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Hello :)

Posts: 3
Location: NZ
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Hiya! I'm vamp - that's what everyone calls me, except my dad and my aunt and anyone of their generation who was introduced to me before a whole lot of years ago. I tend to run into problems when there is a real name policy, so if you want you can call me anise, but I'm really more comfortable with vamp :)

I'm pretty much a newb to permaculture. I'm only on my second year of serious gardening (started digging over the very neglected and weedy veg patch in the back yard in August last year, and it's all kind of snowballed from there). Watering/irrigation was a nightmare last summer, we end up on water restrictions, and it's likely to be like that again this year (southern hemisphere, so it's spring now) because I didn't do all the things I planned to do over the winter. But I figure while I'm growing stuff in my somewhat traditional beds this season, I can start to figure out what I can do going forward.

We get a ton of rain in the winter and spring, but tend to have very dry summers around here. Clay soil, but after last year the soil in my actual garden plots and beds are looking a lot nicer, but it's still cracking and going hard when it gets dry. I mulch with whatever is going, mostly lawn clippings, which everyone tells me is bad because weed seeds, but I don't have too much of a problem, really. I've acquired some straw this year, mostly because I've got more beds now and not enough lawn clippings to go around ;)

I companion plant, but I'm not too strict or hung up on rules. Mostly stuff goes in wherever it will fit. After last year I'm thinking a bit more about where the sun is, where the wind is coming from. Especially the wind. I learnt that after my sweetcorn all ended up on the ground last summer :/ My garden is quite diverse, for a vege patch, I think, though so far I've tended to keep annuals and perennials separate. After just one year I'm shifting from the 'traditional' mindset that at the end of the season you rip everything out and start over. It feels so much more logical to have a rolling change.

I refuse to mow lawns, call me old fashioned, but I insist that it's man's work ;) Hubs isn't fond, however, and will procrastinate until they're knee-high. So I figure, I can do us both a favour and turn half the lawn into a food forest... I'm kind of inhaling all the info I can on swales and hugelkultur and stuff right now - we're on a somewhat gentle slope at the base of a mountain, and I hope to get as much rain into the ground as possible over the spring seasons to alleviate the need for too much watering over the summer.

I noticed last year that the lawns tended to grow quite happily at one of the lower corners of the property even during the drought last summer while everything else was turning brown - the corner directly below my main garden bed (which, incidentally, is about as far from the house as it can get without actually being in that soggy corner - it was there when we bought the house, so I've been working with the existing feature). Everything I'm putting on the garden is just kind of seeping down to where it's not really needed. So I need to find some way of keeping it where I put it... And I want the actual 'kitchen' garden a lot closer to the house as well, so really I need to redo everything. I have plans to start on a lumpy section of lawn hubby *really* hates mowing between the house and the garage - but I might have lack-of-sun problems.

I really have no idea what I'm doing... Which is why I'm here. Running off my mouth and going off on tangents ;)
Posts: 11799
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Hi there vamp! I think you'll enjoy your kitchen garden much more once you move it closer to the house. This is the single most important thing I've learned from permaculture - to put things that need the most attention as close to the house as possible. My kitchen garden is right out the back door. I can see if from where I sit now, and I can see it first thing in the morning. It makes me so happy.
anise dean
Posts: 3
Location: NZ
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I think I will too Sadly, I won't be able to see the kitchen garden from the kitchen window (it's a whole weird thing in the way our house was designed - the 'back' door that goes outside from the kitchen is actually a side door), but I 'll be able to peer out the bathroom window at it when I brush my teeth
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