USA, MA, Waltham: $285,000

by Tea Dorminy
(Waltham, MA)

Urban microgrowing within easy commute of Boston tech jobs! We bought this 654 sq ft house on a 2200 sq ft lot in Mar '15, and have changed it from a three-parking-space wasteland into a fertile oasis with 550 sq ft of raised beds. House features R42 ceiling insulation, R22 wall insulation; central A/C; electric radiant heat; mostly south and west facing windows; 2 bedrooms, 1 year old standard appliances, fold-down clothes drying racks, and granite kitchen countertops. The house has been lead inspected; no lead found. Floor is wood laminate atop a vapor barrier atop tile atop a slab foundation.

Yard consists of 550 square feet of raised beds (20" tall, filled with non-organic-certified, purchased compost and soil in a 4:1 ratio), some of which are easily covered by a 12x20 caterpillar tunnel during wintry weather as pictured. Neighbors are chill, and happily donated their fall leaves (currently decomposing in most of the paths between beds). Soil tests before bed installation indicated the back yard has fairly rich soil, and no region has bad lead levels; your mileage may vary, and the results are available upon request. Currently two parking spaces are covered (one paved, one not) in garden beds, leaving one paved tight space for a small car or bikes. The back yard is more shady than ideal due to a neighbors' cottonwood, making about 50 sq ft qualify as shady, and about 50 additional sq ft have moderate treeroot invasion and need regular spading to reduce tree roots.

Approximately 30 sq ft are currently in rosemary, mint, oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, and chives; 8 sq ft in minutina and sorrel (perennial salad greens); 10 dock plants (edible, but not to my personal taste: good for pulling nutrients up from under the beds); and a few milkweeds and blackberries grow wild. Currently (winter '15) the backyard is planted almost entirely in garlic.

Over the past year, the garden has successfully provided all of our ummer vegetables, a few roots, and slightly more greens than we have been able to eat; it's not large enough for my appetite for root vegetables and fruits. The compost beds are extremely rich. Pest problems include cabbage root flies, squash vine borers (although it took multiple borers to kill the squash vines...), and two waves of aphids annihilating my fall kale.

This spring, we plan to plant 2 to 5 nut-and-berry type shrubs; 25 strawberries; a few Good King Henries; a few shiitake logs; and a grapevine or two as a long-term roof-and-window decidious shade solution.

This place is great for staying well occupied much of the year while having a fulltime job. My job doesn't require enough of my time, and I haven't figured out how to stop and smell the metaphorical roses, so we'd like to move on to a larger property in a rural area. No rush, however.

Contact us at or (preferably via text) 4047047202.

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