Earlier this year I posted a video on how to start a food forest the easy way:
This morning I received this comment:
“David, for some of us we only have a city lot 50×140 and that lot contains the house, a shed or garage or both, a place to park a car or two before you know it there is not a lot of space left to put in what you would like and still have room to get around and work what you are growing, and heaven forbid there happen to be a low spot in the yard that floods when it rains. Trying to find an affordable acre or two of workable land for sale is not so easy everywhere. Even as a single person it takes some creativity and planning to grow enough of something to get you through to the next season when you live in zone 3.”
Oh yes, I understand. And I think you can still do a lot more than you might think.
But you can’t sit around and long for things you don’t have. If you have a small space, you learn to grow in it. If you have a cold climate or a hot climate or a dry climate, you learn to adjust to it.
Shoot, I could go on YouTube and watch ranching videos and say, “Oh great… you know, not everyone has 5,000 acres of open range…”
Sure, I might like 5,000 acres, but I will never own that – and if I worried about not having it, I wouldn’t enjoy what I do have.
We’ve gardened while renting an apartment, we’ve gardened in the city, we’ve gardened in clay and then had our entire garden washed away by a flood, we’ve gardened on borrowed land, we’ve gardened at rentals, we’ve gardened in absolutely abysmal sand… but we kept gardening.
If you want it, you will make it happen.
In the case of food forests, this is a good example of a small-space backyard system.
And there is a lot more on gardening in small spaces if you search for “small space” on this blog.
Do you see the picture at the top of this post? That was my neighbor’s house down in Grenada. He built it from discarded coca-cola crates, and he gardened out back. I highly doubt many of my viewers are living in houses made from plastic crates! Are you thankful yet?
Yet the commenter does have a difficult situation. If I lived in a house on a tiny lot in a freezing climate, I would sell and move to the country somewhere further south. Yet if you want to stay where you are for family or work or other reasons, you definitely can still grow some food using season extending row covers, intensively amended and planted beds, vertical gardening, fruit trees pruned small, small livestock, etc. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
Or, just borrow some land from a neighbor or friend and grow your garden there, concentrating on plants that will thrive in your climate. It will take more work, but it isn’t impossible.
We don’t have a great climate here. It swings from hot to cold and makes it hard to grow anything tropical OR temperate, due to the abrupt changes. We get hurricanes, floods, droughts, late frosts, early frosts, hot weather in winter followed by hard freezes, deer, bad, acid soil, lots of bugs and more.
There is no ideal place to garden, but we do need to learn to be thankful for what we have.
It helps to start the day with thanking God for all He has provided. I’m not great at it and I complain too much, but I do know that when I stop and look around and start saying “thank-you,” my soul is uplifted and I have a much better attitude in dealing with less-than-ideal situations.
Decide what you want: to move, to be sad about what you lack, or to be contented with what you have! And when you watch others, just learn what you can and apply it to your own situation. My acreage is tiny compared to many of the permaculture farms and regenerative ranches I’ve seen. It’s also bigger than a city lot and seems huge to me, since I grew up packed into the middle of Ft. Lauderdale suburbia.
You can make things happen almost wherever you are. I believe in you.