2-Year-Update on The Land & Progress Report on Our Woodland Garden

 

potato plants

Here is our two-year-update on our progress at The Land. We are still not ready to build, but we have made a lot of progress. We encountered a setback in the fall, when our neighborhood flooded, but the water has subsided, and we have been busy working at The Land. 

When we purchased the land a little over 2 years ago, we started with Phase 1, which was creating an island to work on, when it floods. We first brought in leaves and pine needles from the street until we had enough dry ground to start with our wood chipper, and since then nothing has left The Land. Any palmetto removed and branches that fall down end up going through the wood chipper to become compost.

Phase 1 is complete!

Compost piles

Above you can see how our compost piles on the island are breaking down to help make the island even bigger. Below the palmettos are piling up ready to be turned into compost.


palmetto piles

Our small xeriscape garden is at the outskirts of our island area, which means that part of it was susceptible to flooding, and because of it we lost an an agave and a pineapple plant. We will have to lift the entire area up before next rain season.

xeriscaping garden



Then we moved on to Phase 2, which meant clearing and creating an area, where the kids could play basketball.

Phase 2 is complete!

 

woodland play area


Phase 3 included expanding the play area to make room enough for soccer games and more. We now have a volleyball field/soccer field, 2 swings and a basketball hoop. 

woodland play area
 

We have a slide and a climbing wall ready to find a permanent spot, but we have yet to find the right tree.

Phase 3 is complete!

 

 

Last spring we moved onto Phase 4, which encompassed clearing enough area in the back for a vegetable garden. 

woodland vegetable garden
 

We have a small vegetable garden in the front, but it wasn't getting enough sun to be productive. This back area gets more sun, so we hope it means more production.

Phase 4 is complete!



This year we moved onto Phase 5, which means clearing the palmettos at the very back of our property. We have begun this process, and we can now see our property line in the back. We have cleared the tops of the palmettos, but that is only the beginning, and there is a lot of back-breaking work ahead as we dig up, cut up and chop up one palmetto and root at a time.

 

These are the two areas of the Land that we are now working on. We now have 2 rain barrels at The Land, which makes gardening a lot easier. 

Below you can see the back property line, where we have not cut down the palmettos. This is what most of our property looked like two years ago.

clearing palmettos

 

Phase 5 - in progress...


Over Christmas we encountered yet another setback, as our  wood chipper's engine gave out, just as we were hoping to start the wood chipping process back up. The engine is at the doctor, and we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Since we're not able to use the wood chipper, the palmetto leaves are piling up, but we have instead put our focus into the vegetable garden. Last year we did the preliminary work of clearing the area for the garden, and we did grow a few things before we got flooded. 

However, we just scratched the surface, and we are now digging down a foot or so to get all the roots up, so that we can plant a big kitchen garden that can supply our family of seven. 

This past week the kids and I expanded the gardening area, by doubling the size, and we are uprooting one area at a time. We already have potatoes, onion, beets, carrots and chard growing, and we're hoping to put sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and more in the new growing area, which gets even more sun than our first part of the vegetable garden area.

pea plant
 

Not too long ago, my daughter and I found 29 gardening sticks that someone was throwing out, and these have enhanced the security of the parameter, which previously just included a palmetto-stick fencing. We've now tied a white plastic ribbon around the entire garden area, and we hope that in addition to the palmetto sticks, this will help keep the deer out. 

 


onion plants

 

For a little extra deer protection, we've also been planting onion around the perimeter, as deer do not like the onion smell, so with the three different barriers, we're hoping to keep most of our crops to ourselves. The palmetto sticks have sharp little spikes, but the deer could easily jump over, so we hope the white ribbon will offer more protection.

 

natural deer protection for garden



When we complete Phase 5, we're hoping to start bringing some of the fruit trees over from our house, because we're running out of space, and we need more growing space for our plant and tree nursery venture at the house. 

Then there's taking down the big trees and filling up the entire area, where the house and gardens will be. It's quite a feat...especially on a teacher's budget, but by doing most of the work ourselves, we hope to be able to keep the cost down as much as possible. 

Looking back on the two years after purchasing our 1 acre of land, it is clear that owning our own piece of woodland has made an enormous difference in our family's life. The biggest change is probably that we decided to become a family of seven shortly after signing, and our little one has had such a different experience growing up than his older siblings, who grew up in the city. 

Most of all owning The Land means that we all have a place we can go seek serenity, whenever we need to. Our kids have such a different life learning how to farm, play in the woods, and just discovering the benefits of hard work, as they can see with their own eyes, how this once palmetto jungle is now an area, where they can play and hang out because of their hard work.

We are fortunate to have great neighbors both here at the house and around the land, but in the two years, since we acquired The Land, our neighborhood has undergone quite a transformation. Unfortunately our community has become the hot spot for developers and tiny small houses are popping up all around the Land, meaning that the woods around us are facing extinction. 

We are so thankful that we have an entire acre, because it means that even when it all gets built up, we still have some space between ourselves and the neighbors. 

For now we enjoy being surrounded by the woods, and our children have even created their own nature society, which helps clean up the streets, because of their experience with cleaning up all the trash that is constantly finding its way into our wetland area. 

Buying the land has enriched our lives in so many ways, and we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to get this experience.

You can read more about the land and our story below.

The Land - Our Story - Part I - Dreaming of Potential

The Land- Our Story - Part II - The Island

The Land - Our Story - Part III - The Video

The Land - The 2020 Flood  

And for future updates on our dreams, you can always look under The Land tab in the top navigation bar.

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