Creating an Environment to Cushion the Impacts of Recession.

Jun 29, 2022
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United Kingdom
When the pandemic hit and we were all forced into lockdown my husband and I decided to make our house and garden into an 'oasis' that would cushion us from the problems ahead.

We figured that if you can't control what's happening in the world you can't rely on anything outside of your own immediate environment. We couldn't rely on an income, savings or even essential goods and services being available. But if we could produce everything we needed in our own home and garden we could be opportunistic about the things we use and buy - when they're available great, but when they're not we have alternatives in place.

We predicted early on that inflation would go through the roof, so the best way to protect our savings was to buy things that would reduce our cost of living for years to come.

We own a bungalow in a rural village with a decent sized garden (by UK terms) - it's about 1/4 acre if you count the front garden. We:
  • installed a wood-burner and built wood stores big enough to store a few years worth of wood.
  • built an outside wood fuelled pizza oven/grill and also a small rocket stove for heating water.
  • purchased some small solar generators (essentially large batteries) and small solar panels - enough to power all our phones, laptops etc, to watch tv, and to keep dozens of rechargable batteries fully charged.
  • installed water butts to collect all the rain water off of our house and outbuildings
  • built a polytunnel
  • built a largish workshop (big shed) - for projects, but also great for drying onions etc.
  • built a huge 3 bank composting system and our neighbours give us all their clippings, cardboard etc
  • Set up a wormery
  • planted comfrey everywhere
  • created a huge bin for rotting down manure that we collect from the farm next door.
  • put beds on our largish, open plan front lawn. It's done in such a way that no one would notice food growing among the flowers, but the yield is huge - including this year: 100 onions, dozens of courgettes, kg's of beans, 50kg of potatoes, winter squash and much more.
  • in the back we've built a large fenced off 'garden' (protected from our 4 beagles) that at the top has 9 raised beds for veg, and down the bottom (it's on a slope) we have a food forest full of fruit trees and perennials.
We've loosely followed permaculture principles. It's designed to be beautiful as well as functional. When we started this we thought food shortages and massive inflation unlikely - so we created our home and garden to have lots of great spots to enjoy - lots of little secluded areas to sit or to eat, calisthenics equipment built for exercise, an outdoor movie theatre around a pizza oven etc. The veg area has lots of flowers mixed in and it's actually the most beautiful part of the garden.

Our overarching goal is to create a home and garden that we can live in 'normally' (whilst still interacting with the outside world normally) but that can be easily adapted to changing circumstances - so we live well through good times and bad.

It really does take away a lot of the worry about what's going on in the world.....probably because it keeps us too busy to think!!


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