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My permaculture market garden

 
Tracy Wandling
garden master
Posts: 994
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
159
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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So, two and a half years ago we bought 27 acres on Cortes Island. It is a stunning piece of property, and pretty well set up for gardening. There are a LOT of trees on Cortes, and most peoples’ homes are surrounded by very tall trees, making gardening difficult. We are also blessed to have the Cortes Natural Food Co-op about 10 minutes drive from our place, and they buy produce from us. There is also another store on the island that will be happy to buy fresh produce from us. And the Cortesians are generally very health conscious and inclined to buy fresh, naturally grown produce. So, we really have a built in market here.

We have quite a bit of open space on our land. Well, after the man cut down the old growth broom forest. About 2-3 acres of good open space is the result. We chose the spot for the garden, dug a couple of beds, fenced it in, and last year I planted my first beds. The fence didn’t get finished until the first of June, so all the transplants were late getting in. We only got two beds built, each about 4 feet x 40 feet. But I grew a lot of produce in those two beds. I fed us all summer and fall - well into November! - and sold $1,200 dollars worth of produce to the Natural Food Co-op. It was a very exciting and productive first summer!

If you click on the link in my signature, you can read about the property and how things went in more detail (Lot of photos!). The biggest problem that we encountered was a serious lack of actual soil. We do have a lot of sand, though. A LOT of sand. Which is why we decided to go with buried wood beds. The two garden beds that we built are 4-5 feet deep, and filled with old logs and branches from our clean up of the property, plus chips from the broom, and lots of grass, weeds and leaves. They grew excellent vegetables.

We have two more beds built for this year, and we’re hoping to get 4 more done in the next month or so. (After all the snow from our freak snow storm melts!!) With this many beds, I can grow a LOT of food. I will share some of my calculations for yields and income in a later post.

I’ve also been working on the crop rotations I’ll use. I grow things kind of mixed together in small blocks - not quite a pure polyculture, but close - so the crop rotations are a little trickier to work out. But it has been a fun puzzle to play with, and I think I’m close! Of course, it will all evolve and change as the season progresses - but that’s half the fun!


Here are the garden rotations I’ve worked out so far. There will be herbs and flowers planted willy-nilly in amongst the veggies, and there are beneficial insect attracting flowers growing all along the fence.




Here are some photos of the building of the garden beds.



And here are some lovely photos of my garden growing last year. I’m very proud.




And that’s how my garden grows! I’m very excited for the new season to begin, and can finally envision getting away from the computer work I do, and spending more time growing food, working on the land, and painting. I am hoping to have a greenhouse next year, to extend the season and keep growing some things during the winter. I’ll also be putting hoops over the beds, to serve as trellises in the summer and for covering in the fall, winter and spring to keep growing greens, and generally extend the season on both ends.

And next year I hope to be set up for chickens! An integral part of the garden plan.

Oh, and! I’ll be starting a small food forest at the back of the garden this year. It will have a few fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, perennial vegetables, and chicken food. It will also have a small pond. This area will be used for the chickens when it’s big enough to withstand their incessant scratching - at the beginning, they will only make short visits.

And that’s it for now! I’ll post more as I get things done. First will be seed starting! My favorite. I hope you enjoyed the tour. Questions, observations, and suggestions are welcome.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9458
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Beautiful!
 
Tracy Wandling
garden master
Posts: 994
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
159
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Thanks, Tyler. I'm so excited for this year's garden season. My first year garden was so successful, I can't wait to see what it does this year!
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1205
Location: Denver, CO
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Those are really nice plants!
 
Bryna Levich
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Beautiful! Your plants look so happy!
 
David Good
gardener
Posts: 522
Location: Equatorial tropics
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That's some serious digging - I should do something similar with the rocky clay here. You did excellent work. My hat is off!
 
Tracy Wandling
garden master
Posts: 994
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
159
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Thanks Gilbert and Bryna. Yes, I believe they were very happy plants. At least, they tasted very happy.

Thanks, David! Yes, I'm very glad we have a tractor. I surely couldn't do it with just a shovel.   We've got some mighty big rocks in the sand here. But it's working out beautifully, and I hope to have even more gardeny goodness to show this year!
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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