I have been in the globalization industry for over 30 years, but only recently realized how much of it I was already doing at home.
I walk our dog each day past the well-kept rectangles of Kentucky Bluegrass (native to the Middle-East), my neighborhood's ubiquitous peach, orange, and persimmon trees (all native to China), and often share the bounty of our lemon tree (native to Assam), or our lime tree - whose real origins have been lost in time.
We know Arab traders brought lime trees back from Asia and introduced them into Egypt and Northern Africa around the 10th century. I know I bought ours from a home and garden store 5 years ago, another unknowing step in a Backyard Globalization journey.
At the time, I just wanted to have fresh limes without the trip to the store. Now I want to eliminate 2/3 of all my trips for groceries, plus all that transportation/carbon overhead, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, money, and my time in and travelling to stores.
We moved into our house about 8 years ago. There were already a few fruit trees, but not as many as I wanted. As of this year, We have 9 fruit trees here in our yard:
Plus a global sampling of ferns, 9 Rose bushes (China again) and 2 Birds of Paradise (S. Africa). After researching all of this, I realized my yard already was a more global place than I had realized.
The goal is 12 trees in total, 10 fruit-bearing trees and 2 salad trees. Yes, "salad trees". Trees that I can harvest the leaves from to improve my health, resilience, and longevity.
The plan is to add an Avocado tree, a Neem tree, and a Moringa. The Moringa and Neem are native to SE Asia, Africa, and India. The Avocado would be our only tree native to North America, though it's far from local as it originates in southern Mexico.
The Moringa? A magnificent tree, we can harvest the leaves of regularly and add to salads, pesto, etc. and it will feed my family for decades. Its leaves provide an amazing array of vitamins and minerals, plus some rare things for plants - protein and fat. Tree leaves that naturally replace meat in your diet and taste good. This tree is a solid win in my climate zone and many others.
The Neem will have to go into a container. It can grow to over 125' in height, which would shade out my house, and all the neighbors around me. Having the tallest thing in San Jose west of Hwy 87 is not one of my goals. So why would I plant a tree like that? It's worth it. Not only does it have nutritional and Ayurvedic benefits, but it will also be part of the ecology of the greenhouse that will be going in to our back yard. Since Neem also makes for great fertilizer and insect repellent.
To make room for them I will be taking down a Palm tree and a Privet. The Privet is another invader from Europe, and the Palm is both the only native tree we have, as well as our only tree branded a nuisance by the local government.
A greenhouse? Yes, a small aquaponics greenhouse. Large-scale commercial farming has brought me quite enough of those square tomatoes, wilty cilantro, tired greens, and wax-coated fruit. A dozen imported trees won't feed us, but a bit of soil-less farming on the driveway could go a long way.
The real questions I need to answer are how much produce can I grow myself in about 45 square feet? How much of my garage do I need to fill with aquaculture tanks? How can I automate everything to keep maintenance down to less time than I would spend in line at the store?
Putting it together is in many ways like most of my projects. Instead of bits of internationally bought plastic and metal bits, software applications, or code modules, the system parts are plants, fish, and water. The product would be locally-grown clean food, delivered to you, by you, to your door.
New articles about having a greenhouse and growing food are mostly in the recent articles section.
The archive below contains links to how to's and photos information that you can use to start your own greenhouse or gardening project.
...this might seem like a dumb question...
We have a lot of time to grow outdoors in California, but...
Flexibility, Maintainability, and Interoperability
Data modeling the grocery list helps in planning what to grow, and that tells me what to build to grow it.
And the winners are: NASA, and the University of the Virgin Islands.
Rapid prototyping a portable microgreens factory with reclaimed parts.
Saving my salad the 3-day trip to the market
Bugs literally suck.
Managing water, nutrients, and PH
Fresh greens every day means fresh greens every day
Simple analog environmental automation
Microgreens are cool, but it's about time we got started on other things as well.