A few months ago, my husband was getting tired of working on the remodel of our front porch that was taking up all his spare time, and (ever full of creative energy, especially when trying to avoid work!), he started dreaming about what we could do with the backyard instead.
We had recently visited a tropical nursery, where we saw bananas and all kinds of tropical fruit we had no idea could grow successfully in Arizona. You can see from the photos that he got so excited we got a starter banana, and then he surprised me by deciding the perfect place for a royal poinciana he found on Craigslist was within our current pavers!
I love when he starts dreaming up an idea (though I wasn’t quite on board with the poinciana placement) because that means pretty soon I get to start putting steps in place to see how we get from here to there. I love the synergy of our personality types in that way. But this project seemed out of my ability to grasp, as we’re not exactly what you’d call “expert” gardeners yet (check the makeshift, mostly empty/dead, gardens around the edges of our yard), and his ideas were nothing short of creating an epic backyard garden wonderland.
So when he started getting excited about a company he had found called Agriscaping Technologies, located in the Phoenix area, whose values and professional know-how lined up exactly with the scope of his grandiose ideas for this relatively small space, I was intrigued. Specifically they specialize in designing “Elegant, Edible Landscaping Solutions,” which was exactly what Matt was envisioning, where every plant was not only beautiful but also productive! Because of our health trials, the food we eat is a large player in the path to healing, so right now we spend a lot of our yearly food budget at farmers’ markets, so of course we got to thinking - wouldn’t it be so much better to be able to grow it ourselves? So did an initial evaluation with Justin Rohner, the CEO of the company, and pretty soon we were on our way to being accepted into their FAB5 program, short for “Family-Assisted Build,” which is designed to help 5 local families each year get up and running with yards that produce enough food to feed your family and sell the extra to the local community. Becoming more self-sufficient is at the top of our list, and using our space to grow food (especially food that will help pay for the landscape upgrade over time), is something we are super excited about.
So here we are at the beginning of an adventure. We are starting with a total of one established (but sickly) grapefruit, a newly-planted banana, some potato bags, and a single squash and one cucumber that have put all their energy into growing, but not much into fruiting, before being burned up by the triple-digit heat. We also have one Juice+Tower Garden (just taken down for summer cleaning after the direct heat took out the last of our happy spring plants). But really, that’s it. We’re not bringing a lot to the table - so we look forward to seeing what Matt’s vision in the hands of the Agriscaping experts will produce.
Having just redone the front yard, we don’t have a huge budget, but that’s where the FAB5 comes in - we are going to learn as we go and do it all ourselves, getting the know-how from the Agriscaping experts along the way (hopefully with some extra help from our friends too). In the end, we can’t wait to see what kind of magical transformation the next year will hold!