Instructables

Domestically Sustainable Agriculture - Construction, Planting, and Harvesting

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In an effort to reduce future food costs, and create a lasting source of mainly vegetables and some fruits, we decided to invest some time and money into creating a sustainable garden. We all know the taste and experience of a home grown fruit or vegetable, and the satisfaction of enjoying a domestic masterpiece. It is not shipped from a far off land or an agricultural company, but rather it comes straight from the soil in your back yard.

I wanted to show you how we were able to experience this satisfaction, and I hope you can improvise some of my tips and adapt them to your own garden.

I wanted to publish this Instructable in time for the gardening contest, so I will be adding more pictures and information about the remaining crops that I will harvest!
 
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Step 1: Find your plot

Planning is key, because you must know where you are planting, the dimensions of the plot, and plot characteristics to produce the best possible yield.

When choosing your plot, look for:
  • Self accessibility (is it easy to get to?)
  • Sunlight (at least 5 hours)
  • Water accessibility
  • Land quality
  • Threats (animals, bugs, etc..)
  • Ways to reduce costs (along an existing fence will reduce one side of your costs, or along the side of a barn or wall will reduce one side)

Update: April 9th: We will actually be extending our plot to include a larger area, enclosing some raspberry bushes, and an Asian pear tree. This will increase our price for fencing a little bit more, but it will be worth it.
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Great post and very nice garden!

Definitely yes, keep big and small plants separately. There are, though, some combinations of big and small that can be beneficial. For example, a lane of tomato plants and lettuce. This is supposed to work in warm climates, with lettuce initially protecting the tomatoes and the other way around when the tomato plants become bigger, that is full summer.

Another purportedly beneficial association is that of cucurbitaceae (watermelon, zucchini, etc) and bean-producing plants, also especially in warm regions. The former protects the soil from the sun, whereas the later helps to fix nitrogen in the soil (thanks to especial root-associated bacteria). The bean plant needs to be kept raised with a stick or something, so a third component in this system could be a corn plant or similar.

Strawberries are much better alone, and in a position where you can daily remove any weeds. But protect them from birds, the bastards pick the best fruits in the best moment of the day, usually when you are not there to scare them away!
a.steidl1 year ago
Breaded and deep fried zucchini slices, FTW.
a.steidl1 year ago
Wabbits are notoriously allergic to lead.
freeman211 year ago
very nice, i like this idea
timsbro20003 years ago
Dear have no trouble at all with 6 foot or even 8 foot barriers. BUT that doesn't mean your fence wont keep them out. The real deterrent is that dear hate being in enclosed spaces. So while they could jump the fence they shouldn't enter a garden with even relatively high fencing.
*deer
We find the "fence intensive" method works. Double fence lines, short then tall on the inside.

And now for a programmers joke-         ! deer

[The exclaimation point symbol is sometimes called a 'bang' when reading code aloud.]
Totysheep2 years ago
You can also slice it real thin and dry it, dice it and then freeze it so you can use it in pasta sauce in the winter. Or dip slices in batter and fry or fry thin chips without batter.
wirechief5 years ago
A 20 gauge shotgun works well too. Look at it this way, rabbit stew.
More like rabbit puree
M F tornadoboy5 years ago
a 12 gauge will make swiss rabbit, not a 20 gauge. I am looking for a source for 100 rabbit skins inexpensively. I want to make the rabbitskin blanket project.
You have to come to our backyard it's just full of them feel free to make me one blanket too!
I tried the liquid fence but no luck, a friend advised to spray plants with hot sauce and it worked on my plants, but I have a lawn that they are intrested in more!
popa272723 years ago
so i tried broccoli this year and the rabbits took out all my plants, i noticed its been a couple of years since you posted this so i figured you probably have had a lot of trial and error...so what would you recommend to do to protect my broccoli next year from rabbits and i was wondering if you also knew how to save strawberries from chipmunks, just as they are starting to turn red the buggers pluck them and eat them over on a nearby chopping block i use for cutting firewood
gregolma4 years ago
Try the "french intensive" method.   Dig down to subsoil and fork it up then re-fill the beds.
Buskieboy4 years ago
Another option/addition is to plant a border of "deer repellent plants" such as Sage Peony, Poppy, Mock Orange and Morning Glory to name a few.  Be sure to plant some inside as well to fully discourage the rascals!
Would not a finer mesh screen around the bottom of the fence keep them out?  I think that would be a good initial deterrent. 
xenoxx4 years ago
Coolio, you got me inspired now.
Doug.
rocklocker5 years ago
A shotgun will make a mess out of a little rabbit better to use a .22 or a powerfull pellet gun and go for a head shot. Rabbits killed before the first hard frost may not be save to eat because of tularemia I think it's called. A good repellent is fox urine. Any good sporting goods store catering to hunters will have it. Put a few drops on some cottonballs amd space them about two feet apart around the perimeter of your garden. Replenish as needed.
does anyone have any idea how fox urine is procured? just curious and slightly concerned...
First you invite several foxes over and let them drink all the beer they want then....OH WAIT!! Thats my  fraternity!
Human urine also can repel some critters, and you don't have to worry about buying it and carting it around, though some may object to seeing you apply it.
Took me a moment to dawn on me WHY anyone would object to seeing one APPLYING human urine around the garden, LOL.
I'd suggest a .17 HMR for the accuracy and thriftiness. It provides a much cleaner and quicker kill than a .22. Look into it and you'll end up getting one. I guarantee.
While I am new to gardening, last summer i had a tomato plant in a rock garden. it grew fast and BIG. We also have deer. once they discovered it, the battle was on. I took a strip of 4ft fencing and staked it around the tomato plant. They next decided to eat it over the top. so i took a piece of clear plastic and attached it to the top. This worked . This year, i have a raised bed with 4ft fence and because ot its size (3ft x 24ft) I am covering it with another strip of 4ft bfencing (attached on one side, lenghtwise). I hope you find this helpful.
A king snake is one of the best rabbit eliminators you can use.  You can buy one off of the internet.  They're organic to boot!

www.theruralindependent.com
Why not catch them and fatten them up for some delicious stew!
AmyLuthien4 years ago
Dogs are good for keeping rabbits away too.  I recommend keeping a hatchet handy for when your dog gets one however . . .
Brennn10 (author)  AmyLuthien4 years ago
Well this past fall, I did accidentally run over a young rabbit with my lawn mower.  Needless to say, I am never mowing in that same spot again.
I got one like that a couple years ago, sucked him right out of his hole (what was he doing burrowing in my lawn for anyway?) and nastiness ensued.  Took me a while to mow over that spot without shuddering! 

It's yucky, killing "Thumper" but necessary, otherwise they'll over-breed and then problems really start!  I will say though, I once had a large (10 lb) domestic rabbit buck that had the run of my backyard.  He pretty much kept all the other rabbits out.  So that's also a thought on rabbit control.  Easier to control one than a hundred.
nate1214 years ago
this is a great guide on gardening i wish we had more room to do this but were stuck with a normal garden.

also try planting some clover outside of the fencing bunnys around he will take clover over most other plants...in fact i've never had trouble with bunnys eating the garden before
Blaik4 years ago
You might also want to dig a small trench (no more than 6 ") at the base of the fence then put the small wire fencing down in the trench before attaching it to the larger fence, then fill the trench back in. This should help keep out most all pesky rodents (other than a flying squirrel, but that's a whole different story).
pbritton4 years ago
news paper/cardboard and bark mulch works great for the paths
pbritton4 years ago
for a roaring start to your garden try adding at least half compost if you've got a good source.
pbritton4 years ago
I agree with Wayne31r, I have completely converted half of my lawn to a very successful veg garden and we used a combination of news paper and cardboard and have had no problems with any of our crops or weeds for 2 years. you have to hill potatoes but the labor saved is huge.
georion5 years ago
I cant believe your deer cant clear a 6 foot fence!!!!!!! Ive seen deer here clear 8 feet without a problem--deer are something else-especially Whitetails!!!!!
Brennn10 (author)  georion5 years ago
They haven't cleared ours yet, so I guess we have been fortunate.
I was just surprised that 6 foot would stop em!!!! not here. and i hope yours never ever jump higher1!!! deer -rabbits and now armadillos--i'm about to give up gardening!!
Brennn10 (author)  georion5 years ago
Uh-oh!
awang8 Brennn105 years ago
I think a rhinoceros is on the way to your garden. Super-uh-oh!
georion awang85 years ago
Cfuse--a little more reading-a little less forming coclusions. awang8-- what do you mean? georion--due to be nice policy do not continue in this conversation,ok? OK!!! Bye ya'll.
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