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Jessica Nelson

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since Apr 27, 2015
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Recent posts by Jessica Nelson

Hi! I'm in Jax as well.  Lots that we can grow here!  I find that, being subtropical and very much an edge climate, microclimate really makes a huge difference in expanding into more tropical/more temperate plants.  On the (suburban) lot that I currently inhabit, I've got hot/dry/sandy/washout prone conditions in the front and very protected/woodsy/dappled/humus in the back.  What thrives in the back wants to commit ugly dramatic suicide in the front, but boy can I grow  (Mediterranean/W. Asian) herbs in that sand!  Soil building, mulch and growing more shade help a lot.

We are blessed with a permie nursery here in town: Tim at Eat Your Yard has countless plants raised here and descended from local plant parents.  He's also a fountain of info.

Hope you're settling in well! It's a great time to plant veggies.
6 months ago
Excellent work, Neil! In the course of developing as a student of permaculture, I have certainly found myself hunting for exactly this sort of information. It would be quite useful to develop a rich aggregation of guild outlines. Your explanation of their use as "descriptive not prescriptive" is, I believe, the key to such a tool. How helpful for us to be able to build on one-another's experiences by having clear descriptions of guilds and their progress to maturity!
I look forward to further development of this system.
3 years ago
Galadriel, thanks for the clarification. I think you've teased out what works and what to avoid.

I'm thinking that with brassicas and the like, my best bet is separating the flowering by time, i.e. I let my radishes seed out last year, so this year it will be broccoli. Easy enough when we tend not to let them finish out their lifecycles anyway. Fruiting crops can go crazy.

Joseph, your peppers are beautiful! I like your term "creolize" - are you in Louisiana? Thanks for your photos, they really help convey what you're up to. It looks like you've been pretty successful!

As an aside, I'd like to mention that one of my favorite side benefits of permaculture has been discovering other ways to eat our garden crops. I planted a radish this year in the midst of other salad crops that has leaves that look like cos lettuce (so of course I nibbled them). They are really crisp and juicy like lettuce, with a very moderate pepperiness, sort of like a really mild arugula. After a few bites I realized what it must be and, sure enough, purple radish down below. None of the tough-and-prickliness I expect from radish leaves, but I might never have tried them if I were row cropping. Constant discovery keeps the food forest fascinating for me!
3 years ago
"I only have a small garden and I try to save seed, but cross-pollination is an issue for me. "
You bring up an interesting point, Galadriel. I'm actually starting to wonder if being so careful about avoiding cross-pollination really makes sense to me. Certainly I don't want radishes crossing into my cauliflower, but maybe I really DO want the muskmelons crossing into the honeydews. If I had no access to seed other than what I had saved, I think I would be better off with homegrown landrace crops to preserve some genetic diversity, rather than worrying so much about keeping purity in the various breeds I had acquired.
I would love to hear other opinions on this!
3 years ago
Rick, thanks for hangin' out with us! I enjoy your materials and appreciate the practicality and ingenuity you share with us.
3 years ago
Thanks for your input! I will definitely stick with glass.
Are there any types of seeds that can't tolerate freezing? I'm thankful to be in a subtropical area, so some varieties around here are a bit tender. I've always been afraid that freezing would kill the fetal growies; I'm glad to hear that's working well for you!
3 years ago
For me, it started with a bean.
No ordinary bean, True Red Cranberry is listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste, and deservedly so. It's truly delicious, as well as prolific. And, this year, unavailable.
I can only infer that there is just a single seedstock grower for it, and they must have had a crop failure last year; despite being listed by several seed vendors, all were out of stock this January. I resigned myself to not growing one of my favorites this year -- and then I found it. A reused plastic container, stashed in the drawer where I carelessly keep leftover seeds, contained three pods, twenty-odd seeds of my prized Cranberry Beans!
"Crisis" averted, but it was a much-needed reality check. I'd been completely dependent on seed companies to ensure my supply. Even as I moved toward more perennials, and installing permaculture gardens/food forests, I had a huge gap in the system (most of my trees and shrubs are a few years out from being really productive). I rarely saved seeds, and I was using varieties developed for a national market, not my specific climate.
Needless to say, I'm changing my ways. My new mindset is to act as if I'll never be able to order seed again. (Not saying that I won't order, just not counting on it.) I'm saving my own seed, and more importantly, selecting strains for my unique growing area. I'm also planning to produce landraces of many crops, so I have the diversity available for making it through wet years, dry years, hot, cold, etc..
I'm assuming I'm late to the party, so I'd love to hear from others about how you are tailoring your seed supplies for long-term survival. What are some best practices that are working for you?
3 years ago