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  • VA2SFX 2:38 pm on April 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Permaculture   

    Plant & Seed Order 2017 

    My plan is basically still the same as I sketched out at the end of last season. A mixed fruit tree / berry area interspersed with perennial herbs, mixed with both perennial and annual wildflowers, plus all kinds of grains, edible leaf plants, a few peppers and tomatoes, and pretty much anything else I can manage to scrounge up. It’s intended to be a sort of “wild-simulated” situation with heavy stocking of the soil seed bank, so Nature can kind of make her own choices over time about what will thrive — based on my hints and suggestions of what we like and I know grows here well (or hope will one day).

    View story at Medium.com

    Purchased from:

    Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery, Quebec

    • American Plum
    • Surprise apple tree
    • Magenta Grape Vine (seedless)
    • Somerset Grape Vine (seedless)
    • Blackberries
    • Serviceberry
    • Surprise Pear Tree

    Richters, Ontario

    • Bob Gordon elder
    • Chicago hardy fig
    • Lavender Munstead Plug pack
    • Lavender Phenomenal Plug pack
    • Oregano Kaliteri Plug pack
    • Oregano Italian Plug pack
    • Oregano Profusion Plants
    • Oregano Greek Plug pack
    • Oregano Syrian Plants
    • Oregano Turkestan Plants
    • Pepper Bhut Jolokia Plug pack
    • Pepper Jalapeno Chile Plug pack
    • Pepper Scotch Bonnet Plug
    • Rosemary Hill Hardy Plug
    • Tomato Black Cherry Plug
    • Tomato Roma Plug pack
    • Zaatar plants

    Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds, Saskatchewan

    These are sold as microgreens/shoots, but I’m sowing them directly in the field to stock the soil seed bank.

    • Arugula
    • Garbanzo
    • Fava beans
    • Flax
    • Fenugreek
    • Large green lentils
    • Kohlrabi
    • Millet
    • Brown mustard
    • Dwarf grey sugar peas
    • Green peas
    • Popcorn
    • Black quinoa
    • White quinoa
    • Khorasan wheat

    Johnny’s Select Seeds, Maine

    • Crimson clover
    • Pearl millet
    • Sudangrass
    • Anise-hyssop
    • Borage
    • Calendula
    • Chamomile
    • Collards
    • Pickling cucumber
    • Nasturtium
    • Gold beets
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Caracas carrot
    • Sorrel
    • Claytonia
    • Golden purslane
    • Parsley
    • Cilantro
    • Zaatar

    Vermont Wildflower Farm (VT)

    • Penny Pincher mix
    • Northeastern all perennial mix
     
  • VA2SFX 12:06 am on May 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Permaculture   

    And Mulch, Mulch More 

    I paid, including transport, $400 (CAD) for 10 cubic yards of mulch to put on my garden.


    In the truck that delivered it, it looked like a huge quantity.

    Once in a pile on the ground, it seemed — while still significant — not the “scary” quantity of mulch I was hoping to get for four benjami-whoever-is-on-our-hundred-dollar-bill-probably-a-maple-leafs.

    Still, gotta start somewhere.

    And putting mulch on top of your soil is insane. It’s like literally putting money into your soil, only better.

    Until I can crack the code to get tree crews to deliver to me (for free or otherwise), this is a suitable beginning and will take long enough anyway for me to shovel, wheelbarrow out and dump in my perennial herb beds — and wherever else I can manage it.


    Check out the heart-shaped rock I found…(above)

    Detail shot

    In the picture above, that’s an old harrow I pulled out of a barn. Presumably was horse drawn at one point and still in halfway decent shape. Here’s a site where a guy pulls a metal harrow across the soil himself — sounds like a not half bad idea. See also this graphic for an idea of how old that basic harrow design is (at least 1,000 years, maybe older — but with metal spikes in the slots above).

    Anyway, I didn’t come here to talk about harrows. I came to talk about mulch…


    And more mulch…

    Inside and outside the beds, because craziness.

    And mulch mulch more…

    Found an old bouquet of flowers being thrown out and “threw it on the pile” to break down.

    Decay is beautiful. Decay is good. We want decay in the garden. We need decay. Growth is not the only metric.

    Sadly, I’ll probably run through the remnants of the mulch pile in the next day or two.

    Which means only one more thing: have to get more mulch!

     
  • VA2SFX 9:23 pm on May 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hugelkultur, Permaculture   

    The Art of Thrive-Piles 

    I think it’s probably three years ago now that I tried setting up Hugelkultur beds. If you don’t already know, this is one of the standard tropes in Permaculture circles — though maybe there are new ones more current that I no longer keep up with. In any event, I wanted to try it out for myself.

    So years ago I collected some old logs and buried them lightly, sowing occasionally oats, random seeds, letting weeds and natural grasses flourish on top, blah blah blah. Basically I had a bunch of logs and random plants growing in a semi-circle in the middle of the garden for the last few years taking up space and do nothing. So recently, I began undoing them.

    A few weeks back while there is still snow on the ground and the ground was still partially frozen, I opened them up and found that some were more decayed than others…

    not that great of results

    This one below is hot, some nice fungal growth which means that the wood is being well broken down…


    But the overall soil quality that had been created in this environment was looking rich in organic matter at least and pretty open and loose.

    mmm, that’s looking juicy…

    Today now that it has fully unthawed, I opened up these beds more and found that I was able to dig with my bare hands — feet which is more or less unheard of in the garden normally, though we are also early in the season so the sun has not had a chance to bake the top layer of soil to a crisp yet.

    So this is interesting, if you’re me —


    This is mugwort. If you’ve ever tried to pull out a mature one of these, you know just how impossible the task is. But this — this is a more or less self-contained root ball/living matrix that I easily pulled out of the substrate of my beds with no effort, and the whole thing seems very much alive.

    In fact I found that basically all of the grasses and matted knots of weeds and debris form basically nice solid good feeling in the hands clumps, which you can easily pull out and flip over to break back down and recycle it to further biomass.

    And that is exactly what I did.


    I’m calling it a thrive-pile, which is supposed to be a sort of mass of biodiversity all lumped together and feeding off one another. Everything grows together, breaks each other down, uses each other for support and fuel, and creates habitat for even more forms of life to come in and set up shop… It’s basically my Hugelkultur beds re-assembled into a bigger pile. Processed down, aerated, opened up a bit, layered in, chopped to open some of the surface area —

    — because if you think of it all of nature is a kind of slow controlled burn almost, like nature is an enormous process of digestion. So these garden mounds become almost like funeral pyres, out of which new life is re-birthed into the garden. The mound builders, is this what they were after?

    The seat for the invisible guest

    Here’s a different style of “thrive-pile” I’ve got going on with layered sticks and loaded litter from the chicken coop…

    Some day this will all make sense…

    It’s not composting. I’m not patient or skilled enough for that. It’s just the setting up of ingredients and conditions and letting the actors and the forces operate. And it’s the Relaxafarian way…

     
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