Do you see the 85 foot tall douglas fir right in the middle of all the action? The poor thing had been topped twice, and it didn't fit in the space provided anymore. To give you some perspective of just how big this tree was, our house is the tallest in the neighborhood. We have ten foot ceilings and an attic big enough to be a third floor. I'd estimate the top of our house (at the peak of the roof) is probably 55 feet tall... Maybe 60 feet. The branches of the fir tree scraped the gutters and filled them with needles. There were pinecones (fircones?) all over the yard. Last year the tree got an infestation of tent worms. All in all, it was a disaster waiting to happen. We worried that a wind storm would bring down branches into our house or the neighbor's house. We fought the horrid ground cover growing beneath that damned tree. We watched as sun-loving garden plants were hidden in shade through most of the day. Worst of all, the squirrels who lived in the tree routinely planted peanuts in our potato sacks.
Aimee and I had talked about having the tree removed since the day we moved in. I finally made a few calls two weekends ago. Three bids and a week later, Doug Fir is gone. I took Monday off work to supervise from the upstairs window sill (mug of tea in one hand, camera in other hand). The Tree Pirate (I swear, I did not make that part up) strapped on his spiked shoes and started climbing. He cut down branches as he moved higher, and some of the branches had to be roped and wrangled to keep them clear of the house. To their credit, this company did a fantastic job. Believe it or not, they didn't hurt a single raised bed, the fence was barely touched as they tossed branches over, and they cleaned up the neighbor's yard before they left.
Now look at the space! Oh, and the sunlight. You've never seen such light. There's enough room to build another ten or twelve beds in the space that's been cleared. We'll be working on a rough plan over the summer, but I'm hoping we'll have all the beds in place before winter hits.
Do you have any ideas for this space? How about berries or apple trees? What are you growing in your urban or suburban farms?