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explaining how to garden at your place

 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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I moved up to the country ((Oregon Coast)) from a bad area in Cali.  My family is happy, they knew we wanted a healthier better life, etc, and I kept mentioning we are going to do things different, get off the grid etc. 

So, in time, we move, we find 3.3 acres and I start getting my butt to work.  Now when my family or friends visit they want to weed (they thought flowering celery was a weed).  They want me to mow the orchard, etc.  I constantly repeat, "It's not how things are done here, I want it to be a forest."  I constantly tell them we are doing things in a more natural method.  With that, I got told to go borrow my neighbors goats so they can mow the orchard at least. 

So, my question is, do any of you have or had gone through this wife family & friends?  How do you keep explaining over and over while trying to set your homestead up?  Any suggestions?

 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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you're not doing bad if its just visitors
my lady is having a hell of a time restraining her urge to pull weeds and plant things in nice straight rows
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9403
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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No, nobody in my family much cares what we do!    I think you might be lucky to have family and friends that want to help out!    Maybe come up with some projects they can help you with.  That way they can feel like they're included.

You might also give them some books to read like "Gaia's Garden" or similar to show them what you're aiming for.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Keep a bale of straw or something handy and when they want to weed, teach them to mulch instead and give them a lecture on the benefits of mulching as they're doing it.  If they're showing an interest, it's best to harness it rather than fight it. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I don't see too much harm in a few straight rows, if it would make a few people happy.

I definitely don't think that repeating yourself will work.

I have given up on a shared front yard, because a neighbor pulled up almost everything. Some people really like the look of dead, bare soil.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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Burra Maluca wrote:
Keep a bale of straw or something handy and when they want to weed, teach them to mulch instead and give them a lecture on the benefits of mulching as they're doing it.  If they're showing an interest, it's best to harness it rather than fight it. 


yeah we is getting there I can see her fingers twitch every time she looks at the "green manure" standing three feet high in half the garden bed though and I had to stop her from pulling the lettuce that is starting to bolt
 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
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Show (and feed) them results. Results sell ideas.

If you don't have many results yet, educate. Talk about it. I've been working with my father on our property for a summer now. We spend a lot of time doing tasks where we could chat and discuss things and we are both moving in a good direction. I am becoming much more practical and realistic and he is starting to understand the permaculture paradigm.

Regarding mowing: Not mowing is great, so long as you are doing something else with the space like keeping animals or making hay or establishing groundcovers. We didn't mow for the first two years and  it was great: we had tall grass and many grasshoppers. Then knapweed (Centaurea nigra) invaded our field. It is allelopathic and relishes poor, dry soils. It is very competitive. The grasses died back, the grasshoppers left. Its the natural order of things: perrenials take over from the annuals. But knapweed is almost useless to us and was killing everything else. So we had sheep for two years and the knapweed slowly moved back. We didn't get sheep this year and it gained ground again. We're getting a donkey now and planting trees and maybe some groundcovers. That should get us moving back in the right direction.

Anyway, all I'm saying is that if you don't mow/weed/maintain you have got to anticipate what nature will do to fill the niches you are creating. The permaculture way is to fill those niches yourself with species you like. That's what we realised a bit too late and now we are spending effort we wouldn't have needed to spend to pull the ecosystem back into a succession that we want.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Ask real questions... "Really?  Why would I do that?  what do you think that would do? Gee I haven't noticed that problem... do you see it here?  What would happen next?"  Be sincere... maybe they have something to offer... maybe they just haven't thought it through... maybe you haven't thought it through... maybe you can just identify a difference in aesthetics so you are both clear.

Sometimes it is really interesting to just sit back and learn more about other peoples ideas... I think that working with people might actually be the real work.  Garden therapy.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Paul Cereghino wrote:Ask real questions


What a wise policy!

If I were the bumper-sticker type, I'd be tempted to buy one with those three words.

Some of my favorite writers address seemingly-impossible problems with the strategy of "give them an opportunity to be human with you."

Thanks for suggesting this.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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i have this same problem, and its gotta be the hardest problem to solve i have ever come across related to gardening/farming. no matter what i do or how i explain it. things still get planted in rows( even though the gophers LOVE them for planting in straight lines) things get thrown in the trash and end up in the dump( that should be recycled on property) and many more things that drive me nuts.
 
Josiah Maughan
Posts: 42
Location: wellsville, utah
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when my mom and grandma come to visit, i get in a large bi-lingual argument about all this. they want it to look nice.

"that will draw this kind of bug, or that kind of bug"

i have CHICKENS, i HOPE those bugs come,,, it will make me spend less on FEED. 

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i got some of that in my food forest/orchard area, until they saw the gobs of fruiting plants growing like wildfire, and then they left me alone, however, hubby (head injury, short term memory loss) still pulls things i ask him not to pull..cause he was always TAUGHT to do that ..when a child...weeding the ROWS

My food forest looked really weedy in spring and early summer, but the tomato plants were loaded, gobs of coles and greens, cukes and cabbages, herbs and flowers, they learn to leave you alone when you have beautiful gardens IN your ORCHARDS..

 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
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Always remember why you began this lifestyle.  Did you begin it for the sake of others?  Or did you begin it to fulfill a need or desire within yourself? 

Certainly trying to show others what you are doing and the benefits of it is a great practice, but don't expect everybody to jump on board with you.  It's their choice to do what they want with the information they give you.  However if they refuse to follow your guidelines on your own property after all this remember you don't have to let them work it.  Just tell them, "Thanks, but I've already got everything done!"

As a lady I used to work with used to tell me: "No." is a complete sentence.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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oh oh I love that statement..NO is a complete sentence...i gotta remember that.

I'm always telling my husband he OVERexplains ...

sometimes you'll have losses from people helping..best to supervise them..i have lost a lot of things from helpers
 
                                  
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Rows are compatible with many purposes and tools. Wheel hoes, t-tape, temporary electric fencing, lawn mowers, and wire trellises all love rows.  Plants don't care if they're in a row or not.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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But animals and beneficial insects do care. Untidiness is good natural order. Tidiness is maintained disorder.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Wise counsel everyone, thank you! 
 
rose macaskie
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That part of me that has learned psychology and that from the air, it is on children’s programs and such, and from yoga, says, if you find it hard to keep people in check you have a problem with people and that one that is  hard to deal with, that  will take you years to get over. It is hard to get used to hitting a bit harder if you think going for peoples throats in any way at all is mean and holding your own means a little going for other peoples throats because they most certainly do go for people throats and if you hold right back which can be the case of those who can’t manage the human part of life, then they will walk all over you, convert you in their dance floor and pretend they are doing you a favor they will say it is good for you to learn to be humble or to learn how to take blows..
      For one If someone says they have problems with others it is probable that they can’t handle the milling crowd, don’t have enough teeth to stop others eating them up and for the other,  if they say people are fine then you may presume they know how to hold their own so my psychiatric self say teach those who complain about others self defense, verbal, and social self defense.
 
The other school of thought is that the person who complains is unable to take the normal amount of punishment so kick them in the teeth to harden them up. That is the school who is pretending there are no tigers in the woods.  They make no attempt to evaluate if the person is holding their own or not, and tend to pretend that holding your own is easy when it is difficult and it is easy for people to be totally at sea in this respect. 
    May be they just want to keep the status quo, you down and the powerful up.
    You should worry when people can’t cope as  you should worry about bullying at school. It is arrogant to imagine they can cope but want everything perfect, they probably know better than you what their problem is though they don’t know how to handle it.
      It is not true that arguing works, the means to taking the reins of the situation are what they always were and they are uglier than just making the other reasonable through speech, other people try to take a unfair sized part of the cake and don’t mind about being called unfair when you argue with them, it is when you can provide a stronger argument like when it is to their advantage to back you up and to their disadvantage to mess with you that you will be persuasive.
    One  of the ways of keeping people under is moral invalidation, so,  I am not teaching people to squash anyone I would teach people to hold their own, those who are unfair learn these things any way so there is not much danger of creating even more bullies if you explain the ropes to people.   
      If you try to be kind you will not mine away at other people and most people do mine away at others whatever their public face is. If you draw back your teeth the situation will become so unequal you will lose so much ground that everyone will run circles round you.
    Some parts of the world of psychiatry says trust others, it is a silly thing to say,  asking people to trust others has always been a way of creating a servile class. Can a democrat trust a republican o vice a versa not to vote for the party they don’t belong to at any rate?

    The way to hold your own is what it has always been, people admire the rich and think they must have been clever to get there even if they hate them. In my family those who earn most get most credit right or wrong and I thought my family they were clever and were fair people but they are not, they follow the money.
    If you are rich you will have friends that is why you may suspect those who are totally against material wealth. You may ask yourself, “do they want an under class a cap doffing class”? Though I know they may be just a bit unreal and so innocent of what they lay up for others. Apart from the influence you get if you are rich there is just the fact that ist is hard to ask a friend to the pub if you are poor.
You’re xan impose on people any way if you are very canny but your situation is much better if you have a bit of money it makes it harder for others to treat you as shit.
    It sounds as if you are nice if you say, “trust people”, in fact you are only taking people off their guard and creating an unreal assessment of their situation, You are gulling people. My mothers cynicism is what has always turned out to be true in my life, when I have given my back to it I have been food for the dogs. My mother was a cynic who loved people, she would never have told you to learn to trust people, I have met those who say that you have to trust everyone and then you find they despise others in a very total way. Dealing with this sort of complexity in the human mind is the reason that there are no easy answers on how to be happy, given that happiness has a lot to do with the pecking order. The religions don’t like the novel, the serious ones, they describes all the complexity of human relationship and the religious like simplifications that end up helping them to be very manipulative. 
      Apart from being rich you should be careful to have a group of friends, don’t let your husband or wife stop you having your own group of friends.
    You need to keep up your moral authority in the group and criticizing others is a good way to keep it up and necessary because others will criticize you so if you are not liming away at them they will do for you. It keeps others at bay a bit, if you don’t do it you will be a walk over and if you do it too much you will commit what is called “social assassination”. Slighting remarks in public are useful, again enough to keep order or maintain an equilibrium not enough to dish other people’s confidence or the esteem in which others hold them totally and if you are to judge your fellows on whether they criticize other or not, it is how much damage do they do that matters, have they done for anyone, if they have it is a sign  that they may well do for another person, if they have not, then it is unlikely that they will do for those they attack. You need to know when to stop and when to back track, if someone was being mean and has stopped well it is time to back track and pull people into being their friends again. The trouble with punishment is people seem to be so lazy at judging situations that they will more likely than not punish the wrong person. Sometimes it is hard to know how much damage you are doing if you don’t live in the same place as them.
      I know those who tell you not to judge and also tell you to pull your weight by telling off others at the same time, they do some impossible bits of mental gymnastics. Of course criticism is positive as well as negative that is why it has to be a question of how much damage the person has done or can I accuse them of wanting to write the other person off or were they just righting things a bit.
        Holding your own does mean sticking your neck out, losing friends and as such is painful, if you fight with your fist you may get physically hurt when fighting verbally you may lose friends, it is also morally hard, if you lose a friend you also lose the ability to help them, you will not be around for them they won’t let you come near them but if you don’t learn to fight you find yourself in the position of the soldier Spielberg’s film Private  Ryan who has not helped the soldier being killed because he was too scared to fight. It is a question dealt with in David Copperfield, David considers he has reached manhood when he gets up the nerve to publicly denounce his wicked step father at the end of the book.
        If you start to hold your own late you find you have so much ground to cover that your efforts to right things make you look very violent.

        People also admire the clever and don’t know if you are clever or not unless you spend a lot of time on self promotion, so if you are trying not to be overbearing or not to squash people and holding back on showing off about your knowledge you will be trodden underfoot. What is your attitude to talking others out? If you are squeamish about it, this maybe one of the reasons  for why you find that others get you down, you have not commanded the situation enough to have your say through and they can interpret your character and abilities to be whatever they please and everyone feels easier if they can decide they are cleverer than the next person, which is not so bad, it is when you discover how very tremendously stupid they have decided you are that your breath gets taken away, you have a sickening dizzy moment when you feel faint about the extent of the damage, about the reality of  your situation. You have to show them that you are not stupid even if it bores them, they like to find others silly and can’t be expected to know about your abilities unless you shove them down their throats.

      A religious person can be poor with a less frightening consequences than exist for the merely poor. Mind you priest of some sort or other will be open to being squashed by other priests, still he will not be totally at the mercy of others, people will admire him though he is poor, he has position, and he has his future cared for, his economic problems dealt with, the old age home provided and no children to worry about, also the churches has facilities he can use, such as books, he has more than the poor though it might seem that he does not.  In the religious you get an example of a sort of false poverty that does not separate them from all consideration and respect. It is also a poverty that can start projects like youth hostels, the very poor have greater difficulty in starting projects, such half way house poor can make it look as if poverty is better than it is. 

      Whole sections of society like women can be taught to leave their best interest to one side by a whole series of phrases like don’t be overbearing don’t bore people don’t make a scene you need to make scenes when necessary, don’t use emotional blackmail, men use it all the time they look sad if you don’t do what they want though they don’t actually cry.
  The middle road is the hard one to hold your own without squashing others. I don’t know that it is so very hard you need to have a clear intention to do as much. It is hard to learn to hurt others a bit if you are pacifist. Agri rose macaskie.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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If you are on the Oregon Coast and don't keep your orchard mowed (eaten down by goats, or something!), I think you'll find it overrun with blackberries in a few years.  Now, blackberries are not necessarily a bad thing (very tasty, and the vines are good feed for goats), but believe it or not, they can over top and kill your fruit trees.  I've seen it happen (was partly raised on the Oregon Coast -- my family is from near Florence).  So you might want to keep an eye out, at least, for blackberry vines starting to move in.

Kathleen

 
rose macaskie
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  cutting down blackberries is fun it gives me exercise. it is heavy but not to heavy work you have to cut and cut if you get through to the middle without cuttign out the branches in front you ge tbadly scratched. diggin terraces pulling the earth towards me with a mattock is not to hard but digging trenches i smuch heavier work, it is not much fun as good exercise.
  i tok some earth from the garden back to use in pots in madrid and  three blackberry plants grew in them.
th esoil has agregated into lumps instead of being a clay mass where the blackberries have been for longest, I lleft some patches for birds to nest in, tin the bottom of the garden the soil is still heavy clay, so maybe blakberries are good for the soil.

      There are good reasons for cutting plants  down in Spain, the undergrowth dries in summer and is a fire risk on the other hand if you keep it very short all the time and  then the grass does not grow as well as it does given a bit more freedom. there is a lot to prove abouthos much soil can get better if you dont atke all the bits of vegetation off it. there are good reasons for arguing about whether you cut the undergrowth or not.

my husband asked and i agreed for him to have a a part to have a part that he could do what he wanted in he cuts the grass in it, it is interesting i htnk there are more violets on his patch and ther is more grass that has stared to staty green all summer on mine this is in the bottoms of thte garden it is like it was interesting when my brother in law let the apple tree grow as it wanted to and the low branches got pulled down by the weight of the fruit and  garden and the tree had a skirt that swept the ground. i had wanted him to prune so it would give shade to the lunch table . doing things you dont want to do have some interest.
    i sometimes wonder if my husbands weeding mistakes  don't have more to do with  not gettign rid of plants he does not like so much like he prefers rasberriies to redcurrants. 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
If you are on the Oregon Coast and don't keep your orchard mowed (eaten down by goats, or something!), I think you'll find it overrun with blackberries in a few years.  Now, blackberries are not necessarily a bad thing (very tasty, and the vines are good feed for goats), but believe it or not, they can over top and kill your fruit trees.  I've seen it happen (was partly raised on the Oregon Coast -- my family is from near Florence).  So you might want to keep an eye out, at least, for blackberry vines starting to move in.

Kathleen




Recently dropped a stand of Alders and mixed conifers in order to open up more light into the orchard.  Blackberry was sure enough the premier pioneer plant.  Florence is 1 hour north of me. 
 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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You must be south of Coos Bay, then.  I sure miss the Coast -- love the rain and fog and wind!

Kathleen
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