A Gardener's Ambition: The Edible Garden

Even two to three generations ago, many American families owned a larger plot of land and grew the majority if their own food, preserving much for winter. I have an average 1/3 acre lot, and don’t pretend that I can come near my grandparents in home food production. However, I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I can fit on my 1/3 acre lot, including the equivalent of 15 4×4 raised garden beds, herb garden and 35+ fruit trees, bushes and vines.

As a mother of seven (teens to tots), I planned the layout carefully to include plenty of play areas, grassy paths to explore, a pergola covered deck, and generous sized front and back porches for enjoying our outdoor spaces. I honestly believe that my children gain more entertainment from exploring a diversely planted backyard with lots of wildlife to observe and fresh food for snacking, than they would from an expansive lawn. On those few occasions that we want to play a game that requires an expanse of lawn, we walk down the road to the park.
In the sketch from my garden journal, the green is lawn pathways/play areas; blue rectangles are raised vegetable beds; red dots are fruit trees, shrubs and vines; uncolored areas are my ornamental garden; the lines and numbers are our irrigation plan (and I simply didn’t want to make a fresh sketch :))

My goals for my edible garden are:

-to feed my family a main course or two-three side dishes a day from the garden
-select crops so that something is always ready to harvest
-grow a wide diversity of crops, so that one crop failure does not significantly damage my overall yield
-harvest from my garden as close to year-round as possible
-collect seeds from my own plants when possible to perpetuate my own seed supply, plus enough to share
-grow the majority of my own herbs for flavoring and health
-to teach my children where their food comes from and help them to enjoy the harvest 
-to eat delicious homegrown food!!
What are your goals for your edible garden? Whether great or small, setting a goal will always help you have a direction to get started in.
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