Green Daddy Journal, April 24, 2010

During the last 6 months I have learned quite a lot about what to do and not to do when choosing a place to live.
When we first went around looking for a house to rent we were focusing on 3 things; Rent,location (how far to workplace) and how nice it was to live in. Today I think I would probably not have chosen our current residence. When I think of the price I might wanna find a place that has more growing space even if it means paying a bit more rent. When looking at a place to rent or buy please try to see it during a heavy rain shower, especially if in the tropics. I believe the reason is obvious.
One of the problems with growing veggies here is the rain which can be so heavy and forceful as to beat down almost anything. In the future I plan to make some type of greenhouse or at least transparent plastice to protect the veggies during rainy season. Another problem in cities are neighbors. We are a bit unlucky to have a neighbor to one side who bake Tempe all day long with woodburning oven and the smoke is all around our plants. Also we live in a corner where most of the cars like to turn so we got their backends pointing into the garden quite often. Drainage is another problem for cities. Many people dont consider growing anything so they cement their yards. We have an area of 8sqm that turns into a dirty swimmingpool every time it rains.

Here is a list of things I hope to ensure before moving into our next house:

Close neighbors not having any business or activities that send pollution our way directly or indirectly.
The growing space is sufficient (in our case minimum 60sqm).
Sun and shade is easy to control (creating shade is easier than redirecting sun).
At least one tree that provides something edible.
Non-toxic roofing so water catchment will be feasible.

The way I plan to use the growing space is as follows:
50sqm will be raised beds using my modified version of squarefoot gardening which should provide enough veggies for our family (2 adults and 4 kids). 10sqm will be aquaponic growbeds connected to a 4000L fishtank. This setup should be able to provide enough food for our family as well as feed for 10 chickens and the fish in the tank. An aquaponics setup as described can produce at least 200kg of fish yearly and 200kg of veggies if run well and in tropics where there is no downtime.

I will provide schematics, records and pictures when we move and start implementing the ideas.

The only thing we are really missing when living in the city is a way to provide enough fruit, but I guess we can increase the fish production and trade for some untill we buy land ouside the city and can start our foodforest.

The way I plan to use my raised beds are by first grouping plants into the amount of sun, water and wind they like and after that I combine companion planting with how long they live. This way the maintenance will be easier and hopefully more productive. I also plan to make lots of compost and to find ways to attract helpful wildlife, maybe with a small pond etc.

Questions and suggestions are velcome.