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Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks

March 21st, 2011

Last Friday morning Mr Chiots and I signed the papers and closed on the empty lot next door. It’s been for sale several times while we’ve lived here, but it’s always been way out of our budget, especially since we were focusing on paying off our mortgage as soon as we could. We paid off the mortgage last fall and we’ve been saving up our extra cash for our dream of purchasing some acreage in a more rural location. The lots on both sides of us are for sale, but both were priced much higher than we were willing to pay for quarter acre lots. Last month we noticed that the lot below us had dropped in price by half and decided it was a price we were willing to pay. We called, made an offer and they accepted it.

With this purchase we have doubled the size of our lot from a quarter to a half of an acre. This is going to be a HUGE bonus for my gardening! We can clear off the front of the lot and I can have a nice sized full sun gardening area, something I’m severely lacking. When we have it all cleared I should have a few thousand square feet of gardening space for vegetables and a thousand square feet or so for an orchard. The back half of the lot is a grove of maple trees, which we’ll keep so we can tap them each spring.

This weekend we spent some time clearing off the saplings. There are a few huge trees that will need to be taken down by professionals, but most of the trees we’ll be able to remove ourselves. I won’t be able to plant anything this year, because we’ll still be digging up tree roots and hopefully planting cover crops to improve the soil. Lucky for us the lot has never really had anything done to it so the soil shouldn’t be too bad.

I spent a long time this weekend picking up the saplings after Mr Chiots cut them down, carrying them to the back of the lot, and piling them up for future use. We will most likely use a lot of these saplings for fencing, plant supports and I may even get creative and make a bench or an arbor out of them. Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us this gardening season!

How big is your garden?

29 Comments to “Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks”
  1. farmgal on March 21, 2011 at 5:43 am

    That is wonderful news that you were able to get the lot next door and for a good price and yes, that will indeed have a huge impact on what you can grow.. My own gardens are now at a full acre and still growing.. I have my big garden and then I have what I call the nursery garden, a very sheltered spot with its own micro climate, plus a number of other spots and places that I grow this or that in mirco climates, While vistors find it odd to see that my garden is so split up, I love that if something fails in one spot or garden area, almost always, it will thrive in a different place, we have only been here six years and there was nothing, other then a few big tree’s when we got here, so everything is new and I am still learning more each year on where the wind comes from, how the land drains, and we continue to work and build soil.

    It sounds like you have lots of plans for your sticks, when I read the title, I laughed, we spent a good amount of time this past weekend picking up sticks, limbs and a whole lot more to make our first hugelbeet. I hope to make to make two this year and see how they work. If you have enough sticks to use, maybe you might want to consider one as well? If you have access to someway to do the compost part..

    Reply to farmgal's comment

    • Susy on March 21, 2011 at 6:51 am

      I plan on turning one or two of my current raised beds into propagation/nursery beds when the new garden area can be planted.

      I also spent time picking up sticks from the yard that fell all winter long. Those will be burnt for fires.

      Very interesting about a hugelbeet, never really thought about it – but maybe I’ll give it a go. I’ve had good success building a lasagna garden and growing things in it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on March 21, 2011 at 7:04 am

    YAY! That’s so exciting! Full sun for you garden? A heady thought, indeed.

    I presume your question refers to the vegetable garden size, which is 2800 square feet in my case. The flower gardens (what’s left of them anyway) . . . well, that’s pretty much the rest of our six acres. I wish we had less flower garden space and more paths and sheep pastures. We’re working on it, slowly.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on March 21, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Wow, great expansion news! I wish we could buy the woodland next to our house – we’d have to keep it quite tree-focused but it would be lovely to be able to manage it sustainably and maybe increase the amount of fruit etc in the area. Sigh.

    Reply to louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife's comment

  4. Brittany P. on March 21, 2011 at 8:17 am

    That is too funny, we did the same thing this weekend..cleared small saplings and vines from the woods to make a clearer area where we are going to put our milk goats. :) You should see the pile of brush and saplings, it is 10 feet high!

    We have several garden spaces on our ten acre lot. I suppose altogether we probably have a half acre of gargen space planted or tilled for food plants alone. We are very seroiys about producing most of our own food this year, as much as we can.

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

  5. Melissa on March 21, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Congrats! You are very lucky to get a lot with such usable space! Half of our half acre lot is a shaded steep ravine! Sure wish it was more usable for Veggie gardening!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  6. Corner Garden Sue on March 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I just repeated a mistake I made awhile back on a WordPress blog, when I’d written a comment, then couldn’t see where to subscribe to follow up comments, so I clicked on “Comments RSS”. That took me to the comments in a different form, and I lost the long winded one I wrote.

    How exciting that it’s spring, and you have a new space to garden! My veggie garden is about 40 by 14 feet. I also garden in a space that’s a little bigger than that across the street, but that area has a lot of trees around it, and there really isn’t enough sun. We live on a small corner lot, and as we get older, I’m thinking that will be enough. I had always wanted to live on an acreage, but my husband said we weren’t handy enough.

    Have fun!

    Reply to Corner Garden Sue's comment

  7. Diane on March 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

    It is such, such fun to have a new bit of land to walk on and work on. Glad you’re getting that experience! I’ll look forward to reading about how you’re using all of those saplings.
    Hugelbeet. I had to look that one up, and learning something new is always a high.

    Reply to Diane's comment

  8. Rene' Sharp on March 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

    So happy for you!

    Reply to Rene’ Sharp's comment

  9. Daedre Craig on March 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Awesome! I can’t wait to see what you do with your new acreage.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  10. Donna B. on March 21, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Congradulations! This really is exciting news! I’m more excited about the prospect of you being able to grow more in your space! Even tho it will take till next season – it will totally be worth it.

    I’m doing the same, well actually, gathering my neighbour’s trimmings… I must look insane walking down the street whilst walking my mutt carrying an armful of pruned bits and suckers… When I build myself that neat arbor for the backyard, my boyfriend should stop complaining about the mess of twigs and branches in our driveway! hehehe. ♥

    [a side note: my Ethel Gloves came in! Obviously ordered by your reccomendation… they are truly working as I haven’t busted the fingers yet and I’ve already dug out four new garden beds in my yard! Whee!]

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  11. Dana on March 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Congratulations! Very exciting that you’ll be able to expand so much. A year of hard work to get it ready though. Looking forward to the update!

    And along with Donna, my Ethel Gloves arrive last week and I’m loving them. I bought the bamboo ones and think they’ll be great in the summer and not too hot. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Reply to Dana's comment

  12. Jaye Whitney on March 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Congratulations on your new “addition” :) I know you’ll have that lot whipped into shape in no time! Motivating the rest of us to get busy!

    Enjoy dreaming up new garden spaces and plans!!

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  13. marcyincny on March 21, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Congratulations indeed. Land, one of the few sure bets these days…

    Reply to marcyincny's comment

  14. Morgan G on March 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Wow, Susy! That is so exciting. First, way to go paying off your mortgage and, second, taking advantage of a great deal! Can’t wait to see what you do with all that garden space on your hands. Enjoy it.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

  15. MAYBELLINE on March 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    The edible portion is probably between 2,000 sq ft and 2,500 sq ft. Not sure though.
    What an excellent time to pick up some more property.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on March 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Yes, we’re hoping the guy with the lot above comes back to earth and will lower his prices to a more feasible number, then we may end up with another quarter of an acre.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. ryan on March 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    CONGRATS ! That is so awesome. You can use all the small parts of the saplings (twigs, tiny branches) as an amazing mulch. It is best to use it right away so while you are piling up, it is good to have a mulch pile going.

    Have fun with your new space. I look forward to watching your garden grow!

    Reply to ryan's comment

  17. Angela on March 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Paying off your mortgage is a great accomplishment–congratulations! And double congratulations on expanding Chiot’s Run. I look forward to seeing what new things you discover about the new space. Happy Spring!

    Reply to Angela's comment

  18. Lee on March 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Congratulations! That is such a wonderful news.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  19. deedee on March 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    that’s awesome susy:)

    Reply to deedee's comment

  20. Margaret on March 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Congratulations! Happy for you both!

    Reply to Margaret's comment

  21. Marcia on March 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Congratulations on paying off the mortgage! My boyfriend and I are just getting ready to buy our first home together and the idea of paying something off over 25 years is bit daunting.

    My garden is 20 feet x 45 feet and it never seems big enough for all I want to grow. It is located on my boyfriend`s family farm and has a big rhubarb patch, a tree and flower patch in the middle. I could take them out but then where would the kitties hide to pounce on me while I work in the garden?

    Reply to Marcia's comment

    • Susy on March 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Yes, it is daunting, but it can be done sooner, ours took only 8.5 years to pay off with a lot of determination and frugal living!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  22. Bettina on March 22, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Congratulations! That is wonderful! I wish you lots of fun with the larger garden!

    Reply to Bettina's comment

  23. Christy on March 22, 2011 at 5:18 am

    that’s very exciting news, have fun with the planning!

    Reply to Christy's comment

  24. Sincerely, Emily on March 23, 2011 at 12:03 am

    CONGRATS! What a fun thing. More land, more space to garden (but a lot of work to get there). I have no idea what the size of my gardening space is. I will have to measure it out and put a number to it one day. I had 8+ raised beds, and just tilled up a huge section for blackberries and other plantings. And I also extended the flower/herb gardens and there are now tomatoes planted in with those too. I still want more space. I am excited about your new lot. It will be fun hearing about how it is going for you and Mr. C. And more maples to tap too. ++ Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  25. Ryan on March 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Yay congratulations on your additional acreage! We live on a half acre here, and the garden is currently 20’x20′, with an additional mini-garden for the kids. It does seem to get bigger every year though. We have a lot of trees on our lot, so the sunny corner holds the veggie patch.

    Reply to Ryan's comment

  26. […] weather was very nice at the beginning of the week and we were able to get out and start work on our new plot of land that will become a large vegetable plot. For me, early spring is a time when the excitement of […]

    Reply to Real Food Roundup: Week 4 « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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