Spring Assessment of Progress

Spring assessment

It has become a bit of a spring tradition for me to take an inventory of the plants growing at our house each year, not including all the wild growing ones (violets, dandelions, chickweed, lamb’s quarters, plantain, etc.). A few of the things in the following list were here when we moved in, but the rest has been planted by us over the last three years. We still have much more we intend to plant this season, but here’s what we are working with so far.

Blue salvia
Orange marigolds
Yellow marigolds
Asiatic lilies
Pink roses
Yellow roses
Some kind of multicolor hybrid rose
Light pink crepe myrtles
Dark pink crepe myrtles
Sweet William
Denver Daisies
Rose of Sharon
Pink purslane
Orange purslane
Bee balm
Pink lantana
Yellow lantana
Lily of the valley
Blue torenias
Lavender torenias
Violet torenias
Garden sage
White sage
Lemon balm
Red clover
Green bell peppers
Red bell peppers
Butternut squash
Green beans
Evening primrose
Redbud tree
Aloe Vera
Ghost flower

And my mother-in-law bought me two elderberry trees as a Mother’s Day gift! Unfortunately, we don’t have room for those here, so she has agreed to let us plant them at her house, which is not far from us.

That probably doesn’t sound like much to some people, but we are not working with a large space. Our entire lot is about 1/8 of an acre, and that includes our driveway, where our house sits, and where our shed sits, so our actual garden/yard space is much smaller. We also live right in the middle of city limits with neighbors yards butted right up to ours on three sides, and a street on the fourth side. By most standards, an urban or suburban homestead is 1/4 of an acre or smaller. We are doing a lot with less than half of that!

Some other things we are working with to make our small space more efficient:

Compost bin
Rain barrel
2 veggie gardens
1 herb garden
2 berry patches
A few flower beds
Wood pile
Fire pit
Retractable laundry line

Maybe our next adventure will be chickens, but it’s not happening this season. It’s time to focus on our growing family this summer.

Don’t let a small space stop you from achieving greater sustainability and self sufficiency. Start small if you must (we did), get creative, and work with what you have. This did not happen overnight, and it’s always a work in progress. We try to accomplish a couple new things each year. We usually have some plant casualties each season, and we are learning as we go, but we learn from our mistakes and keep getting better at it. There are only so many books you can read before you just stick your hands in the dirt and give it a go. We have also had a lot of help from our families (for whom we are eternally grateful) in the process of making our little house a homestead. I especially love this old, little house we call home. It needs a lot of work, and we are slowly working on it a little bit each year as well. We plan to paint the inside with bold colors because we are very colorful people, and life is too short for beige!

My goals to be accomplished still this season include building an archway to let our squash climb vertically, and planting a LOT more veggies! What is your one goal to move toward greater sustainability this year? That’s all you need is just one small goal each year. Go for it.

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