For those of you wanting more information on plants and the gardening aspects of managing your property, especially if you have a Permaculture master or consultation plan and are ready to take steps to implement, I will be sharing tips, events, and other relevant information with you via this blog from time to time in support of your thriving as new or aspiring Permaculturists. It is my intention to serve my readership as well as express and explore my favorite topics: ecology, Taoism, zombies, etc. I welcome requests for articles covering topics that you would like to learn more about. To make article requests, you can post your own comments to any blog post or use the ‘contact’ tab at the top of any page in this site.
The big question of “can we feed our family year-round on our property?” is one that has circulated throughout the Permaculture community for years. In my opinion (IMO to social media savvy types) it depends on regional climate, in terms of what will grow where you live, and the maturity of the plant and soil community. Permaculture requires intensive inputs in the first year (or round of installation – I’ll discuss phasing in a future article), namely when you first put the plants in your design into the ground. These ‘newbies’ to your site are going to need TLC just like any plants during their first year. Keeping the as-yet-to-be-established root systems moist during the hot summers we humans enjoy here in the Pacific Northwest is vital, and unless you are able to rely on existing sprinklers, have installed your drip irrigation system along with your plants, or have incorporated an ancient-style flood irrigation system (I will discuss this as well in the future), you will need to think about how to get water to those plants furthest away from your water source.
Here are two ways that I recommend to help all of your plants thrive during that first season after planting:
- Spread a 12″ layer of natural mulch over all your plantings just after you put them in the ground and water them in thoroughly. Now you may be thinking, ‘Can’t I skimp on this? Is a foot of mulch really necessary?’ This key initial investment in labor and materials will pay off big time over the long run, simply because you are giving your new plantings a huge head start by protecting their root systems from frost, drying out, and weed competitors all in one move. Not only that, but this step also attracts Earth Worms, who will do the work for you of both aerating your soil and adding highly beneficial natural fertilizer in the form of worm castings. Not bad for a bunch of shredded wood chips. (Note, you can also use straw; just be careful not to buy hay, which is straw with seeds! There are also other materials suitable for thick mulch, such as leaf mold from your site or evergreen needles.)
- Plant in the Fall. This second key move utilizes strategy to weld the power of Nature in your favor. One of the great sources of intelligence when it comes to Permaculture is the willingness to work with the natural smarts of this planet’s ecosystem. Planting when the rains come makes for not having to water. It also gives your new transplants (from nursery pot to ground) a solid winter season during which they can conserve growth energy and put down a strong root system. You will find that if you do this one thing, your plants will thank you with sturdy Spring leaves and then abundant flowers and fruit.
For those of you wanting to buckle down and turn your property into a Zombie Safe Zone, meaning you don’t have to leave much for supplies and risk being shoved over by frenzied Black Friday shoppers or worse, this week’s gem is a FREE online urban farming course!
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last two seasons, Curtis has made $20k and $60k in sales by growing fresh
vegetables on 3/4 of an acre. This year Curtis is teaching you how to become a
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