Surviving in Suburbia: How one family turned their suburban lot into a productive mini-farm

By: JenMar

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest

Gather together a group of preparedness minded folks and the conversation invariably turns to pulling up stakes and moving to the country to create a self-reliant home and life. But, for many, moving is not an option. Work, family, kids, health, personal responsibilities are all valid reasons keeping people in their present location. It may not be what we want, but it is where we are right now. We don’t have to postpone our path to self-reliance or preparing for a crisis, though, we can start where we are, with what we have.

Even though a vast country property might be ideal, a large suburban lot can be just as productive. It can be a place to learn and practice, make mistakes; a place to build skills and confidence and learn how to live a life not reliant on a consumeristic society.

When I moved to my property 15 years ago I did so with the idea that I would make it a productive mini farm, with all the pieces of a traditional farm, only smaller. Through the years we have worked and built, reevaluated and rethought what this farm can produce. It’s a creative process that relies on calculated rotation of livestock and produce for maximum production.

This is what I’d like to share, in hopes of inspiring other city dwelling pack mates to put their property to maximum use while life’s circumstances keeps them in town.

A Note to Clarify:  This article is primarily about how I survive in suburbia managing my property to produce food for a two person household. I won’t be talking about alternative energy, heat, water, OPSEC, guns, ammo, or security, although those are all important topics.

Ok, let me give you a visual to set the stage.

I live outside of a mid-sized town (about 30,000 people) in Southern California.  The homes in my area are zoned for all livestock, except horses. The City allows us 33 animal units per home, which is calculated based on a value given to each species. For example, a sheep is 3 units and hogs are 6 units, while chickens and rabbits are ½ a unit each. I can create a mix of animals as long as I don’t go over 33 units.

My property is 1/3-acre, about 85’ wide and 100’ deep. It is all flat and useable. The house fronts to the west, and sits about 30’ from the street, so I have a large front yard with good west and south exposure. Our climate is Mediterranean and the growing season is almost year-round. With small hoop houses I can grow 365-days, when needed.

The barn is the hub of activity. It is 12’x24’, runs east to west and houses most of our livestock on a rotational basis. To the west is the chicken coop portion (6’x12’) with an outside run that is 8’x12’. The center of the barn is an open space for feed, tack, and supplies. On the south wall of the center section hangs three rabbit cages, for two does and a buck. The cages have corrugated galvanized roofing that attaches to the front bottom of each cage and extends through the barn wall at an angle. We lovingly refer to this as the “poop chute”.  On the outside of the barn, below the “poop chute” is a collection bin. The idea is — the droppings roll down into the collection bin, to be used in the garden or compost pile. Litters of meat rabbits are grown out in an 8’ growing cage that is mounted to the wall below the doe and buck cages. When not in use the growing cage is removed and stored in the barn rafters. The section to the east gets the most activity as we rotate in and out market lambs, pigs, meat chickens and meat ducks, throughout the year. From the east side, I have the ability to erect an outside corral of different sizes using livestock panels and gates.

There are three 4’x12’ and nine 4’x8’ raised vegetable beds, a squash patch, a 3’x20’ berry patch, dwarf and espaliered fruit trees, trellised grape vines, a dedicated herb garden, and medicinal and perennial herbs interplanted in the flower beds.

The 10’x12’ greenhouse is where plant life begins, whether from seeds, cuttings, divisions or bulbs. Since we have such a long growing season the greenhouse is primarily used to start seeds, store tools and supplies, rather than growing vegetables during the winter. It’s also my quiet hang out.

The front yard is part of the farm as well. Planter beds have blueberries, herbs, flowers and one very young pomegranate tree.

So—how do we make all this work? How does this small piece of land produce food for its family?

Carefully, thoughtfully, deliberately, rotationally and with a whole lot of humor and flexibility.

Our life revolves around junior livestock shows, eight months of the year to be exact, so meat production on the farm has to intertwine around that schedule.

Here’s how we do it:

For most of January the farm is preparing for new livestock and the growing season. The barn is cleaned and outside corrals put up. Feed and feeder lambs are purchased. Fruit trees, berries and grapes are pruned, fertilized and mulched. Cool weather seeds are direct sown, while many other seeds are started in the greenhouse.

In February, the show season begins, every weekend for the next two months. Succession planting of cool weather crops begins, and more seeds are started in the greenhouse. Outside vegetable beds are tilled and mulched, and bean poles and pea fencing is put in place.

Depending on the rainfall, we are already pulling weeds and mulching garden paths by mid-March. Direct sown seed planting continues, as does seed starting in the greenhouse.

So far, life has been rather routine, lambs get fed, seeds are planted, hens lay eggs, and so on. But, that’s all about to change.

By April, life gets a bit more interesting and busy. That’s when we breed the does and bring in a few turkey chicks, which are brooded in the garage. By the time the chicks feather out and can live in the barn the weather is nice enough that the lambs don’t need (or want) to be in the barn. The show schedule has also slowed to two weekends a month. Half the lamb space in the barn becomes a growing pen for the turkeys. A week or so before the does kindle we set up the 8’ growing cage on the wall below the does. The chicken coop is cleaned and all bedding is moved to either the garden or the compost pile. Nesting boxes are refilled with shavings from the turkey brooding pen. By month end the entire garden has been planted with the first wave of crops.

In May the garden is really taking off and we are seeing the fruits of our labors. Harvesting spring crops is regular now. Winter squash and pumpkins started in the greenhouse are planted in the squash patch. The doe’s, bred in April, kindle. The turkeys are growing fast and the lambs get a reprieve from the hectic show schedule. Life takes on a rhythm of planting, harvesting, mulching, watering, and weeding until June, when the first berries and early summer fruits are ready to pick. The kits are moved to the growing cage.

July is a big month because of the State Fair. All the lambs attend the fair, but only two return home to be shown at the county fair. The others are sold. July’s heat means we must be diligent with watering, weeding and mulching. The first tomatoes come in July, along with mid-season berries and the last of early summer fruits. Harvesting and replanting is weekly now. Food preservation begins in earnest this month.

Everything we’ve done so far all culminates in August. The garden is bursting, animals are growing, food preservation is non-stop, and just to make things a bit more interesting we throw in the county fair—a week away from home, in the hottest month so far. The rabbits, turkeys and the back-up market lamb, not being shown at the fair, are all processed for the freezer before we leave. At the end of the week we come home with an empty trailer. All fair animals have been sold at auction. By the end of the month the barn is empty, except for the laying hens and breeding rabbits. We get to take a deep breath, for a little while, at least. The week after school starts 25 meat chicks arrive.

The hot weather in September means I can brood chicks in the garage without using the heat lamp much, saving on my electric bill. When they are ready they’ll take over the entire sheep pen in the barn. If the weather cools enough, the does will be bred again so the litter can be butchered over Christmas break. Some of the garden is slowing down, while some of it seems to be rejuvenated. Summer squashes are bountiful, in stark contrast to the dying bean, pea and cucumber vines. We continue planting root crops, but the weather is too hot for lettuce greens. Late summer fruits and berries are picked and canned or frozen. The chicken coop bedding is cleaned out and composted or used as mulch in the garden. The bedding from the sheep trailer becomes bedding for the nesting boxes.

October is a month of contradictions. While we harvest vegetables, potatoes, squash, pumpkins, late berries and a variety of fall fruits, much of the garden is finishing its growing season. We may get a few more plantings of short term crops like beets, radishes and carrots, but we’ll have to wait for the weather to cool before planting cool weather vegetables. A winter hog arrives early in the month and will be raised in the outside sheep corral through the temperate fall months. By the time the weather gets colder the meat birds will be gone and the hog can have an indoor and outdoor space. We don’t get freezing weather so raising hogs in the fall is much better than the heat of the summer when the barn is full of other animals. Kits are moved to the growing cage.

Much of the garden comes to an end in November and is replaced with cool weather vegetables and leafy greens. The meat chickens are processed around Thanksgiving. Some of the smaller ones are kept whole, but the rest will be cut in half, giving me chicken each week for about 50-weeks. The hog gets the whole west end of the barn, now. The meat rabbits are growing fast.

In December, we plant a variety of peas for an early spring harvest. Spinach and some hearty lettuces can also handle the cooler temperatures. Over the Christmas break we butcher the meat rabbits. The hog will be dropped at the butcher in January as we head north to buy another group of feeder lambs. The only animals left are the laying hens and the breeding rabbits. We get a break for a few weeks, before the whole cycle starts again.

 

In the course of a year my 1/3-acre suburban lot has produced 4-6 market lambs (1 for the freezer), 3 turkeys, over 30 meat rabbits, 25 meat chickens, one hog, hundreds of eggs and countless pounds of fruits and vegetables; proof that it doesn’t take a large farm to grow and raise your own food.

Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –   A gift certificate for $150 off of  rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of  TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, and a 4″ Heavy Duty WaterBoy Well Bucket a $106 value and a WaterBoy Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products for a total prize value of over $867.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason Farms.com and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
  3. Third place winner will receive –  International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.

Comments

  1. I’m curious as to why they can have hogs, but not horses. I’d think more people would complain out the pig smell than the horse smell. Just wondering.

    • Joan–The City requires a minimum of a 1/2 acre to have horses. I find it odd that I could , if I wanted to, raise a steer. I had thought about mini cattle at one time, but that would take too much of the garden our of production.

      As for the neighbors, most don’t even realize how many animals we have at any given time. My next door neighbor asked me one year when DD was getting her lambs, they had been here for 4 months and she never realized it.

  2. Wow! I am impressed. I got on to look for answers to a hay question and read this instead…but maybe this would be a good place to place this question since livestock depend on hay during the lean months. Does anyone have experience in storing hay seed for SHTF scenarios?

    • Hay is grass grown tell it set seed tops. While there are types of grass that do better than others whatever grows native will work.

  3. Well done JenMar!

  4. mom of three says:

    A lot of work for sure this sounded like our life except no hogs, or chicken’s. We had Shorthorn cattle, and sheep, large garden’s, and two rows of raspberries! I’ve thought long and hard to go back to the land, but for us we can’t due to out business, and school. But it great to know you can do all of that we have a second property, that is 60×130 now with the mobile home, gone it’s amazing how much room we have. Great article, thanks for the insight on your very busy mini farm.

  5. Almost There says:

    WOW, excellent JenMar. I really liked how you wrote about what happens each month. It allowed the reader to get a pretty good visual of what is going on. I have been contemplating making raised beds, especially where I live. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

  6. JenMar, thank you for your excellent article & descriptions of what u do each month. I’ve considered a similar plan for our yard, but part gets standing water during our wet season. Do u sell livestock at the jr shows & county fair too?
    So what kinds of things do your neighbors say? Do neighbors have various animals too? Do u sell any produce? or is it all for your family?

    • RedC — most of the small livestock is for our use, or for family. We do sell a few eggs, but nothing that makes a profit, just covers feed costs. The show lambs are a bit more complicated because at the state fair you have to win a breed division to qualify for the auction. If we sell lambs at the state fair they are usually going to another fair later in the fall. I have to say, raising sheep this way to more about raising a good kid, than a cost effective animal. As we parents jokingly say, “It’s a money suck”. Much more expensive than just buying a freezer lamb.

      The lamb she shows at the county fair is sold through the jr. livestock auction. That’s kind of her paycheck for the year, such as it is.

      Thankfully my neighbors are more live and let live kind of people. Some are interested in the process, some don’t care either way and some are puzzled why anyone would want to spend most of the year in a show barn, but then they are the one’s who sit on the sidelines of a sports field. Kind of the same thing.

      There are several neighbors who have chickens and one who has goats and miniture sheep, but those more hobbies than food production. There are also a few who have large veggie gardens.

      We don’t sell produce, it’s mostly for home use and family.

      Is there a way you can build up your low spots so they don’t hold water? Another idea would be to build taller raised beds, like 2′-3′ so the veggies are not affected by the water. Of course, you would have to wear waders when gardening:)

      • I don’t know how to build up low areas. Would that be w/ top soil or what/how? Building a raised chicken coop (about 10-12 inches above ground) is a possibility, w/ doors/ramps to the slightly higher ground. Can anyone tell me how to go about building up a low part of our yard?

        • RedC — I don’t know the layout of your property, but I’ll take a stab at it.

          When I first moved here we had a flooding problem too. Water puddled and flowed…towards the house, unfortunately.

          The solution was to bring in a guy with a Bobcat to grade and slope the ground so the water flowed in a direction so it could dissipate in a larger area. You have to remember, I live in So Cal so rain is not really an issue…most of the time. Also, my soil drains really well. It may puddle during heavy downpours, but within half an hour it’s all absorbed.

          My soil was pretty good, but we did amend it for added nutrients. If you grade your area and add lots of organic matter you should be able to create good growing soil.

          The raised coop is an option also, just be mindful of the critters that will live underneath. Plus if your hens lay under there you’ll have a heck of time getting them or the eggs out.

          My greenhouse is set on raised cement piers, about 10-12″ off the ground, but that’s so spilled dirt or water can go right through the floorboards.

          Hope that helps.

          • Thanks, very helpful. On a raised coop, we’d have to fence off area under the coop, to keep out the hens & critters/predators.
            As for bringing in someone w/ a babcat to raise the soil level in low areas, I’m not sure we want to invest that $$$ b/c we may be moving in the next year or 2, b/c of a job relocation. But we have some room to expand our garden areas & put up a sm coop & run w/out raising the soil levels. & I expect the coop to be small enough (& maybe build in 2 sections that can be disconnected) to move.
            To improve the soil, we have compost from years of composting, & can get free cattle manure from friends w/ a ranch nearby.

            • Babycatcher says:

              Our coop is raised on cinder blocks, with a wire mesh floor. I only need to clean under it twice a year( spring and fall). Keeps floor dry. Wish we could see a diagram of your yard, Red C, cuz I am pretty good at landscaping and improving drainage. We have a swale that cuts crosswise thru our 5 acres, but is partially lined in stone to cut down on erosion. We get water coming from two creeks, and the mountain behind the house.

              • BabyC, a swale or french drain are possibilities. I can hire a young guy to dig it -10-18 feet long, & do the rest myself. Seems like a french drain would make the surface more usable. I know from other guys who’ve done french drains, that it has to drain downhill & away from buildings, & the lowest corner of our yard is the back SE corner. & the wet area is a triangular area in that corner. That would significantly increase the usable space in our back yard. On ur coop raised on blocks, how do u clean the area underneath it? How high off the ground is it? I suppose 14-18 in high would be enough to reach under it w/ a broom or rake. Thanks for ur help.

                • You could consider deepening it and making a pond. Try a few water species. Wild rice, rice, water chestnuts, depending on where you live. I used to scoop eatergreens and use them for compost, very rich. Ducks. Plant water lovers like blueberries around it. Water is life, a nice little water pond couldn’t hurt, water your animals.

                  • Well, our yard isn’t that big. It’d have to be a very small pond & would likely dry up most summers, which is not good news for the life in the pond. Leaning toward a french drain at this pt., to increase productivity of the space.

  7. Babycatcher says:

    You are one busy gal! I am impressed! The interesting thing to me, is you manage it in such a way that the neighbors have accepted it and are comfortable with your mini- farm. Kudos, and may you have many more years of success!

    • I would bet most of my neighbors don’t even know (or care) what is going on. My two closest neighbors are fine with it, but I think that’s because they get free eggs when they feed for us:)

  8. Sweet mini farm! Do you buy feed for all your animals? I have 5 acres of mountainside so my farm isn’t really a farm, I call it a food forest, with raised beds around my house. I have chicken and contemplate rabbits. What had you choose lambs? Do you butcher 2 per year for the freezer?
    Great job. I consider 30000 fairly small, how far are you from a major metropolitan area?

    • We do buy feed for the hogs and especially for the sheep. Because they are show animals it’s a whole different world, kind of like feeding an athlete.

      The chickens and turkey’s free range a lot of the time, but we do supplement with bought feed and the rabbits get treats from the garden. When we have ducks they roam and get feed also.

      Because of the size of our property we don;t have enough room to graze, the sheep would chew that down in no time.

      We have sheep because that’s what I started raising 40 years ago and DD followed suit, but we both love them. If we had more property we’d have cattle, too.

      The next closest town is about 100,000 people. The big city is about an hour away.

  9. Georgia Peach says:

    Very impressive JenMar! Talk about getting the most out of your small piece of land! Curious about a couple of things.

    Do you rotate your crops or just buy soil enrichment for the beds every season?

    Since you don’t have any real grazing land, how much feed and hay do you have to purchase?

    Do you have plans for after TSHTF?

    Again, I’m very impressed with everything you’ve done!!

    • GP — We do rotate crops from bed to bed each year. The soil is really good, but we still augment it when we clean the barn and coop, and grass clippings and fall leaves are also added or composted.

      We have a few places where we can get free compost and some of the ranches have manure piles that we can get free manure from. In the early days we spent a lot of time building up the soil, even though it wasn’t that bad.

      The feed varies depending on who we’re feeding and what they need at the time. Chicks/turkey’s are fed a starter mix then moved to a grower mix until they are butchered. The rabbits get a balanced feed with treats from the garden. The kits are put on a grower mix until they are butchered. The hogs are fed a plain hog chow and then finished with the addition of corn.

      The lambs are the expensive one’s, and by no means a cost effective way to put meat in the freezer. Showing is our activity, like some people play sports. It’s just what we do. Their feed program is more dialed in as far as monitoring protein, fat, bulk, water and hay consumption because we are raising an animal for peak performance rather than just the freezer.

      Having said all that — I buy about 50-75 pounds of chicken, turkey, rabbit feed each month (about the same when we raise ducks). To raise a hog, I buy about 500-600 pounds.

      For the sheep, depending on whether we have 4 or 6, I buy about 2-3 bales of hay over 8-months. Then there is grain, oats, barley, beet pulp, supplements and vitamins. Crazy I know.

      If I was raising just a freezer lamb, I’d feed a 16% protein mixed sweet feed and hay calculated at 3-4% of their body weight.

      Right now, my SHTF plan is to shelter in place.

      • Georgia Peach says:

        You are wonderful to answer everyone’s questions so thoroughly! Thank you!!

        I’ve been considering raising a hog for butcher and even though my parents and grandparents did it growing up, I’m a bit intimidated. Have you had any problems raising hogs?

        We have a pond and wild ducks and geese. Am considering adding ducks in with the chickens. How has your experience been with them? Any advice?

        • GP — I haven’t had any problems raising hogs. It may be that I don’t grow them to the size most people say I should (350 pounds). That’s when they can cause a lot of damage to your facilities. I usually butcher at about 250-275.

          I think meat ducks are fun, although they are messy. As ducklings they play in their water ALL the time, which can make then chilled, causing illness, and making the pen very messy. We ended up putting a hanging wire plant basket over the water bowl so they couldn’t get in and splash.

          We’ve raised Rouen and Peking, but I much prefer the Peking when processed. Rouens are hard to pluck and have LOTS of little black pin feathers that don’t come out easily, so you end up with a messy carcass. The Pekings are plump and thick, with a nice clean skin.

          The hardest part is butchering ducks. Unlike meat chickens that are just fat, messy, blobs, and we are doing them a favor by butchering them, seriously:), ducks are fun with personalities.

          But, butchering ducks is harder than chickens. They like to hold onto their feathers, they are greasy and hard to hold when plucking. We’ve shot more than one across the yard when we lost our grip using the plucking machine.

          The bonus is duck live pate. It was so easy to make and turned out great.

          My advice would be to start with a small batch if you can, to see how you like it. We did this with all our small livestock. You may have to buy from a farm store, but the extra cost is worth it as a test run. We started out with 6 and then raised 12 after that. Duck is not really one of those once-a-week- kind of meats, at least not in our house, so I didn’t want to many in the freezer. Plus, I think of it as more a fall or winter dish than something I’d cook in spring or summer. Just me I guess.

          Hope that helps.

  10. Oh, my! I am tired just reading about your schedule. But, boy have you taken advantage of every bit of space. I live on 21 acres (mostly trees) and can’t imagine trying to do everything you do on 1/3 of an acre. Excellent article. Thanks for a peek into your farm life.

    • CG — I’d love 21 acres!!

      Doing all this is actually not bad, mainly because all the animals are in close proximity to each other. We can feed/water everyone in less than 30-minutes. Plus some of the animals don’t get fed every day because their feeders hold a lot. Moving animals from say the brooder to the growing pen takes time, but it’s a fun time. You learn little tricks along the way.

      We set things up to be convenient and allow us to move through chores pretty quickly, if we have to.

  11. JeffintheWest says:

    Good article. Thanks for sharing. Seems like you have the food production routine down to a science. I hope the other aspects (everything from defense and OPSEC to water purification and power back-up) are in as good a shape, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts on those aspects at some point!

    • “I hope the other aspects (everything from defense and OPSEC to water purification and power back-up) are in as good a shape”

      I have water purification and rain water collection in place. Back-up power is my 2016 goal.

      Defense and OPSEC are definitely a missing link. I try not to draw attention to myself. I’m kind of viewed as the single mom just slogging through life, trying to keep it all together, which I like. DD and I both shoot, but not sure that’s much of a defense if someone really wanted to storm the gates.

      My goal has been to be prepared for everyday life disasters more than a full blown meltdown. So far, we have been ok weathering life’s downturns.

      Long term plan has always been to get the heck outta Dodge.

      • JenMar, this site & survivalblog.com have articles on defending places like yours. A little research could give u suitable ideas.

  12. What a wonderful article. Sounds like you and I are working from the same play book, but you are further along. Thank you for sharing with us.
    I finished my own small greenhouse a couple of weeks ago and have transitioned from greenhouse builder to gardener.
    I have a solar powered system completely off the grid. I am experimenting with three different growing systems. Dutch buckets, the Kratky method, and wicking tubs. I am trying to figure out which system uses the least water.

    • “you and I are working from the same play book, but you are further along”.

      It didn’t happen overnight, we just chipped away at it every year. In fact, my greenhouse is only 4 years old. My family laughs at me because of it. They say it took so long to build because that’s how long it took to find the RIGHT vintage door.

      Rule #1…it has to be functional AND attractive.

      It’s a girl thing 🙂

    • Georgia Peach says:

      Very cool PC! Can you share with us details about your greenhouse and how you built it? Also, what type of solar powered system do you have? I’ve been researching these for awhile and am so confused about what would work here in Georgia.

      Thank you!!

      • GP, it sounds like JenMar built her greenhouse in a similar way to how my friend built his chicken coops -w/ used lumber & salvaged parts. He even took some off of a building someone was taking down. I’m thinking of building a coop in the same way. It takes more labor & time to gather the building materials, but saves $$$.

        • Craigslist is great, especially if you live in an over consumptive area like I do.

          The time it took was well worth the wait in savings.

  13. Crazy Joe in South Jersey says:

    PICS would have been cool .

  14. Mother Earth says:

    Great article! The way you broke it down by month made for enjoyable reading. Very helpful to people who are starting out. I also live outside of a town about that size on 4+ acres. I’m not nearly as far along because of my anchor or what some would call my husband. He has no interest in being self sufficient and hinders my efforts. I do have a garden, fruit trees and berries growing and get a beef every year from my bil who has more land. And my water is from my well, but I have much work to do here.

    • Mother Earth — I rarely refer to what I do as self-sufficient, prepping, self-reliant living, to the outside world.

      It’s just gardening and canning and having a few chickens, and puttering in my yard. It’s just a hobby, ya know:)

      Even DD never connected the dots. Mommy just bought extra of some foods cause we’re so busy she didn’t want to run out.

      She gets it now, though.

  15. JenMar – this is the best article i have ever read about how to do all that you are doing with limited space. when we lived back in the city (6yrs ago) we had the same size space as you but due to city by-laws were not able to raise any animals. we have since moved to the middle of nowhere on 20 acres of forest with land cleared around the house, a ginormic greenhouse and tons of hand-built raised beds. we’d love to have animals but need to wait for the moola to build barns and fences – we have many wild predators here.

    anyway – my point is that i wish i had read your article when we were back in the city growing food in our backyard. your article would have given me a bunch of tips – not that your article hasn’t given me a bunch of tips.

    this was very well-written and explained. i vote this article for the win!

    • JeffintheWest says:

      I concur. Especially since she’s taken so much time to answer everyone’s questions. Not only the best article I’ve read in, possibly, years, but also the most responsive author ever.

      • Jeffin – her very well-written comments could be blog posts in themselves. i really enjoy it when an author takes the time to thoroughly answer legitimate questions from people who are really looking to learn. and she has done that in spades!

  16. Y’all are gonna make me blush:)

  17. Encourager says:

    Excellent article! Although JenMar made me exhausted just reading it, lol!

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