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Friday, April 17, 2015

Suburban Farmer


We live in interesting times. American society has moved so far from its agrarian, hands-on past. Much of our society simply has no survival skills, much less life-sustaining skills.

When we want a meal, we nuke it.

When we have a flat tire, we call the auto club.

It’s almost to the point that if a light bulb burns out, we call an electrician.

One essential skill that we need to rediscover is gardening and growing our own food.


If a person does not have a big back yard, container gardening is a perfectly viable option.


We love our manicured lawns in suburbia. We water them and pay someone to keep them perfect year around. I love my front lawn, but I have even more back lawn.

Do I need two lawns?

What if I were to use the water I shower the back yard with to have a delightful lawn, to grow food instead?

California is in a drought and perhaps two manicured lawns is one too many.


I plan to slowly convert my back yard to a growing space. I say slowly because I have to learn how to become a suburban farmer.


When my house was built 26 years ago, one of the selling features was an RV pad where I could park my motorhome or travel trailer.

I liked having a large concrete patio on the side of the house, but I have never had an RV. Perhaps it was the latent prepper in me that did not want an expensive vehicle that I would use once in a blue moon. If I desired to go on a road trip in a motorhome, I could rent one.

The case could be made that a motorhome is a good bug-out vehicle—and they are—but I’m not sufficiently convinced that I will need to bug out to warrant buying a $100K vehicle that would park on my dedicated RV slab.

The RV pad could be used for container gardening rather easily.

Making above-ground beds would be a fun project and there is a water source right there.


That is on my “what-if” list.


I have always loved gardening. Growing up, I always planted vegetables in the enormous back yard of the home at 838 Broadway in Wasco California.

Heck, I even raised chickens too.

I have a friend with suburban chickens, but that time in my life is past.

When I built my house, I wanted it to be beautiful, so I focused my gardening on flowers and shrubs that would make my home more beautiful.

It’s not that I don’t want my property to be beautiful, but rather that I want my land space to have a purpose that transcends sheer aesthetics.

Currently, I have lemon and lime trees growing in containers. Also in containers, I am growing two types of tomatoes, two types of eggplant, green peppers, cucumbers, and even more rosemary.

My foray back to being a gentleman gardener has been one small step.

As I write this, I am on the eve of my first big step. Tomorrow, I will purchase moringa oleifera saplings to be put it dirt in the back yard in place of roses.


The moringa oleifera tree’s leaves and seed pods are edible. It is a beautiful tree as well. Thus, I can have the aesthetics of a beautiful yard, but have a sustainable food source that I can harvest regularly.


It is my fervent belief that this wonderful nation of ours has to relearn some forgotten skills—like growing food—and needs to reevaluate what we believe beautiful landscaping to be.

Granted, front-yard farming could make for ugly neighborhoods if done wrong, but I submit there is a win here.

We are concerned in California about wasting water. How about a tax credit for suburban farmers to tear out lawns and plant life-sustaining growing spaces?

Imagine the bump to the economy—not just from reallocating water usage from aesthetic goals to life-sustaining goals—but the freed-up income that home gardens would produce.

Less money going to food means more money going to purchasing goods and services that in turn increase the revenue of the state.

Get gardening, people.


It’s worth the effort.

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