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I don't think it is evident that they are growing crops without irrigation in the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project - I think it is possibly only the trees which are being grown on natural rainfall thanks to swales, but in photos I see what looks  like drip lines to the trees.  Annual food crops appear to be grown with drip irrigation.  http://permaculturenews.org/2013/11/19/rough-ready-real-november-2013-update-dead-sea-valley-permaculture-project-aka-greening-desert-sequel-site/

http://permaculturenews.org/2011/11/08/letters-from-jordan-greening-the-desert-the-sequel-site-contrasts-against-jordan-insanities/
 
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Yes, I think you're right. (I had actually meant to take that out, as it was about a comment in the other thread). I believe that it was for the trees planted along the swales in the first Greening the Desert film where I heard that little factoid. Not the new site.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Yes, at least some of the trees at the first site were clearly surviving with no irrigation or other care, which is very encouraging considering the harsh conditions!
 
Tracy Wandling
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No doubt. I'm not sure I would survive those conditions!

So. If it is possible to grow in those conditions, I think we can figure out how to do it in less harsh conditions. Admittedly, my climate appears to be considerably kinder than yours.    But I still think the same basics apply: getting the growing area ready to catch, absorb and hold all the water that falls or flows into the area; giving the system time to fully 'charge' with water - like maybe 2 or 3 winter rainy seasons for the buried wood beds - before I can expect to grow without at least some supplemental irrigation during the longest dry times; and growing the veggies that thrive in these conditions (or breeding them).

That's the premise I'll be working on as I move forward. And I'll be sure to document it as we go along.

AND! We'll be having a PDC class come to the property in the fall (the PDC I get to take after all!!), and we'll be focusing on water harvesting in the growing areas we have. So, I look forward to showing some of the ideas the class comes up with. Pretty excited about THAT.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm convinced it is possible to grow crops without irrigation IF we figure out which crops and exactly how to grow them!  Next summer I plan to try a no-irrigation staples garden in an exposed site, and see what happens.  I'll be carefully selecting seeds from the Southwest which are adapted to hot, dry conditions.  http://www.nativeseeds.org/  (these may not work for you because of the latitude difference)

Congrats on the PDC, that is super exciting!
 
Tracy Wandling
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For next year, I'll be ordering Carol Deppe's seeds from Fertile Valley Seeds. She grows in a similar climate, although a little further south. But it's a start.

So, from our first year plantings, we save the seeds from the plants that survive our conditions, and hopefully we start our own localized varieties, yes?! Good luck to us!

I'm super excited about the PDC. I think mostly because I can spend two weeks amongst people with a similar mindset, and get some questions answered. Should be great fun!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Tracy Wandling wrote:
So, from our first year plantings, we save the seeds from the plants that survive our conditions, and hopefully we start our own localized varieties, yes?! Good luck to us!



It would be fun to get a bunch of folks to try this, keep good notes, and share the information as much as possible, a real experiment!  Even if it is just two of us, it will be fun.  

 
Tracy Wandling
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I was just thinking the same thing. I was thinking that if we can't find examples of what we're looking for, we'll have to create our own.

It might be fun to set up a project thread, or encourage people to set up their own. And document what they are doing/have done to get the site ready now, and then carry on through next year's growing season, documenting everything. What a great resource that would be. I'll bet we can get at least a few more. Hopefully from other climates and zones. Cool.
 
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I am not quite to the point where you and Tyler are, but growing as much as possible without irrigation is my goal as well. But we do have a grey water system (hooked up and functioning at last - yahoo!) Not sure if that counts as no official irrigation or not. We will use the grey water to irrigate the 7 citrus trees which will have guilds around them.
 
Tracy Wandling
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Hi Susan;

Congratulations on the grey water system! That's really cool. I have dreams of a grey water system, too, someday. Gotta have our dreams . . .

As far as I'm concerned - and this is just my opinion, and others will undoubtedly have their own - there can be varying ‘degrees' of growing without conventional irrigation. And I would think grey water systems apply. Although, some may not agree, I think that using rainfall along with other sources of available water other than ‘city water’ or other conventional water systems, is a step in the right direction, and can go a long way toward sustainable and low-input gardens. So, welcome to the lab!

I am in the process of setting up some parameters for the experiment for myself, so perhaps others can use them as well. I’ll include some ideas about using grey water systems as well.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Susan Taylor Brown
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I will look forward to reading more of what you all do with no irrigation.

I am excited about the graywater system but understand it probably doesn't fit most people's criteria of no irrigation. That's okay. I am out of step in a lot of stuff around here but I sure appreciate the shared knowledge. Our citrus trees aren't planted yet (they should be here next week) but for now the system is sending water to the future rain gardens...a.k.a.  Very big holes that have been filled with organic matter. I am hoping getting everything nice and damp under 2 feet of organic matter will start the breakdown and buildup of future soil goodness. I am trying to plan what plants will go there...one elderberry for sure.
 
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Congratulations on the grey water system.  We need to use as many resources as are available from what ever means we know how.

It is my understanding from reading about the pioneers of this concept, that no irrigation means only getting water from mother nature which includes rain, fog, dew, etc. And using shade, mulch, ponds by water evaporation, deep rooted plants, terraces, hukelbeds and rocks.  Please correct me if I am wrong.  If your next door neighbor waters their yard, you benefit from their water in the ground.  This is irrigation.  Grey water is irrigation.

This thread on Sepp Holzer may help explain this:

Sepp Holzer no irrigation

 
Susan Taylor Brown
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Thanks, Anne. I have been doing more reading and realize I don't fall into the "no irrigation" camp at all. But that's okay with me. I am trying to manage my resources as best I can and set up an inspiration camp for others in our small town to be inspired to do the same.
 
Tracy Wandling
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Lots of ways to accomplish the same thing. That's the great thing about permaculture! An Inspiration Camp - I like it!

I'm writing up a big fat list of ways that one might be able to grow without conventional watering systems. I'll post it all in a new thread, and we can continue the conversation there. I'll try to get it up tonight.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Tracy Wandling
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I'm just going to do some photo heavy posts this time around. Too much to say to do any of it justice. Suffice to say, I love my garden.

The Container Garden was a good idea. I've gotten some cucumbers, radishes, and lots of baby greens and cilantro. But with the cooler weather and lower sun, I'm going to move some pots up to the top level of the garden to extend the harvest - especially for the cucumbers.

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Tracy Wandling
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Very happy with the flower bed in the garden. The pollinators seemed very happy with it too. Next year it should fill in even more. Plus the delphiniums and rudbekia (which the deer stuck their heads in and ate!) will grow back and fill in.

I'm even happier with the Mediterranean Herb garden. Turned out beautiful, and is always full of buzzing things - and delicious herbs for dinner. Lots for drying, too! Today I planted in two rosemary plants that I grew from cuttings this summer. I have one more to plant somewhere else in the garden. I was pretty pleased, as I haven't had the greatest of luck in the past getting rosemary from cuttings. Yay me!

And I found another red wheelbarrow to add to the garden (yes, another broken wheelbarrow from the Free Store ). I have to fix a hole in it, but it will be another little 'pond' for the garden. The birds and dragonflies love my little red wheelbarrow 'pond'.

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Tracy Wandling
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I've been thinning out the VAST amounts of kale that are left in the garden, to make room for the fall garden plantings. It's all going right back into the garden, so it wasn't a waste at all.

I've direct seeded lettuces and broccoli, and will also be adding in some transplants of the same. I'll be planting lettuces, broccoli, parsley, and cilantro in succession so as to have some each week for market. I'll let those grow until frost zaps them. I'm trying to work out a simple and free way to cover part of the garden to keep these things going. I think I'll plunk my little ragged greenhouse over one end of the garden bed, and use that for the winter. Seems legit . . .

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Tracy Wandling
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And! My poor tomato plants! They've been pumping out delicious tomatoes to take to market, despite the fact that a couple of huge wind storms whipped them to a frazzle, and some are just sprawling on the ground now. And then they got rained on like crazy. But they're still doing their thing! Rugged little buggers.

I've pulled most of the kale that ran along the tomato bed, to make room for the sprawling branches; and layed out some cardboard on the other side.
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Tracy Wandling
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Here's my cute red barrow from the Free Store. I do like red.

I've also attached the logo I'm working on for my garden. The Man and I can't agree on a name for the farm, but I can agree with myself about a name for my garden.

And, a photo of some onions. 'Cause they look nice.

And that's it! Things went really well for a first year garden. Beyond expectations - how often does THAT happen!?    Some things are not as . . . beyond expectations . . . as others. But such is life.

I'll be writing up all of my observations, and 'results' of this years garden soon.

Thanks for hangin' out with me.

Cheers
Tracy
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David Livingston wrote:Great looking place
Bears and bees dont mix unlike the nice stories of Winne the Pooh, bear completely wreck hives eating honey wax bees leaving nothing but match sticks . Its brutal .

David



David and others, you might enjoy this extremely relevant song! http://www.thesecretmountain.com/node/353
 
Tracy Wandling
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September 5, 2016

I am SO excited about the PDC starting on September 24 at Linnaea Farm! Just wanted to share that . . .

~

One of my favorite things is going out to the garden to pick veggies for dinner. I like to go out about an hour before I start dinner, because I generally get sidetracked, and end up doing other little things while I’m out there - or doing nothing, which is also one of my favorite things to do in the garden.    One of the attached photos below shows the dinner veggies from a couple nights ago: zucchini, onions, baby pac choi and chard, kale, celery, summer savory, oregano, and radishes.

Tonights dinner was a chicken cacciatore type deal: tomatoes, onions, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, and zucchini all from the garden. I didn’t grow the garlic I used, but I know the guy who did grow it, and he lives just down the road. Other than that, there was a bit of canned tomato sauce, chicken, and some black pepper. Everything else I grew. How satisfying is THAT?! Very.

Oh. And it was delicious.  

~

The weather is getting cooler, and we’re looking at a few rainy days coming up, so I did a little rearranging in the garden. I moved the cucumbers that are in pots up from the bottom of the garden to the top where they’ll get more sun. They’ll also be up out of the cool air sink. I then put my little greenhouse over them, and rigged up the ‘trellis’ to work with the greenhouse. Sorta. It ain’t pretty, but it works.  

I couldn’t move the pot that has the peppers in it, but I’ll get The Man to help me tomorrow. And I’ll also move up the other pots of stuff. It started raining just as I was finishing up with the cucumbers, so I’ll finish that up tomorrow.

I have about 15 lbs of tomatoes to take to market tomorrow. I got a nice compliment from the produce manager at the Co-op the other day. She told me that my tomatoes are so beautiful she has been taking photos of them. Isn’t that nice? They are quite gorgeous, and so sweet and delicious.

~

I’ll be picking up a dehydrator tomorrow that a friend is lending me. Pretty stoked about that. I have zucchini and tomatoes that I want to dry, as well as some herbs. I would hang them up in the house, but cobwebs seem to grow overnight on anything that isn’t hermetically sealed, so until I have a ‘safe’ place to hang herbs to dry, I’ll use a dehydrator. I have plans for a screened in box for hanging herbs in the house next year. Yeah, it's on the list . . .  

I have 6 thyme plants that I started from seed this spring. I’m pretty happy about THAT. I love thyme, and it dries so nicely. I’ll also have quite a bit of rosemary, summer savory, and some basil - some of the basil will be made into vinegar, some frozen. Same with the parsley.

I think while I have use of the dehydrator I’ll buy some local garlic to dry. I like to make it into garlic powder, for those times when I want garlic without the hassle of peeling and dicing. Not that it’s such a chore, but dried is quick and easy. Plus, if it’s dried I can mix it with other dried herbs to make some special mixes - I like to mix up some cajun spice, as well as a nice mix for sprinkling over pasta with butter. Yum. Oh! And it’s nice for making quick garlic bread.

But the zucchini will take up most of the dehydrating time. I have at least 6 or 7 large zucchinis to dry. They are more like marrows now, and will be lovely in winter soups and stews.

~

Other than that, not a whole lot going on in the garden. Everything is still growing so far. But never having gardened here, I’m not sure how long things will stand in the garden. I’m still getting shoots from the broccoli (although I’m letting some flower for seed), and the kale, parsley, tomatoes, cilantro, pac choi, chard, and radishes all make it into the kitchen on a daily basis, as well as going to market.

But these next few days/weeks will probably see the tomato production drop of quickly. Still, I’ll harvest them until the very end. I’m hoping that the heat from the beds will keep things happy for a while yet. Might even throw some plastic over them, if I can find some spare pieces.

And I plan to have some pots in the greenhouse for greens and herbs to grow until it’s just too cold. It’s all an experiment this year. But keeping a running commentary on here will help me to keep track of things like when each veggie generally succumbs to the cold.

The seeds that I will be saving this year are broccoli, lettuces, borage, calendula, tomato, sweet pepper, cayenne pepper, zucchini, cucumber, parsley, and cilantro. Some parsley, cilantro, borage and calendula will be left to self-seed some areas. And I imagine I’ll be getting lettuces, tomatoes, and zucchini popping up willy-nilly in next years garden. Fine by me! I can always transplant things if they aren't where I want them. I’ll leave some kale to go to seed next year. Not sure when or if the celery will go to seed, but if it does I’ll save those, too.

~

I’m hoping I got some cross pollination in my tomatoes this year, so I can start my landrace tomatoes. I’m pretty excited to see what I get when I plant my saved seeds in the spring. I really have no way of knowing if anything crossed, but I did see open flowers, and bees in there doing their bee thing. So time will tell.

For the zucchini, I only planted one kind, so there obviously won’t be any weirdness when I replant the seeds in the spring. But next year I plan on introducing seeds of the same variety, but from different seed companies, plus one different variety. I really like the romanesca zucchini best, but if I’m going to grow a resilient landrace I need to introduce some diversity. So I’ll do that by growing seed from a variety of sources, as well as grow a different variety that has qualities I want. Not sure what it’ll be yet, but that’s what winter is for, right? Poring over seed catalogs and planning next year’s garden.  

~

I have added some photos of the field behind the present garden area. I want to work on this area to get it ready for growing staple crops - corn, beans, squash, potatoes, quinoa, dry peas and beans, etc. The large crops, and the crops that are all harvested at once. It will be about an acre, so a fair amount can be grown there, if we get it set up right. Plus there are more areas that will be worked up in the future.

I’ve also attached the beginnings of the plans that I’m trying to get nailed down, for the growing areas. I have asked The Man to make me an A-frame level so I can find the contours, but he doesn’t think that’s a good way to do it. Yeah, ‘cause only EVERY permaculture video about finding contours has an A-frame level being used (okay, maybe not EVERY video, but most of them!) So, I’m going to make my own, if I can beg some scraps of wood and some screws. So there.  

Anyway! I’ll go out and find some contour lines, and then have a better idea of where things need to go, and how I’m going to get water to infiltrate the area. I want this to be a non-irrigated area, so it’s very important to get this set up right.

Blah blah blah

(Edit-to remove obnoxious rant )
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Saturday
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Beginning mapping out the growing areas
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Greenhouse with cucumber trellis.
 
Tracy Wandling
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Here are some images of the back area that I want to get ready for growing.
BackField.jpg
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New potential growing area, north of the main garden.
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To the east of the back field. Just some first ideas.
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Tracy Wandling
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After reading this thread: https://permies.com/t/10609/plants/Alder-nitrogen-fixation-native-tree

I went out to our alder woods and took a look. There is an accumulation of debris, with a thin layer of very soily looking stuff under it. And then the sand and rocks begin. But it is very promising. I hope to get some of that good stuff to put on the new garden beds . . . when they get built.

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Alder wood soil
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Alder woods, looking ENE
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Ditto
 
Tracy Wandling
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something quite cool happened today. As I was slaving away over a hot computer, I heard voices. (Not those kind of voices! lol) We don't often get company, so I got up to see who was here. It was a woman that we know through disc golf, and she had brought a couple of people to show them my garden. She said, "Tell them the story!" So I told the story of how I was worried when I realized that our land was sand and rocks, and wondered how I could grow a garden without buying and importing gobs of soil from somewhere else. So I went online to research how to grow in sandy soil, and I found Permaculture! I read and read, and watched a gazillion videos, and discovered hugelkultur. Then, I decided that above ground hugelkultur wouldn't work well here, so we dug a big trench and buried the wood, and topped it with year-old 'mulchy' stuff, and planted it. Then I showed them the garden. Many Oooos and Aaaahhhs, questions and congratulations followed. They were amazed, and very impressed. So, I hopefully inspired them. The woman who brought them is taking the permaculture course at the end of the month as well. I don't think she knows much about it, but seems enthusiastic.

Then, about an hour and a half later, as I was in the kitchen slicing zucchini and putting it in the dehydrator, The Man yelled through the window, "The next garden tour group is here!" More visitors?! Very odd. It was one of our tenants, who loves my garden, bringing some friends from off-island up to see it! So off I went for my second tour. The couple was mid to late sixties, I'd guess. She is from England, he is from Canada - and they are both awesome. As I was telling about the garden, she was getting everything I was saying, and we ended up having a long and wonderful conversation. They practise permaculture. They live off-grid, use grey water AND humanure systems. They grow their own food, and don't have a vehicle. It was so much fun to talk to her! We clicked right away. We talked about how important this all is, and how important it is to teach others about it. We talked about trees and plant breeding and happiness. It was a real treat.

So, a very good day, sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with interested people, and showing off my garden with great pride. Now I'm really looking forward to the PDC. It was so much fun to talk about 'all this stuff' with people who were interested and enthusiastic, and I want more. Today was a real eye-opener for me as to how incredibly passionate I really am about permaculture, and how very much I want to do it and share it. I find it so exciting and important. And because of that, I think that it is really important to make our place a good model of permaculture. That's the best way to show people that it works, and they can do it, too. But I feel like I'm fighting for it all the time. It's a little exhausting. I'm going to have to find another way to make this work. And that's all I'll say about my relationship troubles now.

It was a great day, meeting some truly wonderful and beautiful people.

~

I took 25 pounds of beautiful tomatoes to market today. I love doing that. I also sliced up zucchini and filled 2 dehydrators that I'm borrowing. One of the dehydrators still had a bunch of seeds in it! About a cup of calendula seeds, and a cup of pea seeds of some kind. I love calendula, so I'm going to plant it all over the garden next year. The bees are gonna love me!  

The kale and parsley are looking great, and will be added to the next market delivery, along with a couple of cucumbers, some celery, and more tomatoes. The broccoli is going to give me another good bunch of sprouts tomorrow, and has a bunch of new sprouts coming on. I'm letting a couple of plants go to seed, and the rest I'm going to keep going as long as possible (part of my new 'perennial broccoli' project!). This cooler weather is making the cool loving crops really come back to life.

The rosemary and sage vinegars are ready to bottle, and I'll start a thyme vinegar brewin' this week. And plenty of herbs will be dried in the dehydrators while I have the use of them. I'm also going to dry some tomatoes, and maybe try some grapes if I have time. I have to give them back in 2 weeks-ish, so I have to get as much done as I can.

I have my paintings up at a local venue for the month of September. I'm hoping to sell a few, so I can afford to get some more framed. They seem to sell better if they are already framed.

~

All in all, it was a fine day. It's dark now, the crickets are clicking, and I'm waiting to hear the owls laughing in the woods. We haven't heard the wolves howling in quite a while. I miss their music. Other than the crickets, it is blissfully quiet. So nice.

Thanks for dropping by.

Cheers
Tracy







 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2127
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
601
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OH, how I love autumn! The sun is shining, things are still growing, and I can go out in the sun without bursting into flame.  The evenings are cooler so I can sleep at night, and the mornings are redolent with that damp, organic smell that I love so much.

Thus ends the poetic segment of our show.

~

I took 16 pounds of tomatoes to market today, along with kale and parsley bunches. There are many more tomatoes ripening on the vine, and lots more kale and parsley. The onions are ready for drying, and the baby chard and pac choi are delicious in salads and stir fries, and the broccoli is still putting out lovely little broccolettes. My one big cayenne pepper is turning red; and although there are many little green peppers growing on the pepper plants, I don’t imagine we’ll be getting more than 2 or 3 before the frost nips them. That’s okay by me, ‘cause I don’t like them anyway.

I did some pruning on the tomato plants - taking off some of the more battered fruit and branches, and saving the ‘good enough for me’ tomatoes. We've had some pretty spectacular winds this summer - and one last night - and my poor toms got beat to hell, flopped over, and are sprawling out over the ground. The main problem is that it is really hard to pick them quickly now - it’s more like an Easter egg hunt than tomato harvesting. It’s fun, but not terribly convenient. But I’m still getting good ones for market, and 'good enough' ones for me. So I am content.

Zucchinis are still producing, but slowing down. I’m going to try making zucchini bread in our little toaster/convectiony oven thingy. I’m not sure it’s big enough, but I figure if it can fit a bread pan, it’s big enough to cook a loaf of bread! I’ll let you know how that goes. Just need to get some eggs. Too bad I don’t have chickens . . .

~

Some things learned in the garden this first year:

  • Stake the tomatoes MUCH better.


  • Give the kale more space, and plant in succession.


  • Be more aware of how fast things grow, so I know what can grow together. The kale outgrew some of the onions, so the tops didn’t reach the sun and they didn’t get very big - still tasty, but some are quite small. Next year I’ll have more room (ahem, yeah, hopefully), so I won’t have to cram things in so much. It also shaded out some of the parsley, which is coming back now that I’ve thinned the kale. Yay.


  • Plant more flowers in the garden beds to attract insects. The flower and herb beds are ALWAYS buzzing, and there are generally a fair amount of insects in the garden bed plants, but I think I can do better. Borage and sweet alyssum seem to be two big favorites, along with yarrow.


  • I’m already planning next years garden. I'm working on crop rotations, succession timing of various veg, estimated yields/space, and companion planting. I know! What am I going to do all winter, right?    Well, I’m sure I’ll change these charts over and over until I get them where I want them. And then I’ll get to tweak them next year! Plus, there will be seed catalogs to pore over this winter!

    I’m also plotting out the next growing area, and figuring out how much I can fit in there. Of course, we still have to get the first garden finished, so I’m not holding my breath. But we really need to know how the beds should be oriented, and how we’re going to get the water to hang out there, and all those fun things. And I need to convince The Man not to put in the 'road to nowhere' right through that growing area.

    ~

    And that’s how my garden grows.

    My PDC starts in 13 days! I’m very much looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to having someone to ask questions of face to face, and having more input on our property, and its potential; and just hanging out with like-minded people.

    ~

    Here are some photos:

    Here's a little garden panorama, some crazy tomato plants, and a purdy zucchini flower.

    More pics to follow.









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    Sept 11 - Garden panorama
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    Tomatoes gone wild!
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    Zucchini flower
     
    Tracy Wandling
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    Posts: 2127
    Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
    601
    bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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    Small, sour but very pretty apples.

    The mullein patch is doing very well.   We have a LOT of mullein.

    Cucumber in the greenhouse

    Sept11-apples.jpg
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    Pretty apples
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    Happy mullein
    Sept11-cuccumber.jpg
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    Cucumber and weeds.
     
    Tracy Wandling
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    Posts: 2127
    Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
    601
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    Happy veggies
    Sept11-broccoli.jpg
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    Sept11-chard.jpg
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    Sept11-onions.jpg
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    Posts: 9
    Location: Adirondack Park, New York
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    Just wanted to thank you for the inspiration and a couple hours of entertainment  New to Permies, and new to my own LITTLE slice of something-that-may-one-day-come-to-be-called-heaven.  Amazing to see that you're in such a different climate, and next to the sea, and dealing with almost exactly the same soil as I am here in the Adirondack mountains of New York!  Spending 15 years learning to garden in heavy clay soil was rough, but I think I had finally mastered it just before we made the leap to purchase our first real home with it's little acre of sand...  The pictures of your soil are amazingly similar to what I have here, even that tantalizing little inch or so of what sure does look like soil on top.  Our place is carved from pine forest on glacial sand and silt, all plopped on top of a hillside that no one in their right mind would try to farm.  The first thing I did when the soil warmed this spring was dig holes, line them with compost and rotten birch logs, fill with topsoil I took with us during the move (that was an adventure since we moved at the end of December), and get as many refugees from the old place planted here as I could.  The results were surprisingly good, so right now I'm in the midst of The Big Dig.  I'm hand digging a buried wood garden bed into the sunniest slope we have, hoping to reach 40 or 50 feet long, and gathering everything I can scrounge up to fill it with - from rotting logs to chicken coop bedding to horse manure and piles of garden trimmings.  Seeing your pictures I know I'm on the right track, and reading about your gardening success in conditions similar to mine is just what I needed to keep going - thank you!!!
     
    Tracy Wandling
    steward
    Posts: 2127
    Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
    601
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    Hi Scott;

    I'm glad my ramblings have been helpful and inspiring (and entertaining)! Glacial sand and silt - yep, sounds familiar. I think that the buried wood is the best way to really get things going quickly when you don't have any soil to speak of. I find that our sand kind of 'eats' organic matter if it is incorporated in small amounts, but the larger pieces seem to last longer. So I'm looking forward to watching how these beds do over time.

    Make sure to start a thread of your own, and share your progress with us, too. It's a great way to stay inspired as you can go back over the thread and look at the photos of your progress. I find it very helpful, and keeps me going when it feels like things aren't moving forward fast enough. Kind of keeps my impatient nature in check . . . a little . . . mostly.  

    Good luck, and welcome to Permies!

    Cheers
    Tracy
     
    Anne Miller
    master steward
    Posts: 2530
    Location: USDA Zone 8a
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    Tracy, I have been sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear about your PDC.  How did it go? Are you going to share with us?  Any pictures?
     
    Tracy Wandling
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    Posts: 2127
    Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
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    Hi Anne;

    We're half way through, and I am learning something exciting and new every day! I love it. Will definitely be posting photos and design images. My property is one of the properties chosen to do a whole design on, so I'm pretty stoked about THAT! Photos coming soon.
     
    Anne Miller
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    Location: USDA Zone 8a
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    I can understand why your property was chosen.  Besides being gorgeous, you have done so many permaculture things to it.  Congratulations!
     
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    This is an inspiring thread! <3
     
    Tracy Wandling
    steward
    Posts: 2127
    Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
    601
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    Thanks, Joe! Glad you found it entertaining!

    ~

    So, I’ve just finished my first PDC. Over all it was a good experience. The instructors were knowledgeable and very helpful. I can’t say that I learned anything terribly earth shatteringly new, but it was really great to hang out with likeminded people. I am now completely exhausted after two weeks of getting up in the morning (not my favorite pastime    ) and spending hours on end with lots of people. But I’m glad I took the course. There was a small unfortunate incident at the end of the last day which kinda pissed me off, but I’m trying to put it aside as I evaluate what I took away from the experience. I have to admit I’m pretty stoked to have an official Permaculture Design Certificate.  :)

    Linnaea Farm, where the course was held, is a non-profit teaching farm and has been involved in education and land stewardship for the past 30 or so years. http://linnaeafarm.org/get-involved/  Our instructors were Rick Valley, from Oregon; Brent, 30-year resident of Linnaea Farm (with his wife); and Jodi, who has lived on the farm for a few years with her husband and little girl. All three instructors brought something to the course. I have my preference, of course, but all three shared interesting bits and pieces that I found helpful.

    Our property was one of the three chosen to do a design on, and I was pretty pleased with my design team. I got the 4 'young people' of the class, ranging in age from 24 to 31. They were a lovely, enthusiastic bunch, and I had a good time planning and envisioning the possibilities with them, and sharing our lovely property. I’m hoping that we can keep in contact. I’d love to have them come back some time and see how we’ve progressed, and find out what they are doing.

    We worked mostly on water catchment and infiltration ideas, and growing systems, choosing pond and swale placement, and laying out the sector and zone maps. It was a great exercise and has been very helpful in solidifying thoughts and ideas I’ve had - sort of bringing everything together and helping to see it as a larger whole.

    One of the instructors - who is also a friend, and fellow disc golfer of The Man’s - puts a lot of emphasis on observation, which I think is a great tool. As an artist I have always been a keen observer of nature, but mostly on a small scale - I notice the little things, contrasts and colors, shapes and shadows. As a permaculture designer, these things are useful, but it is also useful to put these things into a larger context, and discover the patterns that are great indicators as to how to proceed. We did quite a few exercises in quiet observation which I enjoyed.

    We took a few field trips, too. Blue Jay Lake Farm is gorgeous! The property is owned by Henry Verschuur, who is a wonderful, enthusiastic man who has a great love of his land, and shares is with many others. Great tour, beautiful place, and although Henry doesn’t consider himself a permaculturist, it is a beautiful example of land stewardship at its best.  http://www.bluejaylakefarm.com

    We also took a tour of the local First Nations village, led by another disc golf friend, Kathy. She was Chief of the Klahoose band, and is still very active with the community. She showed us a very cool thing: an arborglyph that was found recently. I've included a photo of it. The tree is over 200 years old, so it was quite exciting to touch something so old. The Klahoose also have a sawmill, where they not only mill wood, but also make custom things such as picnic tables for local businesses, display cases, and other beautiful wood projects.  http://klahoose.org

    After the tour we stopped in at the newly formed Community Forest. We got shown around by a lovely young man named Matt, who told us how they are managing the forest, future plans, and some of the ways they are planning to keep our forest healthy. It was very enlightening and promising. https://cortescommunityforestcoop.wordpress.com

    We went through the whole gamut of the Permaculture Design book: soil, water, animals, economics, invisible structures - the works. Linnaea Farm has super examples of many of the design systems, so we did many little tours around the farm to see the production gardens, compost systems, animal systems such as rotational grazing, and a couple of different compost toilets systems, one of which has been in working order for more than 25 years. We looked at alternative building techniques, greenhouses, cold frames, and learned how to make leaf mold. We built an A-frame level with bamboo, and learned to use it; we helped start a living willow fence; and we attacked a large patch of morning glory (did you know that if you put a heavy mulch over it, like carpet or plywood, the roots will grow closer to the surface and are easier to pull?!)

    We learned quite a bit about propagation, growing trees, bamboo, and the particular limiting factors faced by growers on our little island. Apparently calcium is something that is lacking in our soils. I learned that Scotch broom makes very strong stakes, and Rick had a Scotch broom cane that he made for his father over 10 years ago. It was lovely. I’m also now planning where to start planting black locust trees, and a willow stand for future building projects. :)

    Another cool thing was spending time with John (yes, another disc golf friend :) ) who also lives on Linnaea Farm, and who showed us how to make a lovely wooden hay rake. Pretty cool stuff.

    And lots more, which I’m still sort of assimilating and trying to put together. I keep remembering little things which I’m putting down in a notebook for future reference.

    Oddly enough, I didn’t actually take many photos. I was so involved, I always forgot my camera. But I plan on taking The Man on a little tour of Linnaea Farm soon to show him the things I saw, so I’ll take photos on that trip.

    And that’s that! As I said at the beginning, I didn’t learn anything huge that I didn’t know before, but I did learn lots of awesome tips and tricks, details that will help fill in the larger picture. And just being able to talk to people who were as excited as I was about the possibilities of permaculture was really good for me. Now my head is full of many ideas, projects, and possibilities, and it’s time to start putting them together.

    I'll add more stuff as I think of it. In the meantime, here is a photo of the Klahoose First Nations arborglyph.

    Cheers
    Tracy
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    Klahoose First Nations arborglyph
     
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