Well, we aren’t in our new house yet, but we are wasting no time in making the lawn ours, as much as we are able.
Last Friday, Juwairiyah and I were able to go over to the house and plant some bulbs on either side of the front walk. The soil was full of earthworms, which excited us considerably- but it was also full of paint flakes, bits of garbage, and lots and lots of glass bits from when the windows were broken out of the house. Not a good place to grow food, but we figure we can grow color, anyway, insh’Allaah, by planting lots and lots of flowers here and in other marginal areas along the sides of the house.
We planted tulips, crocus, hyacinths and daffodils. We bought them over a week before we planted them, and they weathered through a storm with six inches of snow, but I am hoping for the best with them. There is also a clump of some sort of flower that grows from a bulb already there, so it will be interesting to see what blooms. We picked glass and little bits of plastic and soda pop bottle covers out as we went (yes, we were wearing gloves) and Khalil took out an old rotted stump. I thought it added character, but that only earned me an eye roll as he pulled it out.
Next we plan to sow a mix of annual and perennial wildflowers there around the bulbs. Sukhailah and Juwairiyah mentioned trying to plant a perennial climber of some sort along that front area as well, that would climb up and around the black iron railings and perk the place up a bit. They’ve started researching that, so we will see what comes of it.
In the back there is not so much glass and debris, but we are not sure if the soil is contaminated with lead (the house is over one hundred years old), so we decided to bring in garden soil to put on top of what is there. We are on a very tight budget, so we had to plan our garden around what we could do, not what we really really really wanted to do, which was to plant a food forest throughout the lawn. Khalil did an amazing job of building four raised beds out of scrap lumber from the house. He even had to take the boards off of the front windows when I said I would like a fourth bed if it was at all possible. He wasn’t sure if the wood was treated or anything, so to be cautious he decided to cover it with a dark plastic from the garden center. We don’t know how this will work, but again, we are doing the best we can with what we have.
So far he has built four beds. Two are directly behind the house, and two are near the back fence. Funny thing about that area by the fence is that it is filled with onions! Apparently some previous owner of the house had a great liking for onions. It seems as though the two by the back should get sun most of the day, while the ones near the front will have slightly less. One of the beds at the back we are turning into a Hugukultur bed, digging deep and removing some of the soil and then filling the hole with small logs and sticks and leaves. We will do an upcoming article on that, insh’Allaah.
We also plan to plant all around the fence in the back yard, lots of climbers to help us feel a little bit, at least, like we aren’t in the middle of a sprawling city. We are doing the potatoes in potato towers, and herbs and such right out the back door on the small deck that is there. Wherever possible we want to implement many Permaculture principles, to get a feel for how it could work for us both here in the city and on land when we are able to get some. Reading about something is one thing, but the real value- and fun- comes when you put it into practice! Of course we will be composting as well, both with a traditional compost bin and a worm bin. We will let you know about those and other related projects as they develop as well, insh’Allaah.
So, this is the beginning of this year’s gardening journey. If you have any helpful comments, experiences or advice to share with us, please make sure and comment below. We’d love to hear what you have to say!