Episode-140- Landscape For A Home Sweet Home

Food forest permaculture
Part of the edible landscape in my backyard. Grapes foreground, asparagus, kiwi in the arbor and honey bees in the gazebo.

My home landscape is becoming more and more edible by the day. Watch the video and you will see that there is does not seem to be much room left more plantings but my education and growth as a gardener and student of permaculture has always filled me with visions of growing things higher when I run out of space on the ground. The company that has helped bring my vision to a reality is EdibleLandscaping.com of Afton, Virginia which is not too far from where I live. A couple of weeks I ordered 3 kiwi, 9 grape and 1 peach tree and they all arrived quickly in gallon or bigger sized pots. I spoke with a couple of the staff there before placing my order and their friendly and considerate advice has helped to put my property on the road to becoming edible.

I did not start gardening to make a home sweet home but that is exactly what I am doing now. When I began gardening almost four years ago I had no clue what I was doing. I wanted to grow my own food more out of fear of the unknown and to gain some sense of independence. Watching the Dervaes family grow over 6,000 pounds of food per year, on 1/10 acre located just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles inspired me with a vision to not stop until there was as much food growing on my property as possible while remaining pleasant to the view of my neighbors. Our first year of gardening resulted in lots of tomatoes, beans and cucumbers along with a number of failures due to my lack of knowledge. Listening to Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast brought me quickly back from the brink of major failure with the introduction of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening and some basic introduction to permaculture.

It has taken a few years for some of the concepts to sink in and become a reality but I am very glad I started to turn to perennial fruits and vegetables as the long term solution to what I want to get out of my backyard. The more that I read books like Gaia’s Garden and began to understand the principles of permaculture the more I developed a vision for my backyard.

No longer is there a yard in the back. Rather it is rapidly developing into a food forest built from below the soil upwards. In 2010 I began the food forest with blackberry, raspberry and strawberry root stock plants from Nourse Farms in Massachusetts. I also started our first asparagus bed at that time. The following year I planted more blackberry and spread some of the raspberry runners to other parts of the front and back yard and I built a beautiful triangular shaped multi-tiered garden for more strawberries. Last spring I expanded on the forest with 12 blueberry and 6 elderberry plants, another set of 25 asparagus for a complete second bed and more blackberry and raspberry plants.

The edible landscape is not complete just yet. In the spring I will be planting cranberry, wintergreen, emerald carpet, lavender, rosemary, thyme, and salal in the swales and hugelkultur wood beds I have built in the backyard. Then the multi dimensional food forest will be a reality and I will be better prepared to write and instruct others on how to incorporate some of my creations into their visions.


Dervaes family grows over 6,000 pounds of food per year, on 1/10 acre located just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. 

I just watched a four year old video of an operation in Wisconsin growing a million pounds of food on three acres and there now has to be plans for a second homestead that can do that in my family’s future. 6,000 pounds on 4,365 SF brings $20K of food that could be sold. = 1.37 pounds per sf. It is possible that million pounds of food could bring in $3.33M. 130,680 SF= 1,000,000 pounds = 7.65 pounds per sf  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9CCxdkOng

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