This giant sunny lawn was the perfect location for an urban farm.
This is how looked before:
Earthly Arts began the backyard farm project with sheet mulching every square inch of lawn in the back yard. First, a layer of overlapping cardboard was laid over the entire space. Next, 40 cubic yards of horse manure from a nearby stable was layered about 6 inches thick on top of the cardboard. Finally, a layer of 6 inches of straw and dried leaves were added. This rotted in place for 6 months of the rainy season. After the rains ended, irregular shaped beds for the vegetables and fruits were shaped in the interior of the yard. Over the next 2 years, Earthly Arts planted 26 varieties of fruit trees around the perimeter of the property including: pears, persimmons, apples, pomegranates, peaches, cherries, mulberries, apricots, plums, lemons, limes, and oranges.
And this is how it looked after 1 to 7 years later:
(click on the image to see full size photo or to scroll through them)
As part of the design process, spaces were left fallow to allow for a tiny cottage to be properly situated, room for a greenhouse for plant propagation, and space for getting a flock of chickens later. This farm project was clearly going to take place over several years, but it was important to build good soils and get the fruit trees going in the beginning.
Over 8 years, the small outbuilding out of salvaged wood and reclaimed windows was built, a rainwater catchment tank was brought in, chicks became egg laying pets, a bunny was rescued and made resident, drip irrigation installed, a greenhouse built, bees established, 4 wooden compost bins built out of reclaimed wood, and of course countless pounds of delicious, organic, local produce admired and consumed.