 5 gallon buckets in the back and filled it with free worm-rich dairy cow manure many times. I spread this in the bottom of each bed.

My truckload of topsoil weighed 5,000 pounds. I moved all of it in my little wheelbarrow, mixing the soil with wood ashes, bone meal, bunny manure and lots of peat moss.

It was a lot of field hand work which I did in all weather at least six hours a day. (I also put together a chicken coop and run that same winter but that's another diary.) It has paid off in food for my family. Here in the temperate heart of the Willamette Valley, our mild winters allow me to grow all kinds of greens and even broccoli and carrots.

I had worried about two things when I did this: my gardening skills or lack thereof would be on public display and passerbys might steal my food. I found that my garden allowed me to meet a lot of good neighbors and passerbys. I feel like lady bountiful handing out green beans and pears. No one has ever taken a thing.

In my neighborhood, I sell my eggs and get money but often trade for lilacs, herbs and bread. My little plot is part of our local food system.

This June my yard is going to be part of a walking tour of sustainable agriculture yards, so I am busy weeding and planting. I will try to blog the event.

Beans and roses.
Beds planted the first year.
Peas in early!

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Wed May 07, 2014 at 01:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Change SOS.

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