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steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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First year garden observations

As the main growing season winds down here in paradise, I thought it would be a good time to do some updates, and to think about what has worked out well, what hasn’t worked, and what I might do differently next year. All in all it was a fantastic first year garden! The buried wood beds produced beyond my expectations, and I am thrilled with the outcome.

The whole growing area consisted of 2 beds, 4x40’ each. From these two beds I’ve sold over $800 worth of veggies between about the middle of July until now, including:

Tomatoes
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Green onions
Parsley
Celery
Kale

Because I was under the optimistic but misguided impression that I would have twice as many beds, I started far more seeds than needed for these two beds.    And because I just couldn't bring myself to throw any of the transplants away, I planted most of them into these two beds. Of course, I ended up having to thin out quite a lot of kale. But everything I grew and thinned out went right back into the garden or was dried and powdered, so all is well.

The tomatoes were planted WAY to close together, and didn’t have strong enough supports to brave our crazy summer wind storms. But I got lots of tomatoes - 5 different varieties - so although it was more like an Easter egg hunt than a tomato harvest, it was a very productive little tomato patch. I harvested over 140 lbs for market, plus lots for our own consumption, and I also dried a bunch. Once the rains started they began to split, so although they are still producing, many are split, or otherwise nasty. But I’m still getting some good ones, and many good-enough-for-me tomatoes for my own use. At this point I’m also picking unripe tomatoes as I’m not sure when the first frost will hit, and we’ll be getting some heavy rains from now on.

The Curly Scotch Kale is still pumping out lovely tender leaves for market and fresh eating, and I also have a Red Russian type that I mostly keep for myself as it wilts too quickly for taking many bunches to market. I imagine the kale will keep producing all winter (such a new concept for me!)

Parsley put out a new flush of luscious green when the weather cooled down, and I take lots of that to market, plus eat quite a bit myself. I have Curly Moss and Italian.

I have some lettuces that are at baby leaf stage which I’m cutting from sparingly. It will be interesting to see how long they last, and how much they grow. I’ve never had lettuce in the garden in October! I’m also still getting baby chard cuttings. Yum.

The last of the celery will be taken to market soon, except for a small patch that I’ll be keeping for myself until the frost takes them. It’s a very strong tasting celery, so it works best in soups, stews and stirfries - a little goes a long way. I’m going to freeze some, and also dry the leaves to see how they keep.

The broccoli is still putting out tender delicious sprouts that I harvest about every three days or so. I also eat the small tender leaves.

I just took three small zucchini out of the garden (October 10!), but they’re about done now. I’ll be saving seeds from a couple of big ones.

I got a small harvest of onions which is drying in the house. There are still some in the garden that sort of got lost among the kale. They are putting up new sprouts, so I’m cutting those and using them like green onions.

The basil is about done, although there is the odd leaf that I can harvest. The summer savory is also about done, but will self-seed for next year, as will the cilantro. Of course, there are chives, thyme, rosemary and sage, which are still happily sharing their abundance with me.

There are still many flowers blooming in the garden, and the bees and other insects were happily buzzing through them a couple days ago when the sun was still shining: Sweet smelling sweet alyssum, California poppies, a pretty little pink type of poppy, borage, calendula, and a bunch of others that I don’t know the names of - they’re in a Beneficial Insect mix from West Coast Seeds. There are also radishes, cilantro, lettuces and broccoli going to seed, and which the bees appeared to be quite happy about.

~

Using the soil blockers for my transplants may have been a little bit more work at the beginning of the year, but I think it was totally worth it. I had the healthiest transplants I've ever had, and they grew like crazy when they were planted out. My lack of soil as a growing medium in the garden beds didn’t affect their health and growth one bit. There seemed to be very little set back at transplanting time, they just kept right on growing!

I did have to spend a bit of money on ingredients for the special potting mix ingredients needed for soil blocking, but that won’t happen every year. Next year I’ll have my own compost, as well as some seaweed which I’m drying, and oyster shells that I’m going to burn and grind up. And the year after that I hope to be able to replace the coir or peat moss with my own leaf mould (another thing I learned how to do!). And I have a source for some sharp sand, as our sand is too fine - it worked okay, but the sharp sand will be better. For next year I’m going to get the larger soil blockers that make more blocks at one time, to speed up production.

I used the 3/4 inch soil blocks for the earliest seeds that need heat, as I can fit a lot into a small space (in the living room under lights). They worked great for the early things, or seeds that take a long time to germinate like celery. I potted them on to 2 inch blocks. Some went into the garden in those blocks, but some got potted on to larger pots from the free store.

Seeds that were started later - the ones that could be started outside in the unheated greenhouse - were started in the 2 inch blocks, such as lettuces, kale, and the succession plantings of parsley and cilantro.

The large seeded things like cucumber and zucchini were planted directly into pots I’ve collected from the Free Store. Oh, how I love the Free Store.

I did everything by transplant this first year, as I didn’t know if seeds would germinate and grow well in the soil-less medium I am using in my garden beds. I did direct seed some radish, lettuce and broccoli seeds into the beds to see how they would work. The germination rates weren’t great, but they did germinate and grow. The next time I tried direct seeding I put a shallow layer of soil down and planted into that. The germination was much better. I think next year I will do more direct seeding, but will be sure to put a sprinkling of soil/compost down in the row. This will probably be most important for fine seeds like carrots (which I didn’t grow this year).

I think my beds will be really good for growing potatoes. They will be easy to harvest and clean. I didn’t plant any this year, so that will be a new experiment next year.

I don’t think tall, top-heavy plants like corn or quinoa will be work well in these beds. The growing medium is just not strong enough to hold them up. When the kale and broccoli got a bit top heavy they started to kind of grow sideways . . . but they eventually started growing vertically again! If tall plants are planted close together they might hold each other up. We'll see how that goes next year.

I mentioned at the start of this thread somewhere that I experimented with planting some seeds - globe onions and green onions - in bunches. I put 10-12 green onion seeds, and 4-6 globe onion seeds, into a 2” soil block, and planted them in clumps, a little further apart than normal. The green onions grew really well that way. Most of the globe onions did as well, although as I mentioned, some of them got shaded out because of over crowding in the beds. These tended to be much smaller than the ones that didn’t get crowded. But all of the onions did pretty well all in all, and they are delicious!

Next year I am going to experiment with other veggies planted this way. The benefits are that you can plant slightly more in the same amount of space, they take up less room in the greenhouse, and it takes less time and effort to transplant - i.e. if you want to plant 300 onions, it will take a long time to plant out 300 transplants; but if you plant 6 seeds in each block there will only be 50 blocks to plant out, instead of 300. Brilliant, yes? I’d like to thank Eliot Coleman for that little tip.

~

I’m pretty excited about the plans I have for next year. We’re working on the next garden bed now, and I’m hoping to have at least 6 4x40’ beds next year (Hey, I like to dream big!) So obviously I’ll be growing more for market - I’m hoping to at least triple production. Because the beds weren’t finished until June 1 this year, I didn’t have anything for market until the middle of July. But next year I’ll be able to get things into the ground at the right time and have things to sell by April or May, some possibly earlier. I’ll also have more room to do succession plantings of lettuces, green onions, cilantro, and other quick growing things. I also hope to get a couple of more venues for selling to - Squirrel Cove Store is interested in carrying local produce, and the new owners are much more pleasant than the last one.

Besides just generally growing more produce, I plan on doing some experimenting with different varieties, and starting my landrace experiments. Tomatoes are first on the list. I’ve saved some seed, and will be introducing some different varieties next year as well. So not a lot of action next year, but I’ll be introducing some new genetics, and hoping they get it on and make some interesting crosses in the future.

I really, really want to get growing some corn. Everyone in the PDC class got a handful of corn from Rick Valley (instructor). It is his own variety that he has bred in Oregon. Looking forward to seeing what comes out of that. It’s very colorful. We also got to see and shell examples of cobs of Carol Deppe’s corn that Jodi grows and saves seed from on Linnaea Farm. It is quite beautiful. The difference between her corn and Rick’s corn is that with Carol’s corn, all of the seeds on each cob are the same color, where as Rick’s are mixed. I think Carol’s will be much better. Rick says that you can use his all mixed together, but Carol says that it’s better to separate kernels by color as each color has a different flavour and a different use. So there will be experimenting in the garden and the kitchen next year I hope!

Quinoa is also on the agenda for next year. I have been told that it isn’t worth growing because it takes too much work to harvest the seeds. But I think it will be worth experimenting with. I’m a pretty smart cookie, and I think I can come up with a way to harvest and thresh it in a way that will make it worthwhile. So next year I will be growing some, and we’ll see how it goes.

I’ll also be planting potatoes next year. Now I just have to figure out how to store them! We have a small cold room in the basement, and some other cool areas, so this winter I’ll put some thermometers down there to see what the temps and humidity do. I dream of a big ol’ root cellar . . . it’s on the list.

I’ll be doing lots of propagating this winter and spring. I want to get plenty of grape and figs started, as well as try out some air layering on the plums, apples and figs (another new skill learned from the PDC!). I’ll also be starting many more rosemary, thyme and sage plants from cuttings. I have visions of a large herb garden as I want to sell dry herbs, herbal vinegars, and essential oils - and I LOVE cooking with fresh herbs. The riding ring will be the home of the larger herb garden, so I want to get things going and growing in there next year. These three herbs are pretty deer resistant, so they will be going around the outside of the ring.

And that's enough for today. I've attached photos of

• the view of Gunflint Lake and a small orchard, from the deck of the classroom at Linnaea Farm - how's THAT for an inspiring view?!

• some of the kernels of the Carol Deppe corn (I forget which variety, at the moment) that Jodi grew and we got to shell

• my certificate, which I am very proud to have. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers
Tracy




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Gunflint Lake and orchard
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Carol Deppe corn
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My certificate - I'm on my way!
 
pollinator
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Congratulations on achieving your certification and on such an impressive success with your garden!

 
pioneer
gardener
Posts: 1504
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Tracy,
You've put in a ton of work this year. Congratulations on your certificate. And, "well done" on your first year garden success. I look forward to seeing where your newly acquired knowledge will take you.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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Thanks Tyler and Karen! Yes, it's been a great first year in the garden. Many things learned and many successes, which always helps to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going! I'm still amazed that I can go out to the garden in the middle of October and find things to harvest for dinner. Life is grand.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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Dreams keep me happy when the weather gets rainy . . .

I dream of having a nursery full of ‘permaculture plants’. You know the kind: they come up in permaculture conversations all the time - comfrey, medicinals, nitrogen fixers, Sea Buckthorn, etc. And trees - fruit and nut trees, nitrogen fixers, black locust and willow for building fences and other structures, and maybe some good bamboo for building things. And of course veggie starts, potted herbs, and other beneficial plants. Some for me and some to sell.

There is a nursery just up the road from me, so I’ll be visiting again and making note of what she has so I can offer what she doesn’t have. It looks like a lot of her trees come from off-island, and it is pretty conventional. My trees would be born and raised right here. Oh, and grapes, too. I have two varieties of very edible and delicious grapes, and they are easy to take cuttings from for new plants. So next year I will have grape vines and fig trees for sale. It’s a start.

The key, as with any business, will be to do things that the others aren’t doing, and to keep the overhead low. I can sell starts in soil blocks, rather than using plastic pots - except for larger things like shrubs and trees, which would be in pots rescued from the Free Store. Once the roots take over the soil blocks they hold together very well if you’ve done the mix right, so people can bring their own containers and fill them up with the blocks. I think people will like the idea of using less plastic. I know I do! There is also the possibility of having people bring their own large containers for trees and shrubs that are grown in beds to a certain size. I can just dig them up as needed if they are planted in a nice sandy mix that’s easy to dig. Something to ponder . . .

I also really like the idea of selling ‘guild packages’. So, I’d offer a tree, a couple of shrubs, some herbs, flowers, and a ground cover, as a package deal, with a little write up about how and why to plant it. This could also work with a ‘starter’ herb garden, a beneficial insect flower garden, or a ‘salad garden’. Lots of ideas there. Some people really like the idea of getting a whole package, especially when they think they are too busy to have a garden. I could make it simple.

I also dream of having a studio. Our house is so small, there really isn’t a place to set up a permanent painting area, and we have very little actual wall space for paintings. So the studio will also be a small gallery, as well as my office, and music space. I would love to have a cob studio, but we don’t have the materials anywhere close to home. So it’ll probably be some sort of cute cobbled conglomeration of bits and pieces collected at the free store and the saw mill at Klahoose. I’m good with that. I want a building that looks like it grew here.

Now that I have taken my first PDC, I am more sure than ever that I want to teach. I’m a good teacher, and I think that it is such important and necessary information to get out into the world. So now I have to start filling up my 'permaculture portfolio’ so I can get my teaching certification. Of course, there are a squillion projects just on our own property that will qualify. Also, the people from the PDC who live on the island will be helping one another out with different projects, so that can go into the portfolio as well. I don’t know how much actual work there is on the island for a permaculture designer - there are already a few ‘landscapers’ on-island. So I think that most of my portfolio will be filled with the projects that we will be putting together on our own property. But I have a few friends that might let me do some projects on their properties.

In the meantime, I’d like to host teachers to come to our property and give workshops. Until I feel confident giving my own workshops, I think it would be cool to keep learning and invite others to come learn, too. But I just might do a couple of one-day workshops on how I put my garden beds together, (might even get some help out of the deal!) and maybe how to use soil blockers for bedding plants. I hear so many people say that they can’t get them to ‘work’ properly. So that might be a good one to do. Hmmmm . . . what else? Oh! There is a ‘Garden Walk’ here on the island every summer. So I’m going to get on that tour next year. That would be a great way to spread the word about how I built my garden. I know that sand is a big problem all over our little island, so people might get something useful out of their visit.

Dreams . . . mmmmmm

~

Took a little walk through the garden today. Still things growing and being beautifully green, as well as lots of flowers, which was quite cheery on this dark dismal drizzly day. (Loves me some alliteration.)

Thanks for dropping by!

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Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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I made another observation in the garden - the extremely large conifer to the east of the garden is going to be a huge pain in the ass. In the spring, all the little papery wrapper thingys that come off of the new growth tips, or cones, or whatever they come off of, were annoying as they blew into the lettuce and were difficult to get out when washing without breaking the lettuce leaves. And now, the needles are all blowing into the curly kale and parsley, and are also being a pain in the ass. It's a shame as it's a pretty cool tree, with big rocks all around the base. And I have a feeling that it's going to be quite a fight with TM to have the thing cut down. Sigh. But this is the market garden, and one tree that is making so much more work for me just might not be worth keeping.

~

On a brighter note, Autumn really is a beautiful season. Here are some sexy shots of the property in its fall fashions.
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Maple trees by the barn, with a swing
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Pretty small-leaf maple arching over the carport
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And look at all those leaves for making leaf mold!
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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If you manage to talk TM into cutting it, you could leave it waist high, cut a bowl out of the middle with the chainsaw, add a drainage port (stick the saw up into the bowl from low on the outside), add dirt and plant flowers in and around it.


(Edit: I need to learn how to make my pictures smaller. Sorry.)
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Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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Oooooo, I like that! I was also thinking of carving it into a large throne, from which to oversee my domain.  But I think a planter is much more likely. Or maybe he could put a disc golf basket there, and make it part of the disc golf course. Or both! Aaaahh, so many possibilities. lol
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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A throne...Sweet! Long live the queen!
 
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Tracy, congratulations on the PDC and thanks for the write up about your experiences!

Karen, I love you pic of the planter.  That sunflower looks like it is looking down at its friends, the marigolds!
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Thanks! I have two of these hemlock planters. This one has jonquils, crocuses, sedum, dwarf irises and marigolds in it. Around it are marigolds, crocuses, anemone, glory of the snow, star of Bethlehem and a sunflower (there were a dozen sunflowers but I moved them).  There's something blooming 7-8 months out of the year.

We added some rocks in the bottom to help with drainage and lined the inside with a dog food bag (trimmed to fit).
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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Thanks, Anne. It was a great experience, and I just can't stop planning and dreaming! So many ideas to implement!

I really love the idea of a huge planter, Karen. I'm hoping The Man will go along with it.    I was picking branches from the Big Tree out of my garden bed yesterday. Not overly impressed by that. lol

~

So, I've just finished reading Carol Deppe's Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties. Loved it. I never thought that the dreaded fruit fly experiments in my university Biology 101 would ever come in handy! I appreciate how she includes a great amount of 'technical' information, but also lets us know that we don't need to know or completely understand this information in order to do breeding and seed saving. Lots of down-to-earth information for the people without a scientific background. I find the technical stuff fascinating, but if I don't need to learn it, I'll save the brain space for other things.

She has basically written a wonderful 'pep talk' to everyone who grows their own vegetables, and given us all a mission to save seeds from the agribusinesses that want to control, ruin, and patent seed-savers out of existence. I think this is a very important message: the agribusiness seed producers are creating seeds that are good for large scale production and transportation, but not good for people. It is going to be up to us as individual gardeners, market gardeners and small farmers to create, maintain and share diverse and healthy seeds.

I'm in! I now have the confidence I was looking for to not only grow my own food and save the seeds, but to do a little experimenting so that I can breed vegetables that grow well where I am, and that taste great. Some of the things that are most important to include in my breeding experiments are:

• Disease resistance
• Cold tolerance, for an extended growing season; and also for people who live in colder climates (for my friends and family in northern BC!)
• Drought tolerance, to save water and money, and have crops that will thrive even if there is a water shortage
• Delicious and nutrient rich varieties
• Storage ability, without losing eating quality
• High production

That ought to cover it!     I find it very exciting. I mean, what could be cooler that not only growing all your own delicious and healthy food, but also creating your own varieties that thrive in your area, produce copious amounts of food for you and your community, and then be able to save the seeds and share them with others in your area. I think it's brilliant. And I love that Carol has shared her love and enthusiasm, and given us all 'permission' to do this. I know a few people who are a little nervous about saving seed, in case they get in trouble. What kind of world have we created, where it could actually be illegal to save the seeds from vegetables you grew, and regrow them, breed new varieties with them, or share them with others. Pretty sad and scary to think that 'someone' is trying to control and 'own' our food system. It makes me very angry. So!

Embrace Civil Disobedience! Save your seeds! Grow your seeds! Share your seeds! Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties!

And have a lovely day.

Cheers
Tracy


 
Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Look! Another trench to fill up for the next garden beds! Pretty stoked about THAT. Only two more to go. 

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New garden bed
 
Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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So there I was, all snuggled in and ready to slip into hibernation mode, as was my habit when I lived up north. But it’s not winter. It’s not even close to winter-like out there. It was sunny and warm today. Crazy wonderful sunny and warm. My garden was all like, “Hey, where ya bin?” Flowers were blooming, bees were buzzing, things were growing. The broccoli is again covered in little baby broccolis. There’s gobs of parsley, kale, and celery to be harvested. I cut some lettuce for dinner tonight! And here I thought it was winter. 

But then again . . . there is the climate change thing. I remind myself that this unseasonably warm weather is a symptom of climate change, and that I still need to work toward creating a resilient garden. That’s what we were doing today: taking advantage of this stunningly beautiful unseasonably warm weather to build another buried wood bed so that we have a more resilient garden in case of drought, or other difficulties - perhaps something caused by a breakdown in the very fabric of our ’society’ . . . ?

So! In the wake of the 'rise to power' of He Who Must Not Be Named, we spent this beautiful sunshiny November day building another 85’ garden bed. And I feel much better than I did last night about the state of the world. I will have a big beautiful abundant garden, and the world powers can do what they need to do to make themselves feel important. I don’t really want to be a part of it. I’m just going to grow me some food. Working on crop rotations now, and what and how much to grow next year - or possibly this year!

AND! I finally have an oven. Mmmmmm . . . muffins.
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Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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And the garden.
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Yay for TM! Yay for Tracy! Loving me some journal of your wonderful successes and ponderings. I'm also 52, just got my dream country property after almost 15 years of living and teaching permaculture in the big city, and have been thinking about creating a thread very much like you have. You are inspiring!

A few comments while they're still fresh in my mind: use a fire or a flame weeder on your bamboo poles. Bamboo is so full of silica it will glassify under heat. They will last much, much longer if you do this. Also, my favorite tomato supports are metal t-posts with rigid panels of fencing slipped into the hooks on the posts. Welded wire with 1" x 2" (?) rectangles cut into 4' x 3' panels works really well. You can then tie the tomatoes to the wire, and the t-post is strong enough to hold everything up in any weather. Perhaps you can even create little 3-sided keyhole-like boxes with the supports, with the opening facing north - to shade the center for compost and water applications. Does this make sense? Maybe I should take a photo?

You have a need for a building, and you have a large softwood tree that needs to come down...sounds like a recipe for a cordwood cottage! Maybe you can even re-purpose the old foundation to that end, and find another spot for the outdoor kitchen? I'm totally in love with cordwood construction, since it is easy for older folks like me to do solo , it is "freaky cheap" as Paul would say, and you have lots of wood you can use. Think on it.

Finally, I have seen an amazing type of deer fencing that incorporates a chicken run as part of the fence. It was on Vashon Island, which is LOADED with deer (which should be a yield, but folks don't seem to get that). I'll dig through my photos and see if I can find some to post. Sounds like you will need to expand soon, and it makes sense to add chickens and gardens together, doncha think?

Today is Thanksgiving here in the States, and while there isn't so much to be thankful for here currently (don't get me started on politics), I AM very grateful for you and your dedication, spirit, and open heart. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Together, we can keep up the good work.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Hi Laura;

Thanks for stopping by. I'm always happy to inspire and incite! I'll watch for your new thread on your slice o' paradise.

Fire for the bamboo. Now, I never would have thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks so much for that little tidbit. The Man has a propane fire thingy, so I can line 'em up and do a bunch at once. Excellent! For garden supports, I'm leaning toward more natural materials, because of the money aspect - it's expensive getting things here to our little island - as well as wanting to use what I have. I'm going to dry some straight-ish broom stems (or trunks, in our case) as I hear they are very strong and last a long time once dried. My PDC teacher had a cane that he made for his dad 10 years ago from a broom stem, and it was hard as a rock. Of course, I'm also going to plant some black locust to use for fencing and supports, and we do have some cedar. And the bamboo, once I get them all fired up.

Yes, I'd love to do a cordwood studio. TM doesn't 'approve' of them, but I'll work on him and see if I can get him to come around. I think it would be awesome, and kind of look like it grew here. It's a little way into the future, as there are lots of other things that need to be done first, but I'm still planning and dreaming.

Chickens and gardens - yes indeed. I have the chicken coop and run incorporated in the main garden plans. And they will have access to the mini food forest once it's up and running. I'll also be looking for easy ways to get them into the new garden areas once they're up and running, so that deer fence/chicken run sounds great!

I am very sorry about your political situation there.    My aunt in Oregon messaged me during the election chaos and asked what house prices are like where I live! My poor relatives are decidedly unimpressed about the rise to power of He Who Must Not Be Named. Makes me happy to be an immigrant - in Canada. Plus, our little island is kind of on the outskirts of 'civilization', and it seems that people pretty much do what they want here. I'm quite happy about THAT. Civil disobedience is a way of life here. lol 

Happy Thanksgiving, and I'm glad I could be a bright spot in the day.

Keep the dream alive.

Tracy






 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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I found some vegetable varieties at High Mowing Seeds that are listed as OP, but are listed in other seed catalogs as Hybrids. Hhhmmm . . . Carol Deppe does mention in one of her books that she suspects that some seed companies list seeds as hybrids when they are actually not hybrids, undoubtedly so that people will not try to save them, and instead buy new ones each year. Pretty sneaky trick, if ya ask me.  >

~

We took a stroll around the property yesterday. It’s so beautiful. And it smells so lovely when everything is wet, and then the sun comes out for a little while. All shiny and clean.

~

The second buried wood trench in the main garden is almost done. TM put in a bunch of clay that I need to spread out, and put some in the first bed. Then the top layer of grass/weeds/stuff on top, and it’s done! It’s soaking up lots of rain, and I’m really excited to see how these beds do next summer as far as water consumption goes. Since the first trench didn’t get finished until the first of June, it was pretty dry going into the summer. But it still held water pretty well. All that organic material really soaked it up. So next year it should be even better.

I’m still harvesting kale and parsley for market. It’s running down, but I’ve got a couple of weeks worth of kale and, if it doesn’t freeze, parsley as well. I’m still getting broccoli sprouts for dinner every few days, although they are getting smaller and fewer. I’m really going to miss them. I’ll still have kale and broccoli leaves for dinners. The Man doesn’t like them much, but he generally eats most of his veggies. I’m down to my last few onions from the garden. I’ve got some frozen dried tomatoes, as well as some dried zucchini to use in soups and stews. And that’s about it for the garden goodies. Oh! And I have a bunch of dried powdered kale. That’s how I can sneak some veggie goodness into TM’s food. 

~

Oh, the plans I’m planning for next year’s garden! I actually have 3 rotation plans. One for the four beds we have done; one in case we get another two done; and one in case we get the last two done. Hey, a girl can dream!

~

I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to incorporate the whole rotation thing and also take advantage of self-seeding plants. I’ve come to the conclusion that the self-seeding will mostly work well in the herb spiral/kitchen garden areas. For the market garden, it won’t work as well because of the rotations, but I’m thinking that if some stuff does self seed - it would mostly be lettuces, parsley and cilantro next year - I can just pop them out and put them in their proper beds as transplants. But I’ll leave some where they sprout, just to mix things up. That should work okay. I’ll also have lots of calendula, borage and sweet alyssum coming up hither and yon, which is great. The more the merrier when it comes to those lovelies.

I’ve attached my plans below. I’m not sure how legible they’ll be, but if you see anything glaringly wrong, point it out to me. I’ve been working on these for quite a while. It’s fun - like working on a puzzle. I change stuff around as I learn new things, and will no doubt be changing them plenty more right up until planting time!

I’m trying to grow the highest value veg for market, so I’m still working out how much of everything to grow. I will have to take into consideration what others on the island are growing as well. There will be a growers’ meeting at the Natural Food Co-op, so I’ll find out more then and adjust accordingly. I know that lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, green onions, parsley and cilantro are all big ones. But I want to grow a little of everything, as I eventually want to have farms sales, and I should have something for everyone. I’m not sure if I’ll do a CSA, but I probably will eventually, so I will have to have a wide variety of things to put in the boxes. I also want to do lots of winter growing - I'm the only one providing kale and parsley to the co-op right now, and boy I wish I'd planted more! Next year I'll have much more winter stuff.

Anyway, enough rambling. I could talk about gardening all day long. But I’ll save some for another day.

Hope all is well out there in permaculture land.

Cheers
Tracy
Filename: Garden-Rotation-4-beds.pdf
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Filename: Garden-Rotation-8-beds.pdf
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Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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Dang. I didn't realize that pdfs would need to be downloaded. Here are some jpgs of the garden plans.
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Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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I’m deeply interested in plant breeding and all of it’s implications lately. Having just read Carol Deppe’s Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, my head is overflowing with ideas and plans for my future gardens.

And I’ve also just read this thread - https://permies.com/t/60409/Plant-Breeding-Human-Scale-Farming and, POP! now I have more good ideas in my head. I think seed saving/plant breeding is a VERY important conversation to have, considering the state of the world and the dismal way our seeds are being treated. And the price of food! Sheesh. Going shopping is getting quite ridiculous.

So! I’m already combing through seed catalogs online, trying to decide where to start this great seed adventure. I have been through the West Coast Seed website a LOT, and there are a lot of open pollinated and organic varieties on there. But I’ve also been looking at Salt Spring Seeds. They have a LOT of open pollinated and organic seeds, and I’m really leaning toward ordering mostly from them, as they seem to do a lot of breeding work for our climate, and they are a smaller, ‘family’ type business.

Eventually I will be ordering some of Carol Deppe’s seeds as well - next year once we have the staples garden built and fenced in. I want her flour and flint corns, as well as some of her beans.

I’ve been trying to find out some of the ‘food trends’ on our little island. There seem to be a lot of older singles and couples living here. So they buy smaller portions of veggies, and seem to really like the smaller sizes of squash. So that is something that I will be looking into creating - different varieties of squash bred to be smaller, but with enough meat on them to make them worthwhile. I don’t want to sell little squashes with big seed cavities - I want them to be meaty. So I’ll be planting a few of the smallest varieties, and we’ll see if any of them do what I want, or if I can tweak them a bit.

I’m also in the market for some dry beans that have thin skins, and cook down soft. And black beans for me! Loves me some black beans. Salt Spring Seeds has Black Coco seeds. 

Speaking of black beans - I also found some black soy beans at Salt Spring Seeds! I really want to make my own black bean sauce. Love that stuff. Apparently I have to get the right kind of mold. (The Man is gonna love THAT! lol I’ll have to keep it a secret.    ) Has anyone done this? Any tips and tricks?

Salt Spring also has quite a few varieties of peas that are good for drying for soup. I’m looking forward to that, for sure. I think with the peas, I’ll be looking for cold hardy so I can overwinter them and harvest in early summer without irrigation; as well as disease resistance and high production, of course. I am really looking forward to the dried peas and beans. I could eat black beans every day! I like them in my quinoa tabouleh thingy, and of course Mexican food just isn’t right without black beans - and cilantro. And there’s nothing quite like a pot of homemade pea soup on a cold winter day. (Not that we get many actual cold winter days here, thank goodness!)

Another thing I want to work with is lettuce. I’ll be ordering a bunch of the most heat-resistant varieties to find ones that can produce well throughout the heat of summer. And I’ll be testing out some cold-hardy varieties as well, so I can grow them in winter. I am trying to fill in the gaps here on the island.

Local lettuces seem to disappear when the hot weather hits (as well as cilantro!), and it seems that as soon as winter comes, there are more and more veggies being brought in from the USA and Mexico. My goal is to start to fill in those gaps of local produce by growing during winter, as well as getting good lettuces throughout the summer when the heat hits. I think this is where I will be putting most of my effort for the market garden. It’s easy to grow the regular things here in the summer - this climate is pretty much perfect for all of the regular ‘garden variety’ things. It’s in the shoulder season, and during winter that I’ll have to learn how to grow the right varieties - or create them.

I am also looking for cool weather varieties of tomatoes. So, I’ll start with short season varieties, and mix in some of the most cold hardy, and see where that gets me. Haven’t picked out the varieties I’ll use yet - still in research mode. But even if I can extend the season a couple of weeks to a month on either end with a hoop house, I’ll be doing well. Eventually they will be grown in the greenhouse in fall/winter/spring.

But first we’re working on designing hoop houses that will work with my garden beds. The greenhouse is hopefully on the horizon for next year. But even without a greenhouse, if I can put a hoop house over my tomatoes, lettuces, and greens, I would be able to grow much further into the late fall and winter.

Winter crops:

Hoop houses:
Lettuces & salad greens
Parsley
Cilantro
Leeks
Carrots

Greenhouse (as late into the season as I can; and as early a start as I can):
Zucchini
Cucumber
Tomato
Celery

Oh, how I love looking at seeds. Can’t wait ’til the catalogs arrive in the mail. I know I shouldn’t get the hard copies, but I just love snuggling in and thumbing through them on a winter’s night; putting in all my sticky note markers and making lists. Since I work at the computer all day, I get kinda tired of looking at it. I prefer a book.

~

I have been thinking of how I’m going to set up my staples garden. That is the growing area where I will grow things like potatoes, corn, squash, and quinoa, as well as garlic and other long-season things. The smaller market garden will be more for the high-turnover stuff, and winter growing - and for ourselves.

I know that the buried woods beds work well, but to dig and fill enough beds in the larger area would be quite daunting. So I’m think that swales on contour, and grow the crops between the swales. I’ll have to put down a lot of organic matter to get some soil happening on our little sand lot. I’ll start by growing a LOT of organic matter there - the usual suspects: clovers, buckwheat, daikon radish, etc.

I might do some buried wood beds on that area, just to help hold some moisture, and kickstart some soil microbial action. The beds we’ve built in the market garden area are great, but they won’t work well for tall heavy things. Even the broccoli and taller kales fell over in my beds this year. The growing medium just isn’t very strong. So corn and quinoa would definitely fall ass over tea kettle. They will be great for squash, though; and I think they’ll work well for potatoes, too -I’ll find out next year. But corn? Not so much.

So, maybe I’ll alternate swales on contour, then some growing space on the amended ’native soil', and then a buried wood trench, and then some more ‘native soil’, then a swale, etc. It will definitely make crop rotation interesting!

Okay, I’m off to work that out on paper! I'll post my ideas soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Cheers
Tracy

PS - Here are pictures of our owl - okay, he's not our owl, he just hangs out in our woods - and our squirrel (again, not our squirrel), eating pine cones. Cute, yeah?














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Our pretty owl.
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Lunch
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They look so dang cute when they
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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Aaaaand . . . gardening is over. Yep, it snowed. Not a lot, but enough. And it's been hovering around 0 for the last few days, and apparently will continue to do so, with possibly more snow. And sadly our house isn't exactly what you'd call 'airtight', so it's a bit chilly in here. BUT! Where I come from up north, it's down around -30C with a windchill of -40C . . . so I'm not whining about it as much as I could. Feeling pretty happy not to live there anymore. Winter was exhausting up north, especially when the kids were little. Just exhausting.

So, it's back to dreaming and planning and scheming for next year's garden, waiting patiently for the seed catalogs to magically appear in the mail box, and trying to find a name for the farm that TM and I agree on. We're getting close. But then, of course, once we agree on a name we have to find out if it's available, and then the whole rigamarole of setting up the business end of things. Fun stuff. The reason I'm eager to get the name settled is that I want to start a website and blog, so I can set up some residual income streams with affiliate advertising - Paul is offering some great deals for his stuff, and I'd like to get in on that. I don't especially like websites that are loaded with advertising, but I think it can be done tastefully and more subtly than lots of sites do. And since I'll be building and managing my own site, I'll have control over what's on it and how it's presented.

Once we settle on a name, I'll be doing the logo and the website, and then creating a nice brochure to put in the Natural Food Co-op where I sell my goodies. Next year I also hope to have wooden crates and stands done for display. We're planning on using a brand to burn the logo onto the boxes. I like that look - all natural and rustic like. Lots of cool ideas swirling around in my head, waiting for a place to land. Just gotta agree on that name . . . 

Anyway, here are a few photos of my garden in the snow . . . and some zucchini and tomatoes that I dried this summer. I used them in a stew - quite yummy.


Cheers
Tracy





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Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
478
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We went for a little stroll around the property yesterday. The snow layer has been rained on and then frozen, and it was so loud we could hardly talk! Not terribly serene. It’s been chilly but sunny the last couple of days. Looks like it dropped down to -10 last night, and it'll hover around zero for the next couple of days. But the sun is going to pop in off and on for a few days, so that makes me happy.

My garden looks very forlorn. Lumps of frozen flowers, herbs and veggies, with a few stalks of kale with small leaves sticking up out of the snow, looking like little palm trees. With everything frozen, I’m dreaming more dreams of next year’s garden. I can hardly wait. I’m seriously excited about trying to get as much as I can out of my garden next year. I’ll have at least twice the space to grow in - and possibly three times the space - so there are so many more varieties that I’ll be able to grow, eat and sell. Plus, as the garden wasn't ready until June first last year, I'll have a lot more time as well. I'll be starting some things inside as early as next month!

Next project being planned:

'30 veggies' planting, a la Gabe Brown.

Tyler is going to do the Gabe Brown thing at her place, and I’ve decided to do the same here. I was wondering where I would have space to do some experimenting, and remembered that we’re going to extend the fence at the back (north) of the garden to add in a small food forest/perennial area. So that’s where I’m going to do the '30 veggies planting', while I get the food forest going. This will be a good way to:

• Try out some new varieties
• Add some some organic matter to the area
• Do some seed increases for when I have more garden space fenced
• Increase diversity and attract beneficial insects
• Grow some ‘nurse' crops for small new trees

So! For my' 30 veggies' mix, I’ll first mix up some seeds of some of the varieties I’m planting in my market garden. Then, I’ll add in some varieties that I’d like to try to see if I like them, and to do a seed increase if I do - mostly pulses, and one corn. I have some corn seeds that I got from my PDC instructor, Rick Valley, from Oregon. Looking forward to seeing how they go - they’re very pretty. It will be a good way to up my corn seed supply, as well as to see how well they grow here, and if it’s a useful variety. Rick said it works well as a cornmeal corn, so we’ll see.

Then to this list I will add some wild flower seed mixes that I have - for the insectary and ‘pretty' factor - as well as some herbs.

So, things that I’m planting in my market garden, which I will plant some of in the food forest area:

Broccoli - 2 varieties
Lettuce - 4 or 5-ish  varieties
Parsley - 2 varieties
Radish - 1 varieties
Celery - 2 varieties
Mustard - 2 varieties
Chickpeas - 1 varieties
Kale - 2 varieties
Chard - 2 varieties

Other things I want to try:

Corn - Rick Valley’s corn
Peas - dry soup peas (different variety than what’s in the main garden)
Beans - dry beans (different variety than what’s in the main garden)
Soy beans - black seeded for black bean sauce
Fava - I’d like to try one just to see if TM and I like them
Daikon radish - for the rooty action
Chicory
Bunching onion

Herbs:

Summer savoy
Basil
Borage
Dill

Flowers:

Wildflower mix - have a variety of mixes to toss in
Calendula - I have LOTS of seed that the students at the school saved and dried
Nasturtium

I also have some seed packets of various things that are a year or two old, and got left outside. (Bad me.) They were in a plastic container with a lid, but I think they may have gotten moist from condensation. So, those will get tossed into the mix, too.

And that should about do it!

I think that will be a nice mix of stuff. Should look very rampant and abundant. And once the food forest gets going, the perennials and the stuff that re-seeds happily will continue to be ground cover, like the borage, summer savory, dill, calendula, and the wildflowers. Hopefully there will be other things like lettuces, and anything else that goes to seed, festively reseeding.

I can see it already. How exciting!

Anybody else as nerdy as I am and get overly giddy when planning their garden?

~

Still being knee-deep in Carole Deppe’s ‘Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties’, I have lots of ideas floating around in my head about all the things I want to try. (At first I was reading with a pencil and paper by my side, jotting down useful tidbits of information. But then I realized I was basically copying out the whole book! It's that good.) Of course, there is always that small sane voice in my head, reminding me not to cram too many projects into the growing season.

But here’s how I look at it: I’m going to be out in the garden anyway, and beginning to experiment now, and learning how to do trials, can only help me in planning future projects and trials. Even if some things get away from me, and I don’t get the results, I’ll still have lots of things to eat, be able to try out different varieties for taste, and I’ll still have lots to observe and learn from.

Mostly this first year I’ll be trying out different varieties to see what already grows well where I am. Once I have a good idea of what’s available that is good for this climate and my growing system, I’ll have a better idea of what I want to work on.

I’ll be growing a few different varieties of lettuce next year to find the most heat resistant and cold hardy. I really really want to be able to grow lettuce through the hot part of summer, as well as in the cool spring and fall/early winter. I’ll also be trying a few things like providing cover, or growing tall plants in front of them. But breeding a really heat and cold tolerant lettuce that grows well in my garden without extra work is my ultimate goal.

I saved some lettuce seeds from this year, just randomly; it’ll be interesting to see if I saved them right, and what they give me. I also have tomato seeds that I saved, so those might be going into the ’30 veggies’ planting area, rather than in the main garden. I didn’t do any purposeful crossing, but I saw lots of bee action, and there were many flowers that were quite open, so there might be some crosses. I’m not holding my breath.

Another crop that I’ll be trialling a few varieties of is broccoli. It’s a higher priced item at market, and I love all those little sprouts that keep coming after the main head is cut. This is another crop that I want to be able to grow late into winter. So I’ll be growing a couple of summer types and a couple of fall/winter types, to see how they go. I’ll trial three or four next summer, and three or four different ones the following summer, and see which ones are best. I think that breeding broccoli can be tricky, but I’m up for the challenge. If I find a few that have good traits, I think it would be a kick to be able to mix them up and get the perfect broccoli for me. But then again, there may already be the perfect one out there, so trialling all the varieties I can find might just get me where I want to be.

One thing that will be of utmost importance will be pest resistance. Being anti-ick in garden, I’ve been gathering all of the tricks and tips I can find to keep my garden as pest-resistant as possible, and with the fewest inputs possible. I think that breeding/selecting for pest resistance is going to be a strong tool in getting varieties that need little input. I really don’t want to be buying Remay and such things to cover up my garden. I don’t grow a garden to look at billowing white row covers all summer.

Low-in put includes money. I won’t spend money every year on row covers and poly and plant pots and seed trays. That seems very counterintuitive. That’s one reason I got the seed blockers - to do away with all those flimsy seed trays and plugs. The blocks worked great this year. I was very pleased with them. And I think I had the healthiest transplants I’ve every grown. I’m also confident that I’ll be able to sell seedlings in the soil blocks. Customers will just have to become accustomed to bringing their own containers to take them home in. The soil blocks really are quite sturdy once they are filled with roots. Should be easy to train customers, as people here are very eco-conscious. I hope to get the 4” seed blocker next year so I can do the larger things like tomatoes, zukes and cukes, as well.

Well, that’s enough rambling. For those of you who made it to the end, thanks for hanging out. Feel free to tell me about your projects and other exciting events taking place in your world.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10180
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Very excited to see your 30 veggies experiment! 
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Thanks, Tyler. Me, too! I think it is going to be a fun project, and it has the potential to teach me so much. And feed me, too!

~

So, I'm pretty tickled to have been asked to join the fantastic crew of permies.com as a volunteer. I now proudly sport the title of 'gardener'. I have already been involved in the book promo that's going on right now in the Scythes forum. The Scything Handbook by Ian Miller looks like a good book to get started learning how to scythe, and care for your scythe. I would love to have one, and am learning so much just by reading the threads in that forum. Ian is in the forum answering questions until Friday, so if you have anything you want to ask him, head over there. You even have the chance to win a copy of his book. How cool is THAT?

I am looking forward to doing more projects here at Permies, and getting to know those fab folks that work so tirelessly to bring us this fantastic forum. I work as a freelance graphic designer, and although I really enjoy working my own hours and not having to go to an office job, I must admit that I am getting frustrated trying to find work that is remotely 'meaningful'. And by meaningful I mean something that helps promote the ethics and ideals that are becoming more and more important to me. Maybe I can make some connections, and find other work through my volunteer work here. Work that is more in line with my own dreams and ideals. Ya never know.

Either way, I'm thrilled to my toes to be involved with this awesome site, even just a little!





 
Anne Miller
pioneer
garden master
Posts: 1969
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Congratulations on the new title.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have a question about the 30 Vegetables Experiment:  Will you be planting one time, after the last frost?  Or will you be planting in succession as the season warms?  I get the impression Gabe planted one time, but I'm not totally sure...

 
Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Oh, hhhmmm, now THAT is a good question. I'll have to ponder that, and take a look at what I'm growing. I was envisioning just mixing all the seeds together and broadcasting them, and letting the fittest survive. But you bring up a good point.

Maybe I should mix them into two batches: one for early spring sowing, and one late spring.

Come to think of it, I might have to divide the seeds further: Taller things like corn and quinoa should probably go at the back.

Okay, so how about:

1) early spring mix
2) late spring mix
3) tall mix

I think that should work. Now to decide which goes in where! I shall return with a new list.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm worried about not getting the full polyculture effect if I don't plant them all at once, so I think I will be broadcasting and raking in all the seeds after the last frost date, and see what survives!
 
Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Yeah, that's a consideration. Perhaps I could pick an 'average' date - somewhere between early and late spring, and broadcast then. I'll still leave the corn and quinoa seeds out, and just plant them at the back separately. But I think I can still get the polyculture effect by broadcasting separately. When I plant the 'late spring' seeds, the first sown shouldn't be so big they'll shade out the others.

OR! I can split the area into two parts. In one I'll do early spring and then late spring sowings, and in the other I'll broadcast them all together. That way I'll know if one works better than the other, and can use that system next year! That seems reasonable.
 
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Location: Nova Scotia, Zone 5
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Hello from the other Coast! Thanks for taking the time to write these posts, very inspiring.

I just wanted to ask if you had considered planting potatoes in seaweed? Its fairly common in coastal Maritime communities to plant sets in a pile of seaweed instead of underground. Some folks rinse the salt off, others don't bother. But if you have access to loose seaweed off the beach, it might save you some digging.
http://www.seaweed.ie/uses_general/fertilisers.php

Excited to see your project continue! 
 
Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 1827
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Ah, a new year . . . blah blah blah . . . when can I start gardening?! 

Won’t be long until I get my first seeds started - artichoke to start with, then some early peas, and some flowers and shrubs. Then comes March, and the real seeding madness begins! Can’t wait. Time to shine up the ol' soil blockers, and set up the grow lights!

I'm mapping out the small food forest for the north end of the garden, as well. The space is about 40x60'. So, not huge, but enough to put in a few things that I really like and have some plants to propagate from when we're ready to plant the larger food forest areas. I'll write up the list of plants, shrubs and trees I plan to use in the next instalment, but there will definitely be hazelnuts, cherries and saskatoons!

~

Looking through the seed catalogs for the best English cucumbers to grow in my area, and holy crap some of the seeds are outrageously expensive! $12.95 for 5 seeds?! Ridiculous.

I am still doing research, but I’m hoping that I can create my own variety of cucumbers that are open pollinated - or learn how to produce the seeds of these kinds of cukes. There are quite a few factors involved, and I’m not knowledgeable enough yet to know if it’ll work. So I’ll be writing up a thread to put in the Plant Breeding forum, and hope to get someone to give me some input.

I am of the opinion that seeds should not be so bloody expensive, and that hybrids are just a real clever way for seed companies to make more money. So, if I can create an open pollinated variety, I will definitely put that on my list of things to do.

~

There’s a new satellite picture of our property! Yay! I can see the garden area, and it shows the areas that have been cleared. Pretty cool to see the difference from two years ago.

I just drew some lines all over it to show what’s there, and what I see in my imagination. Fun.

~

We had some plumbing troubles a while back. Good times.    Our whole plumbing system needs an overhaul as it is a real mish-mash of stuff. I think that the original builders had some greywater/alternative systems set up, but they have been changed over the years (badly), and now it is just a real mess. I have been researching lots of cool alternative systems, and am trying to get TM on board. We’ll see . . .

This is a great thread - https://permies.com/t/17877/Humanure-flushing-toilets-worm-farms - I got a lot of inspiration and information from it.

I also saw some wonderfully simple systems at Linnaea Farm during the PDC. I’ll be taking TM there to have a look, to see how simple yet effective it can be.

~

And! I think we have finally agreed on a name for the farm! If TM doesn’t change his mind . . .     One of the main reasons that I want to get a name decided on soon is that I want to set up a website - well, it’s almost done, actually - and get some of that residual income action happening, because it takes a while for those things to get rolling. So many cool ways to start little trickles happening - but I can’t publish the website without the name!

I won’t tell you the name yet - stay tuned for the great reveal! lol

~

Now that I am a part of the staff of Permies (still pretty tickled about THAT), I am more aware of the things I post, how I say things, and whether it might be helpful or inspiring to anyone. There's a thread about this very thing here . I love to inspire people and to share information and get inspired by others. One of my goals is to start more threads about my projects, observations and ideas, so I can have more ‘conversations’. I know a few people come here to read my thread, but it’s not really conducive to conversation. So, look out for more prattle from me about my projects and thoughts in other forums! I know you all are probably pretty stoked about THAT . . . 

~

It’s windy tonight. I wouldn’t mind if the power went out - which it often does when it’s windy here - then I could light a few candles, close the computer, and read a book. But! there is work to be done (at the moment it’s a catalog for a client in Australia who sells laser printers - very exciting) and the search for new ways to make money with the skills I have is ongoing. Setting up residual income streams is becoming more and more important to me. The market garden will be bigger this year, and even bigger next year, and will take more of my time, but there is so much we need/want to do around here that everything I can get rolling to bring in money will help. And to have a few residual incomes, along with the market garden and a few graphic design clients, works well as I enjoy variety. Keeps life spicy! 

~

And that’s enough yammering for now.

Cheers
Tracy

Here is a before and after satellite image of the property. See how much Broom TM cleared!

And a snowy photo of the future food forest area at the back of the garden.





Property-before-after.jpg
[Thumbnail for Property-before-after.jpg]
Future-Food-Forest-area-Jan3.jpg
[Thumbnail for Future-Food-Forest-area-Jan3.jpg]
 
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Tracy Wandling wrote:Yeah, that's a consideration. Perhaps I could pick an 'average' date - somewhere between early and late spring, and broadcast then. I'll still leave the corn and quinoa seeds out, and just plant them at the back separately. But I think I can still get the polyculture effect by broadcasting separately. When I plant the 'late spring' seeds, the first sown shouldn't be so big they'll shade out the others.

OR! I can split the area into two parts. In one I'll do early spring and then late spring sowings, and in the other I'll broadcast them all together. That way I'll know if one works better than the other, and can use that system next year! That seems reasonable.



Normally I would say Feb 15ish... but then again I haven't seen this much snow since 2006-8 when we first moved here. Sometimes the last week of Feb surprises with a light snow...
 
Tyler Ludens
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Plumbing, I can empathize...we blew a pipe today due to insulation falling off and it froze...doh!
 
Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Hi Len: I know, right?! Crazy weather. I'm not used to living where spring actually comes in the spring, so being able to plant any time before the end of May is new for me!

~

Oh, Tyler, I'm so sorry about your frozen pipes. That's one of the many things I REALLY don't miss about living up north (the real north - northern BC - not where I am now lol). Winter just wasn't winter without at least one frozen pipe episode. And they've been having some hellishly cold weather this year. -35C (-45C with wind chill. And there is always wind in Dawson Creek.)

I am so happy to live where I am now. Winter was exhausting up there.
 
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One way to deal with deer is to put up a fence to keep them out. But they can see through a fence and want to get to the other side.

Planting an edge grow to guide them away from areas you don't want them is another way. Hawthorn, blackberry, roses, raspberries, etc. planted as a impenetrable line.
 
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Tracy Wandling wrote:Yes, for sure. As soon as I can get The Man to stop mowing under the trees, and let me plant some guilds. It's a process . . .



A thought from a few months back (because the process never ends)...

When I started a permaculture garden at my grandma's yard, her "lawn mower man" was a neighborhood guy who she said was not that bright, but she liked to give him the work.  He worked on his own terms; I had zero direct communication, and certainly didn't have an opportunity to 'convince' him of anything, let alone trust him to recognize special plants.
It was a big yard, and he worked fast, often without consulting anyone before beginning.  (It was a long-standing enough arrangement that he had somehow left his previous riding lawn mower in her back lot; it was slowly being consumed by algae, blackberries, and honeysuckle, and presumably non-functional.)

I quickly discovered the benefits of using the cutesy little white mini-picket-fences stashed under her porch. 

There is not a lawn mower operator alive who has not occasionally, accidentally mown down some precious tendril or barked a seedling.... I have certainly done it myself, to plants I planted myself; any mower or weed-whacker big enough to get the job done is also capable of doing a lot of damage quickly.

But there are also very few lawn mower operators, no matter how obsessive, who will remove a small shin-high fence in order to damage The Garden.

If you can stand cutesy border things, they are very useful for demarcating where Lawn Mowing can stop, and The Garden begins. 
They basically declare that whatever happens on the inside is The Garden, and will be controlled by Hand Weeding and Tender Care; the lawn mower need not trouble himself about it any longer.

Now, how to explain when they are full of knee-high grass on the inside... that's up to you.


(Though they smack of convention, these border-guarding markers are entirely compatible with creating rich edges.  The picket fences are easiest to mow around if they are set in lines or zig-zags, other shapes can be curved if you have lawn-edging tools.  But inside the garden side of the border, you can easily include some lawn-transition, ornamental grasses, or steppable herbs and make the actual transition from meadow-like to dense guild plants any squiggledy shape you want. 
It's also compatible with using physical barriers, like metal edging, to control the encroachment of rhizominous grasses which often invade even the most densely mulched or poly-cropped bed.)

I wrote elsewhere about how many edible plants I discovered in my grandma's lawn.  Doing a plant ID tour (Gaia's Garden has some good tables in the back, and Pojar & McKinnon is a good reference for plants you may not know) may give you a lot more profound appreciation for what's possible in a mow-able salad garden.  And then, of course, how do you explain that the plants on the inside of the garden fence are EXACTLY the same weeds we are mowing on the outside? ....


... it's a process.
 
Tracy Wandling
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Been a while since I've posted. I've been busy learning the ropes here on Permies, getting myself set up to take over some of Destiny's duties, and starting an exciting project for Paul. (Stay tuned for the great unveiling lol!) I'm pretty stoked about it all, and can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel in a few areas of my life plan.

I've been having a bit of a hard time with current world events, and my place within them. I have a deep and abiding urge to fight! To scream and yell and shake people to try to make them understand - even while knowing that there are better ways to do it. Sometimes I just have to stop looking at what's going on, and read a seed catalog, or better yet, one of Carol Deppe's books! I like to think that I was happier before I educated myself on what's going on in the world - but I don't think I was. I am not unhappy now, but i'm freakin' pissed, and a little afraid. But I actually feel a little more empowered, and little more in control. Oddly enough.

Okay, that's enough of that. I don't want to talk about this. So . . .

~

It's spring! Okay, maybe not entirely spring - but there are things budding and sprouting and looking very springish. I took a little stroll around the property looking for evidence of spring-like activity and found plenty!

We're about to start work on the third 80 foot trench in the garden, and might pooooossibly get the fourth one done by the end of the month as well. Fingers and toes crossed! Visions of seed packets dance in my head, and I think I've pretty much got the planting plans worked out. Of course, they will probably change and morph as I plant, but that's half the fun for me.

I can't wait to get some homegrown veggies back into my diet. Last summer, it was so wonderful to stroll out to the garden and pick dinner. So many wonderful flavors and beautiful colors. The whole process makes dinner seem less of a chore, and taste all the better. Last year nothing got planted until June, so I wasn't harvesting until July. But this year! Well, I'll be planting as soon as ever I can. Some things will be going in by mid February, and lots of seeds will be started this week. I've got some experimental stuff to do - cotton!! - and some artichokes and goji berry seeds to start. I'll be setting up my lights and such tomorrow!

Because of my monetary . .  erm, situation . . . I'll have to order seeds in small batches, and hope that I can get everything I want. But I'll take what I can get, and hope that my financial situation will improve soon. If I can't get everything I want this year, there's always next year. And I'm sure the Co-op and Squirrel Cove Store aren't too particular about the varieties of veggies I sell them.

I'm also going to take the copious amounts of breadseed poppy seeds I collected last year and scatter them around the property. The deer don't seem to be interested in them, so they'll be a good way to get some color and diversity out into our vast expanse of grass. I'm also going to plant some seeds around the two plum trees and one apple tree to get some guilds happening. Things that the deer won't bother much - lemon balm, thyme, summer savory, and poppies are what I have now. Oh, and some alliums - onions and chives.

Anyway, here are some photos I took during my stroll around the property. It is so freaking beautiful.

Some little green things poking up. I think they're Snowdrops



Hellebore around the pond.



Lemon balm in the herb spiral. There are also some leftover green onions sprouting, as well as chives.



Oregano in the Mediterranean herb garden. The thyme and rosemary also made it through. Hooray!



Color in amongst the green. The first blooms of spring are always a little thrill.



The plum tree is putting out little buds.



Had some people over for disc golf last week. Was kinda fun. Especially give a little tour to the folks who hadn't been here before.



Climbing rose is budding.



The sage is putting out new leaves. Yep, definitely spring!




Oh, AND! I got some water kefir grains from a friend. First small batch will be ready tomorrow. Looking forward to getting my guts healthy again!





Thanks for dropping by. I'll post my seed starting progress, and how I make soil blocks soon!

Cheers
Tracy










 
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Wait, so a month ago it snowed and you posted that gardening was done and now it is spring !!! Where do you live, in paradise !? 
 
Tracy Wandling
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Pretty much, Miles! Winter here is sort of just autumn, with a quick splat of winter, and then spring again! I LOVE it here. Growing up in the north has made me deeply appreciative of our fantastic climate here.
 
I can't beleive you just said that. Now I need to calm down with this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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