Grit Blogs > Going Native

What To Do With 2.5 Acres

I call our property Marshview since it is surrounded on three sides by wetlands.  What is not wetland was once a cow pasture.  Our piece of land was the western-most edge of the pasture so we have a hedgerow of trees bordering the property. 

We raised two kids here and they are now off to college.  Needless to say, we did not do much to the property when the kids were growing up.   My husband and I both worked full-time and we spent many evenings and weekends at various sporting or school events.   Our lives have slowed down and since I am home full-time I am contemplating what to do with this patch of land.   Do I want to increase the size of the vegetable garden so we can eat more from the garden than from the grocery store?  Do I want to grow wildflowers and herbs?  Do I want to create a natural habitat garden?  Do I want to raise chickens, goats, and/or sheep?   Do I want to create a homestead that incorporates all of these options?

All of these choices require research and a plan. (I am a planner by nature.) Our vegetable garden is relatively unprotected thus our tomato, squash, and bean crops have been pretty much decimated by deer.  My husband and I are designing a garden barrier fence.  He is a ‘form follows function’ type guy but I do not want the vegetable garden to look like a prison yard.    We thought about an electric fence but we decided on a barrier fence instead.

A deer family make Marshview their home as well 

I tried my hand at growing wildflowers, but the local wildlife found them just as tasty as the tomatoes so I need to research deer-resistant varieties or decide on some sort of fence in which to grow them.  I have herbs growing in containers outside the kitchen door.  Do I want to create a larger herb garden or maybe design a portager?

Marshview is currently a natural habitat garden in the most basic sense.  I have not done anything with much of the property so plants are growing, some invasive, with no real design.  The ‘natural’ parts of the property look messy and unkempt.   Cleaning up these areas and adding a few design elements would go a long way to improving the look of the landscape.  If you have not already guessed, I am more of a ‘function follows form’ person.

And then there are animals.  We have three dogs, but adding more animals, whether they are chickens, goats, or sheep, would mean daily care giving and it would be difficult to go away for a long weekend or a week’s vacation.  Do I want to be that tied to this land, to Marshview?

Deciding on what to do with our 2.5 acres is not an easy decision for me and currently brings up more questions than answers. Deciding how I want to live and what I am realistically able to do—financially, physically, and time-wise—will be on my mind as I go about my garden chores.  Today I will be digging up this year’s onion and potato crop.  Deer do not like onions or potato plants so I have had one small garden success this year.  Is that enough for me to strive for more?