Fairfield Sustainable Backyard
Food Forest Keepers: Brenda
In November, 2012 I moved back to Fairfield to take care of Mom who had been in her home since 1972. I had grown up in this home. Mom’s front and back was typical of the 1970’s ie, a front lawn with some junipers while the back yard had lawn and four old fruit trees.
Over the years the lawn became weedy with Bermuda grass and never got green and lush. I started remodeling the front yard by removing all the junipers and Bermuda and planted various low water, heat tolerant plants and ornamentals to get a burst of colors. After seeing the success of the front I decided to remodel the back yard to remove all grass and plant some more fruit tress. I added 2 citrus and 10 bare root fruit trees and thought that was enough. I was interested in using grey water but had no idea how to get this done. After listening to a lecture by Sustainable Solano about edible landscapes and water harvesting I eagerly submitted an application to be one of the first houses in Fairfield to install a food forest that was beyond fruit trees. I thought it was so cool to be able to grow an edible landscape and share the bounty with others.
I called the project Mom’s Delight because mom was now able to enjoy being in the back yard and seeing everything grow. She loved to eat the food coming from the yard and enjoyed just sitting on the patio looking at all the new fruit trees and flowering plants that attracted the bees and hummingbirds. Prior to this, we rarely sat in the back yard.
1,200 square feet
Number of Swales:
Laundry-to-Landscape Greywater System
Roofwater Diverted to Swales
Total annual water impact: 43,867 gallons
Apricot, Asian Pear, Calamancia, Cherry, Gala Apple, Meyer Lemon, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Pineapple Guava, Pippin Apple, Plum
Sage, Southmoon Blueberry, Raspberry
Artichoke, Chamomile, Chives, Comfrey, Feverfew, French Thyme, German Thyme, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Mint, Mushroom Herb, Oregano, Purple Coneflower, Sorrel, Swiss Chard, White Savory, Wild Hyssop
Calendula, Marjoram, New Zealand Spinach, Strawberry
Daikon, Onion, Yacon
The installation of the swales, edible plants and grey water system went very well. The lectures before the work began each day were very informative, educational and interactive. Friends from Solano Community College Horticulture club participated along with some family and new folks from the community. Meeting new folks was wonderful as everyone shared things they were doing to their homes or wanted to do in the future.
My sister Cindy and Kathy a family friend, prepared the morning snacks and lunch with deserts which everyone enjoyed eating. They did so much work which allowed me to interact with everyone as well as do the physical labor.
Vision for the Future:
My thought is to be a good example to my neighbors and to inspire others to do the same. My cousin who helped with the installation became excited after participating and converted a portion of his back yard grass into an edible landscape. I am thrilled to be part of the Sustainable Solano community so I can share with others the bounty of the back yard and show how harvesting the rain water and using grey water make this project very earth friendly.
See a gallery of Mom’s Delight photos here.