I am a gardener first. An addict. I have gardened everywhere I have ever lived, including three years in New Orleans. Cordova is by far the most challenging growing climate I have ever met. In addition to the incredible onslaught of cold rainy weather our coastal climate affords us (we get 160 inches of precipitation/year), we do not have any native soil to speak of– this land is too recently out from under a glacier. You cannot buy a truck load of soil for any price. My garden beds were filled by hand with buckets of native peat (dug out of road cuts through bogs) mixed laboriously with glacial silt and sand. I added as much bagged commercial compost as I could afford, and lots of bone and blood meal. It was an unbelievable amount of work (done, thank god, before I had kids), but the soil I built is now luscious and happy.
Even my perennial plantings needed brought in soil. My prized raspberry hedge sits where there was once pure gravel, so unadulterated it looked like an extension of the street. I claimed the area with wild plantings first, then eventually built the long bed and planted canes. My Man and I built the stick fence over the top of the new canes, and it has filled in beautifully.
I currently have 4 annual veggie beds, totaling about 100 square feet of intensive growing area. I have an equal portion of soil devoted to perennial plantings– mostly raspberries and rhubarb right now, a few herbs and wild plants.
Since my main growing limitation is soil, the poultry aspect of the farm is integral. I hope to double my growing area in the next few years, mixing the flock’s poop with local sand and silt to create new annual and perennial beds.