April 24th, 2008

Gardening

I like permaculture, the only problem is I am not working with my own land, as I do not have any. I am working in my folks' yard, and so I don't have final say-so. Lots of stuff I planted in the past was dug up in the interest of putting in a turf lawn that "looks nice." Zip went the rhubarb, the medicinal plants and the sagebrush I planted. And the best soil in the backyard is now under inviolable bluegrass. Thus I scrounged a waste area forgotten under a pile of rusty junk, about 10 x 20 feet only. I moved the junk to the side. Underneath is a 2 inch layer of sand, and underneath that is the hard clay caliche bed of an ancient sea down to the depths of hell.

As an aside, this is part of my philosophy anyways. Instead of fighting over a good resource and all the BS that entails, find a resource no one else wants and find a way to make it blossom.

I wasn't expecting much this year except planting some potatoes in old tires (the good thing about having a junk pile to salvage from), starting a big compost bin, and double-digging a 10x5 feet area per biointensive methods to start a soil development program. I am following Jeavons' book "How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits: (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) ..." etc. as my primary resource. I already ordered some heritage varieties from SeedSavers and from Baker Creek. Although they are packaged for this year, I think they will be ok for next year too. In the meantime I can learn about seedsaving as well.

About two weeks ago, I did seed some tomatoes and oregano in a butter dish to see what happens. They put up some nice little sprouts as of yesterday.

I may not plant much this spring other than potatoes in the tire and a tiny experimental plot, and start the real efforts in fall, given the combination of soil problems, small plot, and weird season. That reminds me to hunt some good local fruit trees (dwarf apple and crabapple). Unfortunately nuts don't do too well here. But I want to focus on growing the soil itself first, and creating the relationship with that plot and the spirits.

Also I am focusing on actively learning the uses of common weeds and actually eating/using them, "not just book-learnin' ." I live in walking distance of some mountains and forest starting about 1/4 mile from my apartment. My folks' yard is a couple of miles down in the valley. Gotta love the "edge effect."

So this weekend, as soon as the weather thaws a bit, I will start digging and building that compost bin. I have some old wood pallets I scrounged. I gotta get my worm bin going too.