I eat tons of nettle leaves in spring. To harvest I like to use a colander with a handle and scissors. Using the colander to catch the trimmings, I will try to cut just the top few leaves and top node with as little stem as possible.
I have a little “trick move” where I open the scissors wide, straddle the stem below the area I want, then slide the scissors up to make an almost bouquet of the plant material I want, and snip! This saves me from snipping the leaves from the stem in the kitchen, and getting stung.
Once in the kitchen I like to use nettle like spinach or kale. I’ll cook the whole leaves a bit to take the sting out, then chop as needed. Nettle Sagg Paneer is my go to recipe. Nettle does not cook into anything I’d call smooth like spinach, but the texture is not bad either.
I love using hand tools around the yard. It is so quiet and close compared to battery or as tools. HOWEVER with all the use my wooden handle has been drying up and splitting along the grain. Ive tried soaking it in watered down glue, wrapping it with P-cord. . .nothing seems to keep the handle secure anymore.
Is there a point where a handle just cant be salvaged, how does one go about making a new wooden handle for an old blade, its got about a 2" tang. I love my sickle, but dont love blood blisters.
Hi Permies, happy July! The veggie garden is starting to kick into high gear lately. The lettuce bed is still producing abundantly despite slugs and snails being prevalent over the whole garden area. There is always a little leaf damage, but it never is so bad I wouldn't eat it. I have already eaten more from just this one lettuce patch so far than all the greens last year.
And a fun slugs eye view :)
The two all star beds this year have a healthy mix of greens, squashes, and tomatoes. Both these beds were planted with starts, not direct seeded, except for the tomatoes, they were volunteers. The mix of vining squash with taller tomatoes and greens gives a wonderfully picturesque image of a veggie polyculture.
The onion and lettuce bed has been transitioning to an onion and cherry tomato bed. There is an army of volunteers coming up fast from last year. I am happy enough to let them grow, with a little thinning. The lettuce is hanging on in the shade under it all. Nice big leaves for sandwiches :)
The other beds are still a mix of peas and direct sown greens. Along with the kale and spinach, a layer of clover grew. With the intense competition it has dwarfed all the plants, essentially giving me a long term source of baby kale and spinach for fresh raw eating. The clover is a nice bonus in flavor and vitamins.
Overall everything is going much better than I had hoped for this year. The garden has been providing food, entertainment, and therapy. I'll leave you all with a portrait photo of a couple garden residents.
It seems like every time I look at the pawpaw, it is bigger. Even with its growth, the light sensitivity is high. The pallets let some sun on a bit of the top leaves and it bleached them with a straight line from the pallet shadow. Looking back this plantie has come a long way.
I think everyone's ideas of the base principles is great! It's always helpful to hear other people describe the same simple idea in their own words.
I would describe the fundamentals in two frameworks.
1- Like the OP had said, zones and sectors. What I would call myself " observations, effort, and using natural energies (sun/wind/slope)" Permaculture design usually deals with a dwelling as the focal point of the design. Daily effort to maintain the property is most intense closest to the house (generally), and decreases in quality and quantity as you increase distance from the home. While working or moving through any part of the yard, it is important to constantly be letting your eyes wander and be curious as to what is going on big and small. Daydreaming and thinking about the property, having lots of observational data to guide and inspire design is crucial. With a grasp of the effort flow and the data to describe its needs, designing to use the available solar heat, or wind drying alley, or wet low area etc . . . will be almost as self directing as a math equation calculating a result.
2 - Use knowledge of biology/ecology/geology/other experiences to tap into nature's already functioning workflow. This second permaculture principle is the mindset of a personal competition to tap into as many free natural workforces and resources as possible. Don't dig and turn and amend soil with shovels and chemicals. Disturb the top inch or two of soil and plant with deep taprooted annuals to dig and compost the area for you. Worms and other underground dwellers will burrow around eating and dropping their own packets of bio activated fertilizers. Or for another example, use sacrificial plants as living traps to concentrate pests for easy removal. Use yard cuttings and treefall debris as mulch rather than purchase it. Propagate plants from cuttings around the local area.
I think that with these two principles a person can attain the tools and mindset needed to apply permaculture to anything they want.
I would second and third that the plants will figure it out amongst themselves for the most part. It sounds like you are planting a lot of things, which will give your food forest/savanna a lot of opportunity to find its own niches.
I am curious how much pruning you are intending to do? If you are willing to coppice or do hard pruning, you can designate areas to be rotating meadow disturbance areas to produce a big crop of berries until the overstory recovers. It does not have to be huge, cutting back two trees will allow light to hit several trees/shrubs behind them.
If you are interested in a little more refined pruning and training, why not prune some trees to be smaller, or very open and leggy? Does each tree “have” to be grown as big as possible? You could have fun and train a cherry tree into a weird spiral, or prune some of the sand cherries and plums into a bush height. You’ll still get food, and the variety of forms will add to the beauty.
"Comfrey provides a low fibre, high protein and high mineral feed which can effectively replace some costly concentrates in the poultry diet.
The protein : fibre ratio of comfrey is around 1.5:1.0 as against young lucernes which run around 1.0:1.5. The additional vitamin A provided by comfrey can cause a yellowing of the flesh in meat birds, similar to the premium ‘corn fed’ birds available commercially. "
I try to search from just .org and .edu sites for data related inquiries. The search terms I used to find the comfrey info sheet was "comfrey leaf protein content" I also saw some good links searching "comfrey leaf nutritional assays" Google search algorithms sometimes need help to tease out useful links. I try to think of using odd and unusual words to expand the search area. Almost like playing the game scattergories.
I would also like to note its role as a bee and insect attractant. Insane amounts of flying bugs and bees visit my comfrey plants.
Food forest update. Almost everything is alive and well. After marking the tree spots in the yard with stones, I wanted to add in some more shrub/tree plants like hardy kiwis and an apricot. My total order list ended up at 24 woody perennials. You can see most of them all in the garden plan.
And the first of three packages :)
The trees were put into the ground the first week of may. Next year I am hoping to plant the third week of May instead. A cold snap a week after planting killed two of the three Pawpaws and defoliated the bush cherry. The bush cherry came back with a vengeance thankfully. The Asian pear had it's root mass snapped off from the stem 80%, I tried to tape and plant it, but the tree never survived. The Sour cherry and one female Kiwi (not on map) had their leaves wilt and die last week. The total death toll so far is 5. Not too bad for my first try at bare root plantings.
Pear break . . . . .
Bush Cherry regrown like a champ!
I have learned the importance of shade for young pawpaws just fast enough to not kill the remaining one. The tiny leaves were yellowing and drooping. So I took two pallets and made a shade lean to around the sapling. The south facing pallet has the wood slats oriented vertically so the sun can shine onto the tree evenly over the day. And the western facing pallet is oriented horizontally to take the sting out of the harsh late afternoon sun.
Now the leaves are big and green and happy. I let them out in the "full sun" today since its very overcast and diffused light. Ill put the pallet lean to back after sunset.
The medlar tree has really taken off. It was the first to leaf out and has grown a nice bouquet of soft green leaves. It is a little island in a lawn patch, but the forest garden cover crops and mulching will slowly creep over the lawn and engulf the medlar tree.
The mulberry tree is looking like it will have six main branches to be coppiced. I will use wire to train the branches into a even spread this winter. Around the mulberry I have a mint patch next to a comfrey patch planted. The mulberry being in the center of the food forest, I want the best and most tenacious cover crops to help keep the weeding down while growing copious mulch and tasty herbs. Along with the black locusts this central area will be a slowly beating metronome of coppice
While the mulberry is young and small, I am having fun planting lettuce transplants and Daikon radish seeds. As well as some tomato volunteers transplanted from the raised beds. I made a big lettuce heart (insert sappy music riff)
I am more attached and in love with this forest garden than I thought would be possible. I find myself sitting and walking around it it awestruck everyday. The little chunks of lawn that I am planting are starting to add up to a lot of area. Ill end with a big family photo shot of the whole planting from the convenient 2nd story window in the house.
George Edgar wrote:I tried the cardboard and wood chips. As stated elsewhere, that is only good for one year at best. Being old and decrepit, I just let the weeds grow. But, recently, someone suggested I put down carpet. It lets the water through and kills the weeds. I was told I could get free carpet from carpet installers who pull out old carpet when installing new carpet. This sounds intriguing. So, what do others think of this idea? I am still trying to think through all of the ramifications. Thank you.
Seeds over the carpet can sprout and grow into/through it. If the carpet is under a lot of mulch or maybe buried a bit, I would guess there would be less of an issue. Not to say carpet is not useful, it DOES stop running roots from punching up through.
The paths between these beds all have a 3/4" carpet between them. Some areas got seeded and others are still fairly clear of growth.
Edit: Also, to the OP, on using cardboard. I think it is as safe as any commercially produced product. I have found that everything but staples and tape rot away nicely. I exclusively use brown undyed cardboard, as the colors/gloss maybe could possibly have heavy metals in them (? better safe than sorry?).
Now that last year is is behind us, haha, onto what's cooking in the Pancakery this year.. . .
The raised garden beds are brimming with growing veggies. The sheet mulching from last year has paid of with a drastically reduced weed presence. Last year I could not direct seed anything without a carpet of other seedlings developing. This year, after ripping open a soft half rotted cardboard giftwraping, I was able to direct seed tons of brassicas, lettuce, and root veggies. There is daily managing over the multiple beds, but it's actually manageable! Win :) The larger seeded plants (squashes/cucumbers/sunflowers) I started inside and transplanted out over the last 2 weeks. Sadly last night it got into the 30s and more than half the squash leaves turned dead and brown from cold damage. I'll try and direct seed into their spots if new leaves don't sprout.
Here is a freshly seeded and mulched bed from April 18th. There are peas in the long strip, and greens/brassicas in the square areas. I foster lots of nettles, dandelions, and burdock plants around the beds. They made great mulch plus I eat the dandelions and nettles.
And the same bed May 24th, no watering besides rain and snow.
I also have been taking some of the seeded patches and digging up a spade of transplants. The lettuce has been the best success this way. But its worked with radishes/spinach/cabbage/kale/beets. Here is a bed already planted with two rows of onions, getting lettuce between them and a comfrey mulching.
A close up of the transplant chunks. I gently tumble the clump in my hands until the seedlings start to come loose. Gently. Did I say gently? :)
And here it is about a week later. Every single one survived transplant and some hot long days. I did water them the first three days, but not since. I love the little world the tiny plants create.
The overgrown raised beds in the food forest patch have been moved into the main garden area. I wanted to connect some of the beds to get more gardening space, which now looks more "labyrinthy". With the leftover soil and lumber, I was able to build and fill a ~20" wide bed along the fence in the garden. These new beds are not doing too much, they have been sheet mulched with cardboard covered in yarrow stalks and yard trimmings. The Hardy Kiwis are planted in the beds along the fence, and they are indeed doing very well.
I'll finish off the post with a shot of the whole garden. And some greens that made their way into dinner. A little of everything edible right now and some onion greens for the seasoning.
Brian Jeffrey wrote:This year I have a clump of white flowered comfrey. Right smack in the patch of blue and pink flowered plants. And a second white one popped up between two apples trees. weird.
Interesting. The leaves on your white variety look different than mine. Do you have any idea if it's bocking 4, 14 or officinale?
I was told by the person who planted it that it all is blocking 14. It has been in the ground for over 5 years. Pure speculation, but it may be possible the plants are just showing different expressions from the different microclimates?
Well . . .it seems I got so busy that I never posted any updates for last summer. Sorry permies. The gardens produced a lot of wonderful produce. I have a list I kept of specific amounts, when I remembered to note what I was harvesting.
I was quite happy with the results from my first full summer at this location. I focused most of my physical effort of fully managing unwanted plants in the raised bed area and around the woody perrenials. While the front yard area remained overgrown apart from the asparagus patch. It paid off with a greatly reduced weed pressure and the favored plants grew and flourished. Below is some fun highlight pics from last summer and fall.
Update: The Currant cuttings all seem to be doing great. I pinched off the flowers and fruit that formed, and left the leaves, which are still slowly getting larger. The Blueberries in the ground, half seem to be alive and well. I am assuming that having green and growing leaves is an indication that roots are forming, and the plants where the leaves grew then died had no roots forming. The branches in pots are alive, lots of flowers which I am leaving on these . . . a man's gotta eat!
edit: OH! Also, i stuck some apple sticks in the ground for peas to grow up. The sticks are leafing out and look great :)
So far I've killed some peas and cucumber seedlings. Maybe I've murdered a whole bag of potatoes, I am resisting the urge to dig and check. I for sure have killed a few handful of daikon radish seeds. They sprouted a root and then it got too cold. I like to start early and therefore sacrifice seeds and homegrown seedlings.
The "ideal" sheet mulch stack builds soil super fast for sure, but with just cardboard over inverted sod you will be smothering unwanted plants and inviting worms towards the surface. Depending on how thick you want your layer of manure, I would only mulch as much of the space as you have materials rather than thin it out to cover everything.
If I were to use what you have I would flip the grass upside down with a shovel, put down a layer of cardboard, slop on the manure, add a top layer of cardboard, and as you mow the lawn spread the clippings 5+ centimeters deep to eventually cover all the exposed cardboard. The exposed cardboard dries out fast, and is not very appealing to look at, but I am willing to look ugly for a bit.
When you plant, I would use a little trowel to punch a hole through to the soil, smush the manure to the sides, and add some compost to the planting hole with the baby plant. Heck you could even plant potted seedlings the day you sheet mulch if you use the newspaper (crumpled up) to make a ring around the compost, keeping out the manure until the newspaper and manure rot a bit and cool down.
If you practice good permaculture principals even a "mistake" still builds soil. Have fun playing in your garden!
I have a surplus of white and light colored rock hunks for markers, which I use a black crayon to write on. The crayon marks don't wash off easily in the rain, and it does not fade and become brittle like plastic/sharpie. So far two years is the longest I've had a label last, but that's how long I've used stones like this.
Pondering aluminum sources, to mimic traditional tree ID tags. Roofing and siding construction sites use lots of aluminum trim/flashing. The scrap pieces they throw away would make good sturdy tags. Sheet metal off of old washing machines or other bulky appliances could be cut into strips. Old HVAC aluminum ducting could be hammered flat and used, or a broken vent housing. Broken screen window frames could be cut up and etched/carved into ID tags. Broken fluorescent light reflectors would work too.
edit: would folding a coda cans unrolled sheet 4+ times make it thick enough to not be cut by wire securements?
town nearby is just an average college town, there is not much in the local news that seems alarming. Aside from the local team not winning at sports or someone going on to get a scholarship or well known job, there really isn't much in the headlines. I'd say the economy has held steady in the area for the past decade due to it mostly focusing on the University. Most of the factories and distribution centers have been there for ten too fifteen years. The computer parts facility is owned by the University and shares a property with a computer sciences laboratory. The fellow that owns the property now used to work at the computer lab and has been retired for five years. Technically the city limits ends across the street from the house, so there are no restrictions, but the 'town' part of the city is about five miles away. There is a library, multiple museums, an observatory, two farmers markets (Supposedly the Wednesday night market near the University is very profitable more so for crafts and canned food than fresh produce.) etc..
I think this is a great plus to the property. I can't express how nice it is to have an interesting and eventful community nearby. Farmers markets, and the arts and music that goes along with college towns, museums. I am kind if jealous :)
I live in a busy urban industrial area myself. Beyond my back fence is 15 feet of birches and sumacs, a bike trail, an Amtrak/freight line and full train yard, and then the back of the city plaza (Walmart/tjmaxx etc). I could almost hit the Walmart fence from my yard with a baseball its so close.
There can be lots of loud squeeling of train breaks, and large clangs as the trains are pushed and pulled apart in the train yard. The times when they build trains seems random, literally any hour of the day or night. It can be annoying at times, but it is something that you get used to. Thankfully there is no smells or dust from any of the industry near me. I lived near the dog food factory in Denver, and I would NEVER live near a smelly anything. Finding out what these factories do would be an important decision.
Before I actually got the property I am on, I visited the house and area frequently. I wanted to know what the area was like on the weekends, weekday nights, the 4th of July etc. . . . . I would reccomend you observe the area at busy and calm items of day, get a feel for the flow of the neighborhood. Would you want to be hanging out outside in your own yard there?
One positive thing I have experienced from living in an industrial area, is the availability of scrap materials. I have access to old windows, cull lumber, dirt fill, tree cutting leftovers, and pallets, oh my gosh so many good pallets. If you end up living by industrial businesses, they can be a wonderful source of resources.
I would thoroughly research and think through your needs and "no's" deeply. But buying a homestead property like the one you are describing can be an amazing opportunity to make a life. I am thoroughly happy with my decision.
The main three goals for this year, are as follows. . . .
1- plant the first phase forest garden. I have already ordered trees for spring planting, so really I have to not procrastinate more than anything when they arrive. Until then my forest garden prep is laying down cardboard as I get it, to smother the grass/weeds.
2- continue to heavily mulch and work the raised beds. I was able to reclaim 17 raised beds and intensively cultivate 1 of them last year. This year I intend to continue smothering the weeds and I want to intensively cultivate 3 beds.
3- eat more yard produce. I already get 5+ wheel barrels of apples from the yard. Eating more fresh and canning more apples, eating young dandelion and nettle greens, experimenting with Jerusalem artichokes etc. I want to eat what I have :)
I think if I can avoid sitting down when I get home from work, I'll keep the momentum of the day going into homestead work. Happy new year everyone.
If you keep putting compost and leaf litter on your hugel, I think that by spring 2021 you will have enough soil to plant into. The largest hugel I've.made was 6x12 or so, and the biggest thing I noticed was how much the hump settled as the wood rotted and soil fell into the gaps between the wood.
The only thing I would add to your plan is some sort of cover crop over your hugel. I really like to use organic 10 bean soup mixes from a bulk bin. Most of the beans sprout if you soak them first, and where I live it is cheaper than buying a bunch of bean seed packs. Since the main job of the beans will be to shade the growing soil and send roots all through the hugel, when you would add more logs and brush just cover up the beans to decompose in place and plant more on the new surface level.
I have been tweaking my design to get more light to the plants that need it. I swapped the position of the North pawpaw and the South pear. The pear should get much more light now, and even though the south side has tall cedars next to it, I have high bush blueberries there now and they pump out fruit. To my knowledge they are supposed to have full sun, so I am going to see if the adjacent plums get enough light to prouduce even a handful of fruits. I think at the very least this plum will flower and help pollinate the north end plum. The raineer cherry has been given its full space to itself. All of th apricots and peach trees I was planning to try from seed, will be incorporated into other yard planting. The tree crowns are all just touching, I am confident I can prune and train them to stay within their 12' circle footprint. The mulberry is getting a 16' area to grow.
Speaking of the mulberry, I don't know if I described my plans for it adequately. While I have never done this myself, I have read that a mulberry can be coppiced to around 4-6 main branches on a 3 year cycle. This will keep the tree at a smaller size while always having a couple branches at fruiting age. The black locusts on either side will also be coppiced (maybe on the same 3yr rotation). I think this will keep enough light penetrating to the understory as well as the surrounding fruit trees. I drew a time lapse picture to try and show my thoughts.
I am a fan of the YouTube channel by James Pigioni. He has a similar sized plot and spaces his trees just a couple feet apart at the crowns. While he gets large harvests of fruit, I am willing to get a little less total harvest in order to have a larger variety. And I just really like the feel of groves and tree clumps :)
I think I got a lot more light and elbow room in the plan now. But what do you all think?
I really appreciate the kindness and wisdom everyone here shares. Thanks for all your ongoing support Permies!!!
Hi Permies. I have been working on the plan for my first forest garden, and would like all of your input.
The area I am planting is 45’x65’ located in Rutland Vt zone 4b. It is completely level, with good drainage as I have not seen any puddling over the last year. The plot is oriented east to west along its long axis. There is good light from sunrise until late afternoon, where the trees across the street block direct sun for the last few hours in the summer.
My goals with this garden are to grow a variety of fruit and nuts (trees/bushes), practice pruning and coppice skills, and to create a beautiful space.
The mulberry and black locust trees are going to be on a coppice rotation. The mulberry, to keep it at a manageable size for harvesting berries. While the black locust is for fertilizing via root dieback, and to get timber for wood handles up to maybe fence posts
I have chosen to make a main path meandering through the edge of the garden, and a smaller path in the northEast corner. My idea was to create a bigger sense of space by having lots of isolated stretches of path, thus creating “rooms”. Something I’ve heard about in Japanese gardening theory. Also these two paths will connect on the east side to the larger yard as a whole.
My concerns are mainly around my spacing of trees. I have given space for most trees to have a 12’ diameter canopy or bigger, with the crowns just touching. The understory will be planted out and herbaceous plants added over the next few years as the trees become established. I am confident this will be enough room for pruned trees to grow in, but I am nervous.
I also have one spot where I am seriously testing the personal space of trees. I am going to put a cherry tree over a heavily pruned peach over an elderberry bush.
So without rambling on about this for pages, what do you all think? Have I made good spacing and placement decisions? Does this plan look feasible?
I have a raised bed of stinging nettle. It pretty much completely takes over the bed it is in. The path between the beds is about 3 feet wide. Most of the nettle pups sprout directly on the outside of the bed, and a tiny few pop out a foot from the bed. I use a scythe to cut them back in the paths and also to harvest/manage them in the bed.
I will add to the recommendation of planting these things away from where you will often be. I seem to find an excuse to brush against these everyday.
Here is a pic of the bed, with a section cut back along one side.
I just used cardboard to sheet mulch two raised beds. No amount of mulching with straw/twigs/leaves was stopping the beds from being overgrown. I had been saving cardboard all winter to use in the yard, as well as being a cardboard dump for my friends too.
Before putting down the cardboard I gently removed the dry mulch I had previously spread. I made sure to not disturb the wetter, rotting layer of the mulch. Then I put down the layer of cardboard. It took about half of my stash to cover the two 4 x 8 beds with 6" overlapping between individual cardboard sheets. After the cardboard was down, I put the loose mulch back on top. The beds will be planted out in a week or so. Winter squash and herbs, all from seedlings in 2" pots I have made myself.
The whole process was easy and fun. No digging. No cutting down plants. Just hanging out in the sunshine cutting up boxes and tossing mulch around.
Good morning fellow Permies. It has been a rainy month, but there has been growth and progress. The apple trees and pear tree have the first tiny leaves out and the flower buds look like all they need is a dry sunny day to burst open. Blueberries and two of the three currant bushes have buds, I think the third may be dead but I will give it lots more time to show any sign of life. I have been waiting for the asparagus so show itself with ravenous anticipation, but nothing yet. Flowers are popping up around the yard, daffodils, violets, tulips, and some others I don't know names of. And, the comfrey is coming up, fast.
I have planted out a bed with ten strawberry root pieces. It has been around 9 days with no sign of leaves coming up, having never started strawberries like this I am hoping they just need more time. I put peas in the bed too. The strawberry spots I pushed aside the mulch and built little stick pyramids over them, helps me remember where to look :). I also planted out two beds of bean mixes. It is a bit early for them really, but if 5% sprout that's more than nothing.
Non-plant project stuff . . . I fixed a broken wheelbarrow handle. Yay. I had scrapped a load of wood pallets, and a broken piece from one had the perfect taper already for a handgrip. I love free materials !
Lastly there is my tiny army of seedlings that has been building. I bring them outside every morning and back inside every evening. It has been so rainy lately, I've needed to put them under some salvaged windows for rain protection.
And that's it for now. I have a feeling this next month will be an explosion of activity and fun. Thanks for reading everyone.
Hello Permies. It has been so nice out I have been able to start prepping the yard for spring. I moved the mulch off of 5 raised beds so they can warmup faster. I want to put my greens and broccoli family stuff in them as soon as the ice thaws out in the soil.
The asparagus patch got cleaned up too. I trimmed off all the old stalks before putting in a border of marble logs to help me keep track of where the crowns are. Besides asparagus there is cat-mint, flowers, and lavender. . . that I know of so far.
Walking around the yard cleaning up garbage that wind blows in, I found two Red Lake Currant bushes. And two other bushes in the row that I am guessing will bear something tasty too. Having moved in last October, there are so many plants I have yet to find/ID.
Winter progress update. I have gotten all the veggie seeds for the raised beds. Then plan is to start a lot of them indoors to help keep me aware of what is what in the beds. There will be a lot of "weed" pressure this first year after being fallow so long, so I would like to at least be sure of what I planted intentionally. That being said I am still going to allow some of the weeds to grow throughout the summer to see what they are and how I might find use for them around the garden.
With so much garden to manage, my cover crop must be simple. 10 Bean Soup mix will be my primary cover crop. It will be easily distinguishable from the veggies, grow large leaves, produce lots of inoculated roots, and cost very little in seed. Some plants won't like beans growing around/under them, and I'll most likely use annual flower seeds or no cover crop at all. I have found a local ag supply store that will have straw for $4 per bale. It will be the main mulch for the whole garden, mixed in with leaves from a huge pile in the far end of the yard.
Spring is getting close and I can't wait! Here is a few snowy yard pics. The white snow makes th beds and tree branches structure easy to pick out.
Hello Permies. After lurking for too long and biding my time, I have moved again to my long term property. A lot of hard work and generous people have helped me acquire a 1/2 acre homestead in Rutland Vermont. It has three mature apple trees, a proudicing young pear, sprawling grapes, asparagus, berries, HUGE comfrey patch (blk 14), 20+ raised beds, open meadow, and many more suprises in store. Before getting into the details of everything, I must officially relegate the previous Pancakery project log to the history books. It served me well to record my various permie projects across my journey to a permanent patch of land. The old log can be found HERE .
So now onto my piece of heaven. The lot is roughly 90'x200'. Mostly level with a slight depression towards the far(east) end of the property. The house is circa 1870, updated electrical/insulation/walls/fixtures a few years ago. The previous owner had taken the entire lot from grass to the raised beds, herb spiral, fruit trees etc. After working on the yard for 5 years, she devoted her attention to updating the house, leaving the yard fallow for three years. Needless to say the garden areas were overgrown 6' tall. The google image below shows the property while still in working order, it is NOT this clean and mowed now. The herb spiral has since turned into a 20'x20' comfrey patch.
And a closer look at the cultivated areas.
I have cleared the overgrown beds in the larger bed area. Two of the three apple trees are in the beds. It went from jungle to messy garden. I did not even know there were beds under all these overgrown plants! My goal for the coming summer is to mulch and cover crop these beds enough to have some semblance of a proudctive garden. I came up with a list of plants I want to grow in the beds, and a rough sketch of the primary plantings. There will be poly cultures built around the main crop plants, but it's not fully fleshed out in the sketch.
I have a woody plant list too. But have yet to make a larger map of the yard and overall plan of what goes where. I need to trim and train the fruit trees and grapes, so that might be my woody plant goal this year. Availability and time will be the true decider on how much woody plant gardening I get done.
I have a lot of planning and work ahead of me, but this is what I have been striving towards. Working a plot of land as an urban homestead. Thanks for reading so far, and I will keep adding more progress as it progresses. Here is my mountain view of Killington to send this post off. . . . . .
I relate with all of our collective struggles. My work/public/family/private life all offer resistance the more open I become about myself. However even though I experience similar interactions with all of you, I find an overall better time overcoming their disdain. I find being openly enthusiastic and beaming love of the world and how I fit into it, that even the most aggressive detractors will respond. I by no means turn people's ideas around, I explicitly try not to. But I do wax poetic about my interests and values. I show how those things make me feel so good and tuned into a vibrant life. If these people are not far enough along their own journey to respect others lifestyles, they will at least understand it can cultivate a happy fulfilled life in someone who can. And THAT is more enticing to a persons curiosity than any one specific detail or practice in that happy life.
My deviations from normalcy are . . . Permaculturial ideals and the resulting values. That tied with my irreverence for material possessions and what is truely valuable, leads me into conflict with people about using "garbage" and "broken" things that I find beautiful and deeply filled with purpose.
I do not own a car and use a bicycle as my primary means of transportation. To me people sound lazy and self defeated when they give me their reasons why biking year round is crazy. But I only express how much I enjoy watching the world around me and the wonderful scenery while feeling the wind , and dare I say rain, on my face. I share how it builds excersice into my daily life, without actually having to "do" anything extra. How I run into more people, and have more conversations with my community.
I don't own a microwave either. Or use fluoride. I cook from scratch (80% Of the time), only use cast iron, don't use soap. Most of these smaller choices I make, I just change the subject. No use focusing on details with people who can't grasp the big picture yet.
And my most gawked at personal choice is being Poly. I've been poly my whole life, openly for 7 years now. And have more people tell me that my love and relationships are not real, than I can count. Aside from true haters who just make their remark and walk away. I usually tell people that I get to love and adore anyone who stirs my soul in that way. I can love my friends more deeply, I can experience romantic bliss and not fear about finding more than one woman who ignites my soul. This usually can get people to admit that it sounds nice, even if it would " never work for them". If I need to break the tension after talking a bit with a person, I like to joke that " no one tells you about your three partners tag team nagging you and planning your chores!" It gets a chuckle .
So my advice is to find your joy and love in your life. Express that to the world, don't tell anyone what to do. Don't place blame on anyone but yourself when preaching, be it global warming, ethical meat, people's love lives. Practice compassion in the people who challenge you the most.
I also recommend reading "The Song of the Bird" by Anthony deMello. i read it a few times a year. It reminds me of the peace and beauty that I have if I am my true self.
Phew thanks for reading that blob of text. Cheers Permies
Permies people of the world! Do you know if marble dust can work the same as dolomite lime powder, in regards to soil admendments?
I have researched this myself and it seems that the amount of dolomite mineral varies in marble, depending on the type of limestone the marble came from. This marble is specifically from quarries around Southern Vermont, which I think has a good proportion of dolomite in it.