Ted's Beds: edible landscaping
My teammate and friend Ted is a Marine helicopter pilot. He's also a pentathlete, having returned from Afghanistan. He and his wife Sarah were interested in foodscaping their yard, came to me with lots of enthusiasm, and we went to work. This is an example of what you can do when not trying to do everything for free. Things get done right when you want them to, and they end up looking great. Day 1: 15 yards of mulch wheelbarrowed in, raised beds built.
Day 2: raised beds filled with brush, foodwaste, and compost. On-contour swales dug. The swales catch what water does fall in Colorado Springs, and help store it deep in the soil. It's not necessarily how MUCH water you get, but rather how well (and how many times) you use it.
Same soil prep as usual. Branches, foodwaste, soil, bonemeal, gypsum, and greensand. If you fill your beds with raw organic matter, you don't have to buy as much compost. Doing so is also conducive to good soil structure and water retention. Also, each of those carrots acts like a slow-release ball of water that'll slowly wick right into the root zone. Colorado Springs Food Rescue redistributes food that would have otherwise been thrown away. What can be eaten goes to those who need it: homeless shelthers, soup kitchens, shelters for displaced teens, low-income neighborhoods etc. Inedible food gets turned back into soil. Waste streams are great.
Apple, peach, pear, seaberry. Planted just as it got dark. Swales mulched.
Raised beds planted with tomatoes, tomatillos, zucchini, summer squash, basil, carrots, hollyhocks, calendula, echinacea, onions, and watermelon. Trees looking great in the background. We had a TON of rain this spring (over about a week), so hopefully those roots are diving deep and getting well established. In my opinion, everyone should have food in their yard, be it a little or a lot. Developing a connection to where your food comes from is an incredible step in conservation and long-term happiness.
My friend Sanjay's dad made these tools on his forge. They're ridiculously useful, and as durable as anything.
Edible landscaping as an industry is drastically undervalued, or rather just unknown. Who wouldn't want blueberries in their yard? Green Dreams in Florida is doing great things in the sector. I heard about them on Diego Footer's Permaculture Voices podcast (which is information-dense, cutting edge, and fantastic). Roots to Fruits Edible Landscaping in Michigan is also a great business, run by Mark Angelini, an awesome guy who was an instructor at my PDC.