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Posts: 58
Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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In 2015 I planted my first garden. I borrowed my father's rototiller, cleared
a patch of dirt behind his house and planted kale, beans, sunflowers, tomatoes,
basil and peas. Yum!

Every day I'd go and look at how things were progressing and things were not
progressing very fast. Beans don't care that you want them NOW. That was my
first lesson: a garden will teach you patience.

Of course I couldn't just stand there waiting. I was so full of energy and had
to do something!  To let out some steam I decided to build a fence around the
garden.





When I got to the gate I didn't know what to do. I chose to leave the fence
open with some kind of entrance made from larger posts. This gave me the
occasion to play with metal and build a fence post driver. The result isn't
pretty but it works. Using it makes for a great workout because that thing
weights a ton.

The driver


The invisible gate


The finished fence


The fence is kind of neat, the harvest was a disaster. A handful of beans and
maybe 5 small leaves from a single plant of kale (which was planted in a pot
inside the old greenhouse). That's it! On the bright side, those kale leaves
were the best I had ever tasted. My second lesson: dirt is not soil.

Some years ago I grew plants in perlite and fed them powder dissolved in water.
I knew that my garden's soil was poor, I had planned on using that leftover
powder to feed it. It would probably have worked if I was in perlite.
Unfortunately the garden never got to the point where it needed food. After a
couple of sun/rain cycles that nice, fluffy, freshly tilled dirt turned into
a hard crust that choked everything (except weeds).

I realized that soil isn't just about plant food, it's also about texture. And
that makes sense in retrospect. Planting in that dirt was a bit like sleeping
on the floor... it will do but next morning is going to be a bitch.

Dirt was not the only problem. Some days I'd find seedlings lying on the ground
with their stem neatly cut close to the ground. My farmer friend told me cutworms
were enjoying my kale. So I dug around and sure enough I got me some worms.
That's how I met my first "pest".

All in all I had lots of fun and wanted more. On the down side, winter now
seems to stretch on forever.

The harvest
 
pollinator
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Your wattle fence is a work of art. Also, cutworms no likey diatomaceous earth.
 
gardener
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:Your wattle fence is a work of art. Also, cutworms no likey diatomaceous earth.



Cutworms can also be deterred by at least 4" of thin cardboard. I have access to a lot of old file folders. Lay them out, cut four inch wide strips across the fold (each folder will give you three) then clip, pin, or staple into a ring. Plant plant. Put collar in dirt 2" deep. They usually don't like to dig deeper than that and they can't crawl up/over the cardboard. The cardboard will degrade and just remove the clip (I usually pin it with a sliver of wood like I would pin fabric together, use my awl to make the holes) or remove the pin.
 
Francis Mallet
Posts: 58
Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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Thanks Ryan! Everybody likes my fence but you're the first to call it art lol
There wasn't much creativity involved. In reality most of the effort went into
gathering weavers. This spring I planted willow varieties especially for making
such fences. Hopefully in a couple of years I'll have more than I can use.

I tried diatomaceous earth and had almost instant regrets. I killed a lot of
bugs 

Deb, I was told about the cardboard trick. I ended up stockpiling toilet paper
rolls all winter only to forget to use them when the time came... But the
garden did well anyway, I added compost and planted way more than I should
have. Using file folders is a good idea!

 
Francis Mallet
Posts: 58
Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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I made two gardens in 2016, this is the story of the first one.

During winter I read a book called The Market Gardener, written by Jean Martin
Fortier. I learned what a broadfork is and designed one for myself. It's more
sturdy than those you usually find online as I don't have nice deep soil yet.
What I have is dirt, rocks and tree roots so I wanted a custom tool.

Custom Broadfork


I also bought a big roll of Novagryl 19gr row cover. Fortier writes that it is
effective against some pests but not so much against slugs. Slugs are my main
concern. I bought the fabric anyway because of another book, The Year Round
Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour. She uses fabric row covers to extend her
growing season and that is something I'm interested in.

In early spring I found a source of compost close to my land. It is made with
waste from the fishing industry (lobster, crab, shrimp) and peat. The guy who
makes it works for one of the big peat business in the region so he has access
to lots of material. I got close to two cubic yards for 45$ and this stuff made
an amazing difference in the garden.

I tilled the soil and laid the compost on top without mixing it too much. I was
curious about how the compost would do when things got dry in late summer. It
makes a crust and cracks. It doesn't become hard as the raw dirt of 2015. It
stays moist for a long time underneath the crust. And when there is rain the
cracks heal somewhat.

Ready for compost


I chose two varieties of Kale (Scotch Dwarf Blue, Red Russian) and two varieties
of Squash (Black Beauty, Yellow Pattypan). All my seeds came from Richters. I
didn't bother getting anything else, expecting to fail again. By the end of the
season we had kale coming out of our ears!

The garden was divided into four mounds 24" wide, maybe 18' long. Three of the
four rows were sown with Kale, the last one with Squash. The Kale I planted
every 9" in a staggered line. Of the two varieties Red Russian is by far the most
vigorous. Unfortunately everybody prefers Scotch Blue.  The Squash I planted
every 3' in a straight line. Two Black Beauty and one Yellow Pattypan survived.
Black Beauty is a true beauty. Yellow Pattypan does not like the cold. Its fruits
should be harvested when they are real small or they will be full of seeds.

Planting in mid-june


June 31th


Abundance, Aug. 18


Squash!


I was surprised at how much fruits a squash plant will give. And the amount of
Kale that could have been harvested is embarrassing. My girlfriend accused me
of being wasteful and in a way she is right. I gave a lot, I ate a lot and I froze as
much as I could. At the time I didn't know Kale could be dried. I guess I could
have tried selling the rest but I suck at selling. I just like growing.

It's not all waste though. Having so much gives you the freedom to experiment.
I know how to cook Kale now. I've made pickles for the first time in my life.
Also, after learning that Kale is a biannual I really wanted to see it in flower.
So instead of tilling the garden in the fall like I was told to do I just left everything
to rot. Squash disintegrated after the first few frosts. Kale was tough and I was
still eating fresh leaves in November. But winter is harsh and out of all those plants
only a couple made it through.  It only takes a couple.

I've eaten Kale this spring, I have seen its flowers and I might even harvest some
seeds. There is no waste.

While writing this post I realized that without knowing it I probably paved
the way for the major slug infestation I've witnessed in 2017.

Pickles!


The last harvest, late November

 
Francis Mallet
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Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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I decided to make a second garden in 2016 but this time on my own land (my first
garden is behind my father's house). What I've got is a 50 acre woodlot with
parts of it that were clear-cut maybe 25-30 years ago. The previous  owners were
a family of mechanics and the land is littered with waste (rusted oil cans, tires, car
parts, old windows, mattress skeletons, etc.) People used to do this back in the
good old days, they'd dump their shit in the woods. Choosing a proper spot for the
garden was a big decision. The best I could find isn't ideal but it's clean.

June 23rd, looking east. Note the rotten logs on the left


I started in late June. In August I had around 70x200 cleared. The area that gets
full sun is much smaller than that but I figured it would be more than enough to
start. The big logs were saved to make raised beds, the medium ones were cut for
firewood and everything else (smaller than 3") was chipped. I understand that some
people here don't like chippers. I love mine as chips make great paths. Walking on
a path made of fresh fir chips gives me great pleasure.

Once the clearing was mostly done I made a pseudo hugel bed from a pile of half
rotten logs. It's not the real thing though. I just built a log pyramid and covered
it the best I could with compost. I didn't have seeds so it was left bare for the
winter. I was curious about what would happen when the fall rains came. The bed
eroded and bits of logs started poking through the compost. It didn't take long
before little critters moved in so I left them alone.

Snakes were living in the log pile so I left a small mound for them hoping it would
be enough. I suspect they moved in the hugel.

September 6th, 2:30pm. Course chips mean dull blades.



October 4th, 4pm. The sun is much lower. I also sharpened the chipper blades.



I built three 3'x5'x12" wattle style raised beds. On August 8 I was ready to sow.
The first bed was planted with arugula, radishes, spinach and tatsoi. The
second one was planted with red romaine, mizuna and mâche. The last bed
was planted with garlic late in September. All of these plants were new to me.

The first two beds.


The internet says arugula is easy to grow but mine didn't do too well.  I was
surprised as I got blisters in the mouth when I ate it. I had no idea you could be
allergic to greens. My girlfriend likes it so I grew some for her. I miss the taste.

Floating row covers worked well against critters, much better than they did
against bugs. Critters like to eat radish greens and they especially like
spinach. Probably hares. Can't blame them. I grew the Giant Winter variety.

Tatsoi was a wonderful surprise. I had never heard of it but now it's one of my
favorites. It gives cute little green spoons with crunchy stems. And it doesn't
mind the cold at all. It can grow big but I planted them thick and harvested
leaves often, preferring smaller spoons.

Most of the time I try sowing carefully but then get impatient and just end
up tossing seeds around. Mizuna was sown that way. It was slow to start but
eventually gave me an insane amount of tasty leaves.

Red romaine (Rouge d'Hiver) and mâche were duds.

I planted three varieties of garlic close to the end of September and then crossed
my fingers. Clearing the space for the garden produced a lot of leaves. Some were
used as mulch for the garlic bed.

September 21th



November 11th



The garden on November 23rd, the last harvest.


When I told people what I was doing they looked at me funny because nobody starts
a garden in mid August. Most were surprised to know I was still eating fresh greens
a month shy of Christmas. Some didn't believe me lol  One day I harvested fresh
greens while dressed in a snowsuit. I was sure my fingers would fall off from the
cold.

So I guess that 2016 was a success.

I got my seeds online from a lovely store located in Nova Scotia. If any of you order
from their store tell them I sent you
Hope Seeds

The sleeping garden on Christmas Day

 
Francis Mallet
Posts: 58
Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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I'll remember 2017 for a long time. In January we were hit by the worst ice
storm I've ever experienced. At night during the storm we could see flashes
of light in the sky. It was the power distribution facility down the road
that was blowing up. I love storms, but that one was something else.

A taste of what's to come, back at the apartment


More than 120 000 homes lost power that night. We were out for 3 days, some
were in the dark for more than two weeks. January is very cold in New Brunswick.
People ran out of warmth very fast. Next thing to run out was water. Fortunately
my father heats his home with wood and we used the generator for water.

The day after the storm was so calm, not a cloud in the sky. And the view was
breathtaking! The morning light was reflected into thousands of icicles. We
could hear explosions as branches and even whole trees broke under the weight
of the ice.

The morning after



Walking back to Civilisation






Out of the woods



Looking back





In the evening a strong wind rose and the sound coming out of the
woods was like the of rattling bones. With all the rattling and the breaking I
could imagine myself being in the movie "The Road". I felt small and weak that
night.

A surprising amount of people lost the food in their freezers... in the middle of
winter! We feasted on the stuff that would spoil and put the rest outside.

For some people this was hell. As for us, we cooked on the wood stove, worked on
clearing the road during the day and played cards all night. We had plenty of oil
lamps. At night when the power is out you get this level of silence and darkness
that really helps you sleep. No refrigerator humming. No lights from the microwave
clock. In a way this storm did us plenty of good, it pulled us together.

The damage to trees was appalling, especially for quaking aspens. They tend to
break rather than bend. We didn't notch maples this year so no syrup for us. It
just felt wrong to tap crippled trees for sap.

Then we had this cold, damp Spring and now as I write this we are in the middle
of the worst drought the region has seen in the last 25 years. Lawns are dry and
ugly but the plants in the woods are doing just fine. People are ungrateful to trees,
seeing them only as fuel or timber.
 
Francis Mallet
Posts: 58
Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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March is a beautiful month around here. It's especially nice when you can lose the winter coat. We
usually celebrate with wieners, marshmallows and beer.



Lots of snow left



You can see the ice storms in the layers. Kind of an inverted ice core. "ice core" in french is
"carotte de glace", ice carrot, I find that funny



The place is one of my favorite spots. Sphagnum moss grows there and small, old black spruce trees.
One day I decided to dig under the moss and all I could find was clay. Unfortunately it seems it isn't suitable
for pottery. Maybe I could use it for cob but I'm not keen on digging up big holes on my land.


The trees are left overs from a clear cut that was done before we got the land. I guess the loggers deemed
they weren't worth the trouble. My father once asked a forester what could be done with them and the guy
answered that they were useless except maybe to the birds. yeah... 

I love the trees, they burn for a long time (the wood being so dense) they make great poles, they are slow to
rot and they give me resin nuggets that smell like Christmas. I've also read about chewing gum, turpentine,
rosin and spruce ale. Maybe one day I'll have the time to experiment with black spruce and prove that guy
wrong.


April is when I got the Itch. I hate the Itch, especially when I can't scratch it. I've always been obsessive and
when I can't get relief I usually end up spending money.  I bought several books and spent lots of time online.
I ended up ordering around 70 different plants and 5 types of willows (25 cuttings).

My cousin sent me that video from Justin Rhodes where he follows this nomadic gardener. That's the first time
I saw soil blockers and I had to try them. I got the 3/4" and the 2" blockers from Lee Valley.

On the 15th I finally got to play in the dirt again. I pressed hundreds of little soil blocks and planted them all.



240 blocks fit in a really small space



On the 22nd some seedlings were getting leggy so I put them under lights. I have several lights (two HPS,
one MH and one LED) from another project, growing The-Plant-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.



Eventually it got too hot and humid inside the house so on the 26th everything was moved to the garage.
It got real close to freezing at night and many plants suffered. Next year I'd like to build myself a heated
germination bed.



The blocks worked well and soon I ran out of space. 2" blocks take roughly 10 times the space of the 3/4" ones.
I realized how much work would be needed to pull this off. I had lots of plants and no garden to plant them in.

Those soil blockers are fun but I wish they were taller. I'm thinking about selling them and making my own
from pipes and cans.

On the 30th I noticed Kale growing back in the old garden and that made me feel real good.

Red Russian



Dwarf Blue Curled



The old garden

 
Francis Mallet
Posts: 58
Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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This is about May.

Having run out of things to plant in the soil cubes I turned my attention to
the garden itself. There was a lot of fallen trees and branches that had to be
removed. I drew a plan for the garden during winter but of course things never
go according to plan.

I finally got to play with some new tools. This rock was pried out of the dirt
with the hori-hori I received for Christmas. Not a nick on the blade!
I like it although I wish it had a full tang.



On the first of May I was excited to see a tiny spot of the freshest green
poking out of the garlic patch. So tender and fresh after the long winter.
Of the three garlic varieties Music was the fastest, Marino came in second
and Italian Purple was last. I won't be planting garlic this fall.



On the 4th I spotted the lonely chive again. The fact that I don't have
anything to do about it being there makes it precious to me.



I built two small raised beds (2' x 2') using scrap plywood. There was some PVC
pipe lying around and I decided to try making some hoops to keep the row covers
off my plants. I'm not keen on using PVC but I figured it was better to use it
than to trash it. It's unfortunate that PVC is so dirty because it is a joy to
work with. So malleable! Maybe PLA (polylactic acid) would be an acceptable
alternative? I learned about PLA while building my 3D printer a couple years
ago. Eventually I plan on making some hoops out of wood but I can only do so
much.






Endive, romaine, mibuna and spinach were transplanted in one of the new
plywood beds on the 5th of May. Nobody I know put out transplants that early.
Maybe some farmers do? Everything was planted close together SFG style.
Square Foot Gardening feels cramped, I don't think I'll do this again.



The planter really looks out of place with all this brown.



I built another larger raised bed by splitting and cutting a 8ft aspen log. At
the time I wasn't sure what would go in it.



It takes a lot of dirt to fill a bed like this!



I also built a cover that fits over one of the old beds. Tender green shoots
must be irresistible to critters at this time of the year.



Unfortunately that bed didn't do too well.



On the 13th I was given 5 rhubarb plants. I broke the ground using my
makeshift broadfork, mixed compost with the dirt and stuck the plants in,
roughly 2' apart. (I make the best strawberry-rhubarb jelly)



This is a wild chicory seedling growing in a 2" cube. Beautiful!


 
garden master
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I'm loving this thread! Thank you for such detailed information and beautiful pictures.

The new cover for the bed looks great. Why do you say that it didn't do well?
 
Francis Mallet
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I'm glad you like it Karen, you made my day
It's nice to get some comments!

The cover was effective against slugs (the main target) and hares but if left
on during the day it seemed to make my flea beetle problem much worse. Flea
beetles were a new pest for me. They loved pak choi, mibuna and radish leaves
and pretty much left everything else alone. Maybe that's why I saw so many
braconid wasps? Maybe I was just more attentive.

One evening I forgot to replace the cover. The next morning almost everything
was gone (no more leek, radish, kale and chard). Even if I never forget about
it the cover is only about 6 inches high and eventually it needs to come off.
Slugs won't affect well established plants as much as seedlings but hares will
clip everything to the ground.

Anyway I'm not disappointed, I learned new things and fed more life.
 
master steward
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I don't know if you're interested in livestock, but ducks do a really good job in a garden of raised beds. They don't usually go up in the raised beds, but they eat any slugs that come out,and love to poke their bills in the sides of the beds to eat pests there. I also have been using their deep-litter bedding as a way to build up the beds--because it really does take a lot of matter to fill those beds!

Before I had ducks, I could grow nothing because slugs ate it all. Now I only see a slug maybe once every two months, and that's when I turn a log over. Ducks don't do anything to stop bunnies, though! I had to get some barns cats for that. It looks like your row covers are doing the jobs of both cats and ducks pretty successfully, though!

And, I also wanted to say thank you for your lovely thread. It's really inspirational to me, and the wattle fences/walls truly are very well done--mine never turn out nearly as nice!
 
Francis Mallet
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Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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I did a lot of research on how to control slugs and helping out toads fit my
situation best at this time.

I already have at least one toad
They take care of themselves.
They don't eat my plants.
Apparently most of what they eat are considered agricultural pests.
They are prey to owls, which is nice.

Now I only need to make some time to actually do this.

https://permies.com/t/28583/slug-Solutions
https://permies.com/t/65819/Toads-Slug-Control
https://permies.com/t/57143/Creating-habitat-wildlife-discuss
https://permies.com/t/36035/critters/Toads-care
https://permies.com/t/811/critters/amphibians

https://www.naturewatch.ca/frogwatch/new-brunswick/
http://www2.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/american_toad.htm
http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/naturetrail/speciespages/americantoad.htm

http://amphibiaweb.org/ <-- this one is nice!
 
Francis Mallet
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June was a busy month. It is difficult to describe because things started to
spread out.



If you came over for a visit early in June you would have seen something like
this.



Entering the garden from the parking trail, on your left is the chive patch
where the volunteer chive grows. To expand the patch I transplanted several
seedlings and sowed most of the remaining seeds I had saved from 2016.
Just behind the chives is the wild chicory patch and a big ant colony.



Apparently a chicory planted in an ants nest will have red flowers so that's
why the chicory went there. The ants quickly got rid of the transplant so no
red flowers.

Slugs like wild chicory shoots. And something bigger really like young chicory
plants. One morning everything was gone! I was looking forward to the taste of
roasted chicory root

Looking South on the right side of the garden is the cabin trail, the compost
pile and the mullein patch. Sorry, no pictures.

The mullein is on a rough spot. Moss and hardy spruce saplings grow there.
That's about it. The broadfork is useless there because it's mostly rock. I
scraped the surface and covered with 2" of compost. I then mixed the whole
packet of seeds (from Richters) with some dirt and threw it on the patch.

Are there broadcasting techniques to spread seed evenly? Because even though
I did my best most of the seeds landed in the same spot. Eight days later there
was a carpet of mullein sprouts. They grew very slowly and after some weeks all
trace of mullein disappeared. I considered this another failed experiment and
forgot about it.

Farther along in the garden we now come to the pseudo hugel. I sowed yarrow,
flax, radishes, kale, endive and lots more on that lump. Pretty much everything
I planted on top of the bed shriveled up in the summer heat. At the base of the
bed everything edible was eaten by slugs. The base did stay damp much longer
than the rest. Yarrow transplants did OK. I don't think any seeds germinated.
The tomato transplants weren't productive but they did set fruit. Mushrooms
grow on the hugel, slime molds too. And snakes live in it.

On the left of the hugel is the sunflower rows, just besides the rhubarb. One
row of Moon Shadow and two rows of Giant Mammoth Russian. Next to the
sunflowers is the black sorghum patch and next to that is the milkweed patch.

Sunflowers. Slugs love sunflowers



Black Sorghum. Slugs didn't bother sorghum! yay!



Past the old wattle beds is the Zloty Lan german chamomile patch followed
by orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). The garlic is doing fine!



Whew! Lots of work! But I was already reaping the rewards



Comfrey transplants came next. Digging holes was a mistake as they quickly
filled up with water. I shouldn't have used the broadfork either. Oh well...



My second mistake. Putting woodchips around plants when the soil is cold
and waterlogged is not a good idea. It is amazing how  much woodchips will
prevent the ground from drying up. Slugs love comfrey.



Here is the perennial flowers patch. At first I planned on leveling the area but
that would have been a big job. So I took the lazy route and built up over the
dead stumps instead of leveling down. I had fun improvising with rocks.



Another view


Almost done. Columbines in front, echinacea in the middle and wild
bergamot in the back.



In the far end of the garden I made mounds for squash. Winter
Luxury Pie, Black Beauty, Yellow Patty Pan and seeds from store
bought fruits (butternut and spaghetti squash). The woodchip pile
was getting used up fast.



This is what the garden looked like at this point.
 
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Super lay out! I love the rock work. Thumbs up!
 
Francis Mallet
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Thank you Jim.

I had a rough idea for the layout but ended up following the path of least
resistance.

 
Francis Mallet
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The garden was built through June. Parts of it is typical (tomatoes, corn,
peas, carrots , squash, etc.) But there are also grains, flowers and spices
that are less usual. I lost count but must have tried over 80 different plants.
Almost everything was new to me. I love first times.

Some plants didn't do well because of slugs. Other experiments never took off
because of bad timing, like lavender and camelina. I assumed that you could
start seeds anytime after the last frost but as summer approaches it gets too
dry. Even if the seeds germinate it is a pain in the ass to keep the sprouts
alive. Too early and it's too cold, too late and it's too dry.

I got one surprise plant. Last fall I was cleaning the shop and found this old
bag of rye. I used rye to make mushroom spawn but since the bag was several
years old and I didn't plan on growing mushrooms any time soon I trew the grain
in the garden. I grabbed the bag and swung it round. A couple of days later I
saw this green crescent growing through the fallen leaves.  It puzzled me at
first before I realized what it was, it was very late in the season. Then Winter
came and the rye was presumed dead. I was wrong.



The first chamomile flower



Beautiful chive



Comfrey lover, no idea what it is.



Baby nettle's first tooth



Winter Luxury Pie, really looking forward to this.
I've never had pumpkin pie before.



Unidentified dragonfly. There were many in the garden this year.



Pak choy with flea beetles.



The mibuna was cut to make room for spinach. Bugs filled it with little holes so I
froze it to use in soups.



Une petite fraise. What are these treats called in English?
This was on the 27th. The cultivated strawberries are due soon.



One of my favorite experiment, milling oats. Between the garlic
and the plastic chair. In the background are peas and two more
pumpkins.



Oats! So exciting
.


Here is the whole garden. I ran out of chips and compost, that's it for 2017.



Ants LOVE wood chips. I've seen wood chips on anthills at least 200' away from
the nearest chipped path. That's impressive. All those nests must be aware of
each other if ants forage that far.



The old garden is also interesting at this time.
Full of weeds and Red Russian kale in bloom.



So cute. Like small butterflies. And they taste good too.



PS Thank you for fixing my thread's thumbnail.
 
Francis Mallet
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Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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This is about July. The month of barbecues, deserted beaches and lightly clad
women. I wish I owned land by the sea. This is one of the beaches I like to
visit on hot summer days.


I don't remember mentioning blackflies in the last post. They are a plague.
Without protective clothing it would be impossible to be in the garden. Eventually
they go away as it gets drier and hotter. Sometimes they come back in early Fall
but nothing compares to Spring's swarm. It's really nice in July.

Sunshine and rain in the garden.


Ricthers offers several varieties of chamomile. I chose Zloty Lan because of
its high chamazulene content despite the fact that I don't know what
chamazulene is. One thing is for sure, the plants are beautiful. They liven up the
garden a lot and not just with their beauty, they attract lots of bugs. Something big
even decided to sleep in the patch. Chamomile is so soft! It must have been a
comfy nap.



The first chamomile harvest.



I sowed chickpeas way too early. They didn't seem to mind the cold in the
garage and they grew at least 12" tall  before I could transplant them outside.
By that time they were cramped in those 2" soil blocks. Of the 20 I sowed 12
made it to the garden. After a few days outside they all turned coppery brown.
Eventually they recovered but I can't imagine they enjoyed being burned by
the sun like that. Next year I will do better I hope.

Black Kabuli leaves remind me of a miniature rose I received once.
Remembering how brassicas seeds look alike I checked if chickpeas and roses
were related. They are both rosids, which is a clade, which is a branch on the
tree of life. Good, they are related! But then I read that rosids "comprise more
than a quarter of all angiosperms". Oh, ok. So I guess the leaf resemblance is
coïncidence. Learning about Clades, Kingdoms and Domains was fun though.


Beautiful chickpea. This picture was taken on the 7th of July. I think it's one of
the cutest flower I've seen, very feminine



Here is a Sugar Ann pea flower. Pea foliage is different from that of Black Kabuli
but the flowers look similar. A little fairy bonnet, very beautiful. I like how
the sepals frame the flower.



On an impulse I decided to get chickens. I chose the simplest coop design I
could find. It wasn't difficult to build but I wish I had a flat surface to work on.



Squirrel feed. They'll leave some for me if I'm lucky. The nuts make me feel
weird and they're very small compared with the ones we can buy. I'd like to
help them spread.



A snake living in the hugel lump. I like animals that run away from me. We've
been chased by a moose once, funny but not nice. Do snakes run away?
"Slither", I had to look that up. In French you don't need legs to crawl,



This kale was probably munched on by the same critter that
ate my wild chicory. It is a bad picture but I wanted to share anyway.



The kale in the old garden is doing better. The garden is full of weeds and looks
good in my eye. Red Russian kale full of pods on the left, some Scotch Blue
in flowers in the middle, milling oats on the right, daisies and other weeds
everywhere.



So many pods! Even the slugs can't keep up.



This is it for now but there is more. July is a busy month.
 
pollinator
Posts: 307
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Thanks for sharing all you are doing! I really enjoyed looking through it all and I'm looking forward to more updates
 
Francis Mallet
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Thank you Daron. I would probably post even if nobody noticed, I need to vent.  Posting here keeps my woman (and coworkers) sane lol
 
Francis Mallet
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July is a mixture of work and delight. Sometimes life is so good that it would
be rude not to stop and relax. On those days I like take out the good camera.
I don't know if a post on cameras is relevant here on permies but I sure would
like to write one. Mine is a beautiful machine. There was this poll on the most
useful tools, a camera is definitely one of the most important tool in my
arsenal. It gives me more than images, it gives me memories, stored feelings.
It forces me to pay attention. The more I look, the more I see and my love for
the land deepens. Ultimately this is what keeps me going.

An intimate view of a kale flower. Pak choy flowers look very similar. After
some research I learned that Canola is a close relative to Red Russian Kale,
maybe closer than Pak choy (napus vs rapa). There is so much I don't know...



Spent parachute



The chive in my garden flowers later than the one planted by my father's house.
I've read somewhere that chive flowers have a "delicate onion flavor". Hum, I
wonder if that person had blind taste buds because when I tasted mine it was
more like being hit in the face with a baseball bat.



Swallowtails sucking on rocks. I'll keep an eye out for caterpillars this year,
found on birch, cherry and aspen trees. Ash doesn't grow on my land.



Woodpecker with his catch (Sphyrapicus varius?)



Back to work. I've been warned that my coop wasn't secure, this should do the
trick. Hardware cloth is not fun to work with. Watch out for the eyes!



Peas are coming along.Yum!
Peas are confusing, snap peas, snow peas, garden peas, vining, bush...



These are either Sweetie or Sun Gold. I never really liked the taste of
tomatoes until I tasted Sun Gold back in 2006. On an impulse I had quit
everything and travelled all the way to British Columbia. I spent many months
on an organic farm where the lady farmer was growing these little jewels. Now
10 years later I am excited to taste them tomatoes again.



Hello! I thought they would never come.
Expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed.



Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum. The pods are strange, maybe some tiny alien will
pop out on a moonless night. When you are inexperienced it is difficult to
decide how much you need to plant. One day I opened a pod and there were two
peas in it. I guess I'll need lots more than 12 plants to make my own hummus.
I should take a closer look at those hairs.



Mid-July view of the garden



 
Posts: 28
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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What a fabulous log of your exploits, accomplishments and dreams.  Inspirational!  Thanks for sharing it with us!
 
pollinator
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Location: SW Missouri
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You are doing awesome work!!
I love your fence, and all the flowers
Keep us up on it
 
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Francis Mallet wrote:

I sowed chickpeas way too early. They didn't seem to mind the cold in the
garage and they grew at least 12" tall  before I could transplant them outside.
By that time they were cramped in those 2" soil blocks. Of the 20 I sowed 12
made it to the garden. After a few days outside they all turned coppery brown.
Eventually they recovered but I can't imagine they enjoyed being burned by
the sun like that. Next year I will do better I hope.



Generally, legumes don't like being transplanted. Any shock makes them shed
their nitrogen fixing root nodules.  I've known some people
who start off runner beans in cardboard tubes, or fava beans in half drainpipes,
but in my opinion, it's better to plant legumes where they are going to grow, and choose ones which are
suited to your climate. Cloches/plastic can allow you to start them early. Some people
soak them before planting to speed up germination, but this works better for some
legumes than others.


Love the garden. How are the fences lasting? Any repairs or maintenance needed yet?




 
Peter Ingot
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Francis Mallet wrote:

I sowed chickpeas way too early. They didn't seem to mind the cold in the
garage and they grew at least 12" tall  before I could transplant them outside.
By that time they were cramped in those 2" soil blocks. Of the 20 I sowed 12
made it to the garden. After a few days outside they all turned coppery brown.
Eventually they recovered but I can't imagine they enjoyed being burned by
the sun like that. Next year I will do better I hope.



Generally, legumes don't like being transplanted. Any shock makes them shed
their nitrogen fixing root nodules.  I've known some people
who start off runner beans in cardboard tubes, or fava beans in half drainpipes,
but in my opinion, it's better to plant legumes where they are going to grow, and choose ones which are
suited to your climate. Cloches/plastic can allow you to start them early. Some people
soak them before planting to speed up germination, but this works better for some
legumes than others.


Love the garden. How are the fences lasting? Any repairs or maintenance needed yet?




 
Posts: 54
Location: White Mountains of New Hampshire zone 5
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Wow! You are an awesome gardener!  First you build gorgeous fences, then you build your own post driver (which could also be used as a point driver I would think, to drill wells near your gardens) then you shock us all with your homemade broadfork! You are amazing!
 
Posts: 297
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Inspirational!  Thank you!
 
Francis Mallet
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Location: acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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I'm very fortunate to be able to do all of this. And I'm grateful for the
people here too. All this praise and encouragement

Peter Ingot wrote:
Love the garden. How are the fences lasting? Any repairs or maintenance needed yet?


The fences are brittle and partly rotten but I don't mind because I
only plant annuals in them. Not having anything permanent is nice as
I'm free to experiment. I struggle with the location of perennials and
especially trees because of my lack of experience. 

And thanks the advice on chickpeas. I've got lots of seeds for next
spring.

I have to pick up some speed if I want to record 2017 before spring.
Ok... July, part three.

Garlic... I forgot about you. I don't really know what to do with garlic
scapes. Some were used in stir fry and they were good! The rest I
pickled. I haven't tasted the pickled ones yet.



Driving on my way to work I saw this blue streak on the side of the road, from
the corner of my eye. Could it be wild chicory?  I was running late for work
(as usual) so I didn't stop to look, thinking that I would check them out after
work. When I came back the flowers had disappeared! I couldn't find the plants
anymore. It took me a while to catch on, wild chicory is shy and only opens up
for a couple hours in the morning. Eventually I got to them. Mine keeps getting
eaten, it was good luck to find some truly wild ones.



The colors are a little off, too much blue here. But it is still a most
beautiful flower. I think I'll persevere and try again next year in the garden.



My first seeds Next year hares are going to love me.



Picking chamomile's flowers is as soothing as drinking its tea. That is a good
thing because it takes a while to pick this much! After being picked clean the
patch will bloom again after 2-3 days of sunshine. This is a one litre jar
(1 quart). At the end of the season I got 4 full jars and a bit more.



The first Winter Luxury is finally getting some colors. There are others and
they are all going to be larger than this one.



Moonshadow, one of two sunflower varieties in the garden. It's about 5 inches
across. Stunning, especially at dusk when they appear to glow..



Giant Mammoth Russian is taking its sweet time. I quickly realized it wouldn't
reach 12' tall. Oh well... It is still an impressive plant, reminds me of
Mario Bros' Piranha Plant.



I got 5 chickens from my farmer friend. I don't know anything about their
pedigree. he's got hens and roosters and they mingle and that's where my
chickens come from. He caught them with a net and we put them in a box in the
trunk of my car. I then got back home immediately because it was kind of hot
that day. It was a 30 min drive. I could hear them complain when I made stops.

Back at the garden I opened the trunk and was alarmed at the heat coming out
of the box. Poor things! Timidly I put then in the coop, not sure how to
handle chickens. So delicate! Now I know how tough they are. They were
around 4-5 weeks old when I got them.

A first look. Ugly and yet cute. A child at work asked me if I raised crows



A small step for chickens and a giant one for me.



Having livestock completely changed the feel of the garden. For some reason it
felt more alive. It made me nervous because I had the fate of 5 animals in my
hands. But like I said, they are tough!
 
Francis Mallet
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August 14th, 8:30 in the morning. The aspen regrowth is shading squash and
corn. Maple stumps are also showing vigorous regrowth. If they grow straight
then maybe I won't need willow for fences. I don't have many pictures about the
willow patch because, well, it doesn't grow very fast. The slugs gave them a
hard time during their spring rampage. The cuttings are not dead there is hope.



August means raspberries. There is a u-pick about 10 minutes from here where we
get most of our raspberries. These ones taste so much better. The bushes are
going wild on my father's land and I'm thinking of bringing some over to the
gardens next year.



The wild chicory is having a hard time but this chicory is in flower. On the
side of the hugel, no less. Not much grows on there. Endives Rhodos, that's
what on the packet. The leaves were too bitter for my taste but I let them be.



I can't believe how much alike red romaine and wild chicory flowers are. I
showed this picture around and nobody could guess it was romaine. I would never
have guessed myself because you know, romaine is just lettuce with boring
leaves.



Another surprise. How do the seed companies remove the parachute? Red Romaine
is such a beautiful plant. I wonder if the garden is going to be infested by
these little jewels next year.



The moonshadow sunflower is supposed to be white. This one is bright yellow.
It's the prettiest of the bunch, a perfect flower. I thought sunflowers
followed the sun. Mine don't.



Nasturtium were planted on an impulse. I got the seeds from a local hardware
store. They were planted late and didn't do well. A carpet of these bright
flowers must be impressive. And the leaves taste surprisingly good! I'm a
little bit less sad about being allergic to arugula.



I also got these with the nasturtium. Night Phlox they're called. I bought them
because they remind me of my mother. These strange plants open their flowers
late in the day, when the sun is down in the trees. And the smell... pure
pleasure! They smell like cotton candy.



They are still cute during the day even when closed. I wonder if they have a
use in permaculture. I'm probably going to grow them again for their smell.
The gardens need more smells, I'll see to that next year.



Ants are running around on them bugs, maybe they are aphids. But then again
ants are everywhere so it's hard to tell. Anyway these little bugs don't
bother my plants, most of them are on baby aspens.


 
We can walk to school together. And we can both read this tiny ad:
Solar Dehydrator Plans - Combo Package
https://permies.com/t/74059/digital-market/digital-market/Solar-Dehydrator-Plans-Combo-Package
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