Back in November 2010 we started to convert our back yard in Winston-Salem to a food forest from a suburban lawn that has what some might call, "specimen trees" growing in it. In June of this year I emigrated to Finland to be with my fiancee (now my wife). As a way to give something back to my parents, I'm going through all the photographs I took in the past two years, compiling them into slide shows, and narrating the growth of the garden.
I thought other permies in the South might want to see these.
Disclaimer: I don't claim them to be anything special, I've never taken a PDC, but I have been lurking here- listening to Paul, reading whatever I can get my hands on, and spending more time out in our garden than I ever imagined I would. I made quite a few mistakes that are blatantly obvious. I talk about those mistakes. I've never recorded myself before and I'm still learning how to moderate my voice for such a project. My photography is terrible until the end of 2011 when it improves to "bad." Oh, and this is the first garden I ever had the chance to implement from ground breaking to seed harvesting. Lots of things to point and laugh at
So, if you don't like them, stop watching. It really is that simple. But I'll update this thread as I finish them, regardless of the comments, because I think that there might be someone, somewhere, out there who could learn from my mistakes and our successes.
PS- I won't be posting anything from the last week of July-first week of August because our marriage is being blessed in the church and we will have family and friends from back in the States and elsewhere abroad with us here in Helsinki. I love permaculture, but not that much
1. November 2010-January 2011. Run time: 49 minutes. This is the longest video because I wanted to introduce the site as fully as I could (well, I could have gone on for hours, but...). Link to video on YouTube
2. February-March 11 2011. Run time: 26 minutes. Finishes covering our first winter in the garden. Link
3. March 16-May 28 2011. Run time: 31.5 minutes. Spring comes to the garden. Double digging, transplanting, etc. Also note that I tag this as "food forest" even though you will be seeing us plant typical garden vegetables and herbs. The reason for this is that our first year was a stress test- of both ourselves and the soil. As this was my first garden, I figured it would be easier for me to tell just how fertile (or infertile) out site was by cultivating mostly annuals. Once Fall 2011 comes around you will see us planting a perennial cover crop to prepare the soil for conversion to food forest. Link.
I talk about our use of woodmulch in a new garden - its pros and cons- and the idea of the large annual garden being a "stress test" for ourselves and the soil. The green guild transitions from production to reproduction, the nightshade and four sisters guilds begin to see rapid growth (although the nightshade guild was many more times successful).
I backtrack into the end of June to show the storm damage. Straight line winds, erosion, the importance of digging swales on contour and showing evidence of why you need proper overflows.. I rant about American lawn culture for a couple of minutes. I show a couple pictures of our yields. More pictures from 'around' the garden rather than just the three main guilds. There is also some discussion about the polycultures used.
The next slide show will be from September 2011. It'll be a shocker
I've lurked here for a few years and I'm glad to see more and more folks from NC joining and contributing. NC, we have found in just the short time that our garden has existed, is in one of those transition zones. Zone 7 was warm enough, but now that we are moving to 8, it changes things dramatically...
This sixth slideshow picks up after my visit to Finland in August. I returned to find that the garden was in a state of disarray. So I discuss that a little bit, walk you through what happened, and how fall of 2011 was the end of the stress test. Luckily we had never planned on it being more than one year long to begin with! As October-November show, our transition to a cover crop is well under way.
This was the hardest slideshow I'll ever have to make.
Taking full advantage of the mild winter, our cover crops and winter vegetables continue to grow throughout January without interruption. I talk a bit more about the cover crop, setting up very basic habitats and wind breaks, and basically just show the garden in winter. The narration is a bit slower, but I did make it through quite a few photographs.
I'm planning on making the upcoming slide shows a bit more informative using information from Edible Forest Gardens and some other resources.
This one has more information than any other video I've done. I talk in depth about our choice of species for the cover crops. There are some changes in the swales. I also talk a little bit about using birds (again). Anyway, I'm pretty satisfied with this one. Can't wait to get into spring. I'll try to keep the rest of the slide shows at 30 minutes, like the previous ones, but if I run over, I run over.
Early spring in the garden. The cover crop more than doubles in size and we begin to see even more species bolt to provide the emerging insects with a food source and habitat. I talk a bit about how our system, even in its infancy, is able to respond to unexpected weather because of designed resiliency. The only thing facing our garden now is drought and we have yet to build very much organic matter into the soil and set up rainwater harvesting (to do!)
April 2012. 32:48. April was tough since we had dramatic growth but knew that we could see another frost by May 1st. So we worked on mulching, expanding the garden, and taking in our cover cropping efforts.
Slide shows complete for May 2012. I had too many photos for just one, so it is split in half.
May is for maintenance- continued coverage of our dynamic accumulating, nitrogen fixing, nectary sharing perennial ground cover.
We are focused on observation and increased fertility through "chop and drop" of comfrey, the brewing of compost tea, and better care of our worm farm.
Through the first part of May we plant out some more natives from the Baptisia line of indigos, Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo), Thermopsis caroliniana, Robinia psuedoacacia. Some squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and other summer favorites either sprout on their own (volunteers) or are planted into the new sheet mulched bed.
Mostly more of the same from the first part, more bird visitors. As building soil is our main goal for the next few years, nothing will get too exciting. However, it is still useful for us to revisit these photos to see just how dramatic the changes have been to our landscape. There is a palpable sense of satisfaction as the diversity increases, the soil retains more water (and seems to "want" less).
ast slide show with pictures that I have taken. I may be able to put one together for July. We will see.
So really not all that much changes- the dramatic changes from the first year cannot be easily replicated when we are trying to grow biomass. Again, by 2015 we'll be putting in more woody shrubs and such and we'll be seeing a much different landscape. Too exciting.
Anyway, here is the link to the last slide show----
Of course, cover cropping continues. Our addition of some vegetables does well in the new sheet mulched bed. Rapid growth of seeds from the seed bank (ragweed, etc.). Echinacea flowers put on a display and a rose is added to the garden.