As we are leaving this homestead soon, I thought to myself, “Man… how many gardens have I built and then abandoned recently?”
The answer… is five!
In 2016, we sold our house in North Florida and left behind our annual gardens and food forest:
That was a great system. I had worked on it for six years and miss it. But I wanted to move overseas and we couldn’t make the move and keep the house, so we sold out and moved to the Caribbean.
There, we were able to rent a homestead for a time, and built new gardens, plus worked the ones that were already there:
After that homestead, we had to rent an apartment for a while. It had a great view and was right near the beach.
But there was no place in the yard to garden. Fortunately, we were able to borrow a little lot in the neighborhood. Painfully, we cut down the brush and thorny trees there and dug the hard clay. These beds took more work than you would think!
Then we finally were able to buy some land of our own at the very end of 2018.
There we built a couple of little cabins and planted a food forest, as well as put in a bunch of great garden beds.
This is where I first started planting my “Grocery Row” gardens, as seen above.
And then we were forcibly ejected from that homestead by the pandemic and all the craziness around it, including issues with our visas and local unrest.
So we ended up in Alabama, renting a house where we were told we could stay and plant and grow in a spacious backyard. We have been here since the end of 2020, and have done some very interesting work, including making a bunch of test beds for various nutrients:
Making mounded garden beds:
Experimenting with long single rows:
Testing various trellis systems:
And rebuilding the Grocery Row Garden system we lost on the island:
As well as planting yet more single row gardens for a fall and winter food supply:
Now, however, we have to move again.
And honestly, I am tired. I am tired of building and building and building and rarely getting to reap the benefits.
Yes, I do get some use from these gardens: I have something to write about and to film for YouTube; however, it would be nice to have a little more time to grow a system before getting ejected again.
Maybe this time we can stick.
The first time, when I left Florida to go overseas, just led to a string of moves that have ultimately been very hard. Mea culpa.
I hope to nail down a new homestead in the next few weeks. Otherwise, we’ll end up renting yet again… and I really don’t want that. It’s a strange thing to be inspiring many to plant gardens and food forests, yet to be unable to keep one of my own for longer than a year or two.
We need a homestead where we can observe and build for years, rather than months.
May it be. And if not, blessed be the name of the Lord. I will struggle to be content.
“I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”
-Psalm 34, NKJV
If nothing else Mr. Goodman, perhaps God permits all the moves and changes so you continue refining your experimentation, your family’s skills and methodologies of starting afresh, as painful and heart-wrenching as it may be. Our prayers for you and yours. May there be joy and meaning amidst the trials.
“18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Thank you. Maybe.
I’ve always respected you. Maybe it comes with the nature of being my older brother. But with every move, heartbreak, and trail my love and pride grow. I’ve had a front row seat (from afar) and you continue to let God have the glory and keep your eyes up. Love you so much.
Love you, Steph.
Praying you find a long-term abode, my friend. Hang in there! God’s got a plan.
David, I can relate since I, too, keep building gardens, and then have to move on for one reason or another. This year, I started my sixth garden since 2009, including four different allotment sites in the UK and two house gardens here in the US. I moved back to the US yet again in late 2021, and started the sixth garden here in Indiana. It is tiring to have to keep walking away from gardens we’ve put so much energy into. But I can also look back and see how much I’ve grown as a gardener through all those experiences in different locations.
Since this is my first season here, I’ve only put in beds around the edges of my property. They’re planted in annual vegetables now, but I’ll put in shrubs and small trees as times passes and I’ve cleared out the grass rhizomes.
Today, I put stakes in the ground to measure out 7 foot beds across the main lawn for the Grocery Row garden that I’m starting to build. I wouldn’t have been able to do that had I not moved back to the US where I can afford to buy a property. I’ve got your Grocery Row Garden book and I’m reading the Grow a Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph that you recommended. Now I’m going through list upon list of things I want to plant, beyond the annuals that I’m already familiar with. All this, and I’m probably 30 years older than you with your young family and completely on my own.
I’m not a religious person, but there’s still lots of common ground for us passionate gardener types. Good luck – I hope you get the land you want. I also hope that I’m here long enough to get that GRG in.
Thank you. You’re gonna make that lawn into something great!
Very sorry about all the moves and leaving your hard work and creativity behind. I hope each of the gardens were used and treasured by the next folks, and maybe inspired them
The next place you land, I’ll have seeds ready to send. I meant to send them this spring but I guess it worked out ok that I didn’t (your spring is a lot earlier than our spring!) because they were mostly squash seeds and it sounds like this year wasn’t a good squash year. I’ll send some watermelon seeds too that were grown under not so cushy conditions. Maybe some flower seeds too (Landrace Marigold?).
Thanks – love you, Wendy.
Wishing you well in making the decision on where to go next. My prayers go with you and all the Good people.
Thank you, Mark!
I am so sorry! Prayers!
From the very first video/article/book/post of yours that caught me and taught me (back in 2016?), I have been encouraged (and entertained!) by you like a big brother in gardening as well as in the faith. If my kid walks by and sees me watching YouTube, one of his first guesses is “David the Good.” Wish I had wise words to share, but I just wanted to splash back some of the cool waters of encouragement you’ve sent my way so many times. Praying over you and the family as you follow the Lord’s leading to a new place. In life, as with compost, nothing is wasted.
I really appreciate it. Weird week! I know God will do something.
Hey, I struggle a bit with where we are located too. Our backyard is small, so far we have around 200 square feet of garden space, and soon the only space left in the backyard will be where the swingset sits. With food shortages and economic collapse looming, I really struggle with living in town. I want to expand the garden more, get chickens, etc. We can’t do that here. It’s not Tampa or anything, but I’d really rather be away from people.
However, for whatever reason, God has us here. We have tried to move a few times but God always slams the door shut. Our home is paid off, our vehicles are paid off, we owe no man money, finally, and that is a good place to be. For our family, it doesn’t make sense to get into debt, when God has put us here. So, I, too, have to find contentment in His will. My husband feels led to stay where we are, and I trust Him, and trust God.
All of these moves have been you going where you have felt led to go. It’s important that you listen to that. Up until this day, God has always taken you to where He wants you to be. He closes a door, and opens another, and you have learned so much along the way. Not to mention everything your children have learned along the way. They are the future warriors. They need these skills that you have taught them, and continue to teach them. Hold onto your faith and trust His will. Everything in His timing, not ours. Praying for you still. Here are some verses that help me.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Amen – thank you.
If Bledsoe county Tennessee sounds good. Let me know and we will start looking for property. Sorry I dont have a tractor to lend. God’s will in his own time. Praying.
Hi David, Your humor and fearless approach to gardening has inspired me to “dig in”– pun intended. I’m so grateful for your example. So sorry to hear your family won’t be able to stay in Alabama to reap your harvest. I live in Ocala and would love to have you back here. How much land are you looking for?
Stumbled upon your YouTube channel about 7months ago, 3 books, a compost your enemy tee shirt & a dozen fire ant bites later, I’m still experimenting & now buying tees & books
For my friends and customers….please keep the faith…and know that god has a plan for your gifts.
A dozen fire ant bites? You need to bump those numbers up, Susan!
I’ve started a gofundme for David and family. David is listed as the benificiary in the backend. https://gofund.me/f23b0cce
Thank you, Darren.
Our families were meant to meet and grow together in Grenada. BTW, thank you for that apartment with the view.
We thank God for our friendship and look forward to crossing paths again soon!
Amen – thank you, Kyle. Love you.
I’m a little late to the train station but I’m super freaking happy for you all! Oh Momma Rachel..finally a place to call your own. I thank and praise Jesus and give Him all the glory for all the hard difficult stuff and the good times. He really comes through.
It is good. Very good.
We moved 16 times across 9 states/territory in 26 yrs. At 33 yrs we have now lived in this spot for the longest we have ever in our marriage… 8 whole yrs! We only left 4 gardens behind though.
I rejoice with you! I’m excited to see all you will discover and the adventures on God’s spot for you.
I can so relate to the feeling of wanting to be finally settled in one place where you can, as I think you put it in the recent goodstream, plant trees that you’ll someday be sitting under with your grandchildren. I’ve been renting my entire adult life, and although my family hasn’t moved as many times as yours in the last 6 years, in that same timeframe I’ve had 3 kids and started really trying to grow some of our own food and learn how to build a resilient homestead.
But while I’ve learned a lot and done a lot in that time, it’s really limiting knowing it’s not your own land. You imagine all kinds of investments and improvements that would make your life so much easier, or more efficient, or more productive, that you just can’t justify investing in, or that you can’t do because you don’t have permission. There’s so much that’s out of your control. I know, such is the nature of life, but all the more reason it would be nice to have an island of relative autonomy, to improve your house, make changes to the landscape, clear patches of forest, build a passive water system, plant fruit trees and park your ducks’ kiddie pool under them, and so on, without having to ask someone’s permission or wonder if you’ll still be here next year to enjoy it.
I do think you’re on to something with the high impact intensity training analogy you made. I was reminded of something Nassim Taleb said in The Black Swan about his theory that having a regular, consistent routine is probably bad for us, and sporadic bouts of intense exercise, or periods of fasting punctuated by the occaional feast, or days of sleep deprivation followed by a long stretch of excessive sleep, is closer to what our hunter gatherer ancestors would have experienced, and probably trains our bodies better than doing the same moderate workout routine, the same 3 square meals a day, the same bedtime and wake up time every day.
By that same logic, I think the amount of change you’ve been through in a relatively short time has probably made you a lot stronger, and honed your skills and knowledge, and the insights you’ve gained from all your adventures will really be an asset to you in building your homestead, hitting the ground running and doing a lot of things right the first time so you don’t have to go back and start over later. I really hope this last move is just that – the last one, and in a few years you’ll be doing videos on how to maintain and optimize a maturing food forest and grocery row garden, for those of us whom you helped get started.