Once Upon a Garden

Once upon a time I lived in a house with a decently sized yard. Nothing spectacularly huge, but it was enough to be able to grow lots of fruits and veggies, have a swing set, and still have plenty of grassy area to enjoy. It was a great place to grow up, but I never appreciated it enough until I moved away, each time moving to home with progressively smaller and smaller yards, until my current home which has absolutely no yard. My last home had a small yard, but again, you only fully realize what a great thing you had when you no longer have access to it.

Recently, I've seen people with yards I can only dream of owning, and to my amazement, they don't take full advantage of the blessing they have.
This list was made based on things I've seen, but lest you think I'm just being judgmental, the vast majority are based on mistakes that I personally made and would like to not repeat.

If I had a yard...

...I would make sure that it was used for constructive purposes, and not just as a junk yard to store all sorts of broken and dangerous things which I was too lazy to toss, recycle, or repurpose.
...I wouldn't let it become so overrun by weeds, grasses, and thorns that it becomes so utterly unusable and that snakes and other wild animals move in.
...I would plan very well before starting anything, so I don't need to keep ripping up everything and buying new things to "redo it" to suit my taste.

...I would actually go into the garden to see what is happening instead of neglecting it and letting it go wild..

...Before buying something in a store, I would actually check the garden to see if we have that same food in the garden already ripe and ready to be eaten.

...I would grow as many vegetables as possible and plant as many fruit trees as I could.
...I would menu plan around what is growing in our garden and subside mostly off that and not buy the majority of my produce in the store.

...I would make it be both functional and beautiful and not chose one or the other. A beautiful garden that has no function is a bit wasteful, and a functional garden with no beauty is a shame.
...I would use beautiful vegetable and fruit producing plants to decorate the yard, like zucchini blossoms and tomato flowers, instead of wasting space on non edible flowers.

...I would garden myself and not pay someone else to do it.
...I would use gardening as a more productive form of exercise than running in place on a treadmill.
...I would use the garden as a hands on classroom to teach my kids about science, including horticulture, biology, physics, and chemistry, in addition to teaching responsibility.

...I would stock up on gardening supplies months in advance and mark into my calendar when I should get things done, so I don't let gardening slide and only start planting things when it is too late in the season for them to be able to produce fruits (or vegetables) before the season ends.

...I would leave my kids a place to play, hopefully one that would be multi-purpose- beautiful, functional, and fun.

...I would definitely not use it to house rabbits, as they are pests and will only serve to undo all the hard work you put into your garden.
...I would build a nice large cage for chickens, giving them enough room inside to run around and have their space and "free range" so they're happy enough to lay eggs, but still ensure that they don't escape and eat up what is growing in the garden and pooping where people walk.
...and it was a big enough yard, I would get goats, as a source of milk and meat. But only if the yard was big enough that I wouldn't smell them and their noise wouldn't bother the neighbors.

...I would build cages for plants that are most likely to be eaten by pests.
...I would make things from recycled, upcycled, and cheaper things, even if that means I need to compromise a little from my original plans.
...I would keep a careful spreadsheet of all costs and expenses related to the yard in comparison to the savings to ensure that the yard stays frugal instead of becoming a money trap.

Do you have a yard? Do you think you take full advantage of the space? Why or why not? 
What kind of list can you make about things you'd like to do differently with your yard to make your yard be more frugal?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I have a yard - and so wish I would do all the things you said above, plus more. Just saw my Permaculture teacher's home (turns out she moved 5 minutes away from me) and so so so wish I would do all that - did take a phone number down for someone who can install gray water. Still feel I need to hire someone to help with the garden - but goal is one day to do it all myself.


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