Monthly Archives: October 2013

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PERMACULTURE ** Design Principle #5 – REDUNDANCY in the Garden is Good

Gardens that are riddled with redundancy thrive!

orbit timer_irrigationWHEN a key function such as getting water to the garden is supported by multiple elements such as:

  • Drip lines on timers
  • Rain barrels
  • Hoses, with adjustable spray nozzles, that are long enough to reach all parts of the garden

OR the key function of enriching your soil is supported by the elements of:

worms_red wigglers_ compost bin

Compost bin made with old wood pallets and red wiggler worms in a worm farm

  • Compost bins for kitchen scraps and shredded paper
  • A worm farm
  • Using poop from your small (or large) flock of chickens, geese or ducks

Then, if any one of these elements or functions fails, the whole system does not fall apart.

Even as I write I realize this principle planted right in the middle of the ten Permaculture design principles is in some ways redundant because I have already talked about some of these things in the first four principles.

Redundancy improves our chances of success. If I need to get up a 6am to get to the airport on time I set my cell phone alarm, the alarm on my nightstand and I raise the shades so the sun shines in my window. This insures that I will get up at 6am. The same applies in the garden.

When choosing plants and trees for gardens and orchards plant three or four different varieties of the same fruit or vegetable just in case one or two varieties fail. I also plant different varieties in different locations on our property so if one type of tomato in the garden gets a bad case of powdery mildew or an infestation of the tomato hornworms and the crop fails I still have the tomatoes I planted in the orchard. Of course if all goes well then I end up with a bumper crop of tomatoes and I am very busy canning, dehydrating and juicing!


Ameraucana Mix with Attitude

If you start a backyard flock of chickens for producing eggs and manure consider getting a variety of hens rather than just one breed. I have a Barred Rock, a Rhode Island Red, a Black Star, a Swedish Flower Hen, a Welsummer and two Ameraucana mixes (also called Easter Egger chickens)! Why have so many different breeds? Some of the hens lay later into the winter (the Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red), some lay blue eggs (Ameraucana mix) which are pretty, some of the hens are unique looking and are good layers (the Swedish Flower Hen) and so it goes. If you are not breeding chickens why not have a few different breeds?

Redundancy multiplies and strengthens the connections we build so our gardens thrive and produce abundant harvests.



GARDEN JOURNAL ** How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap

fruit fly trapAaaargh! I have Fruit flies!

Baskets full of apples and tomatoes are sitting on my kitchen counter (waiting to be cut up and put into the dehydrator) and I had the front door open during the Art Studio Tour. Swarms of fruit flies mistook the piles of fruit and open door as an invitation and they’re now flying all over my kitchen.  I used to have to go on a gross killing spree to get rid of these pests but now, thanks to Shanti, my husband’s daughter, teaching me how to make this super easy trap to catch the pests and relocate them back outside where they belong, I don’t have to resort death and destruction.

Here’s how to make it . . .

You simply take a jar (I prefer a wide mouth jar) and bait the trap with a few pieces of fruit at the bottom, then cover the top with clear plastic wrap, securing it with a rubber band. You poke several small holes (just big enough for a fruit fly to crawl through) into the clear plastic wrap.

The way it works . . .

The fruit flies smell the fruit, they crawl into the jar through the small holes BUT they can’t find their way out again, so they remain trapped in the jar. Once you have caught a bunch of flies take the jar outside open it up and release them. Be sure to close the door behind you so the flies don’t go back in the house! Yes, I left the door open behind me the first time I released them LOL. I don’t know why the flies can’t find their way out of the jar but this really works, if you ever have fruit flies give it a try!


PORTFOLIO ** Julian Arts Guild Studios & Galleries Tour 2013

I’m taking a week off from Garden blogging to focus on getting ready for the Julian Open Studio & Galleries Tour 2013

I hope to see you here in Julian October 19th and 20th!

Julian Arts Guild Studio Tour 2013

Maps for the tour can be purchased for $10 at my Studio (3833 Pine Hills Rd. Julian, CA 92036) Oct. 19th & 20th between 10am -4pm or at the Julian Chamber of Commerce 2129 Main Street, Julian, CA  92036 (760) 765-1857

PERMACULTURE ** Design Principle #4 – MULTITASK


Example of Multitasking – Deciduous Elderberry bush shading the front porch in the heat of summer and early fall, providing elderberries, leaf drop for mulch and branches cut during pruning are used for staking young plants next spring

When designing your garden or edible landscape choose elements that overlap and fulfill as many necessary functions as possible.

An element is a feature of the garden that is incorporated into the overall design. It can be:

  • a tree, shrub or vine
  • a trellis, fence or chicken coop
  • a rainwater holding tank, a raised garden bed or pathways leading through the garden

Functions are what the element contributes to the whole. In what I think of as, conventional landscaping practice, a tree has only one function which is to create shade or to just look pretty which is fine BUT it can go so much further, be so much richer and exciting!

Yes, a tree can create shade AND if it is placed thoughtfully in the overall landscape design it can shade the sunny southern side of a house during hot summer months; if a deciduous tree is chosen the leaves will drop in the winter allowing the sun to warm the home during chilly winter months. Thoughtful placement saves energy and creates savings in air conditioning and heating bills. The leaf drop in the autumn creates mulch which holds moisture under the tree or goes to build compost piles of rich compost building material. If the tree chosen is a fruit or nut tree then, when it flowers in the spring, it attracts pollinators to pollinate not only its own flowers but other garden plants.

brandywine_Amish paste_principe borghese_sweet million


When the tree bears fruit or nuts it feeds you and wildlife. Sometimes we have to do things to encourage balance so the wildlife does not get all the fruit, but more on that in later posts. In permaculture, what I’m describing, is called “stacking” functions. In other words, each plant or structure does more than one job.

The, equally important, flip side of this coin is that each “function” or job to be done should be supported by more than one element. So if one fruit tree is good maybe three would be better! Plant three varieties that bear fruit early, middle and late in the season or if space does not permit buy a dwarf tree that has three fruit varieties grafted on to it.

Other examples of this side of the coin in my garden are:

  • I have rain barrels to water the plants on my patio but when the rain barrels are empty I have 1 gallon bottles of water I have saved when I run the water until it gets hot in my kitchen. I use this water to water house plants, my chickens and to water the patio plants when the rain barrels are empty.
  • This year I started with four varieties of tomatoes in a variety of locations. I planted Brandywine tomatoes in the vegetable garden, Principe Borghese tomatoes in the orchard (aka the budding food forest), Sweet Million cherry tomatoes in the front herb garden and Amish Paste tomatoes in the pear tree guild.  The tomatoes in the orchard were raided by squirrels and I had some problems keeping the tomatoes in the herb garden watered enough but the Brandywine and Amish paste tomatoes have done great!

Creating interwoven connections and stacking elements, both in time and space, builds a web that supports the whole gardening effort. Break one strand and the other threads hold the web together.


Seasonal Recipes ** New recipes for Kale Chips!

lacinato kale_dino kale_kale chips

Lacinato Kale (aka Dino Kale) and Red Russian Kale Fresh Picked!

What to do with all that kale that came in the last CSA (Community Supported Agriculture co-op box of vegetables) or in my case all the kale that just kept growing into 4 foot high bushes?

Making chips is my favorite thing to do with kale. I just created a new recipe using coconut oil. I can’t stop eating the chips! The recipe using olive oil is really good too. Be sure to adapt either of these recipes to both your taste and what you have on your kitchen or pantry shelves. If you don’t have Brazil nuts or macadamia nuts then cashews fill in fine for either recipe. I think almonds would work well with the first version and walnuts with the second as well. Some people are not a fan of nutritional yeast, if you don’t like it then delete it from the recipe. Also, I use whatever kale I have which for me is Lacinato kale (aka Dino kale) or Red Russian kale. All the kale I’ve used make great kale chips.

For both versions tart with 2 bunches of kale and remove the tough spine then tear into bite size pieces. Keep in mind that they will shrink in size as they dehydrate.


kale chips

Coconut Macadamia Nut Kale Chips

Version #1

In a blender or food processor chop fine:

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

In a small bowl stir together:

  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 2 T Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce) or 1 tap. Salt

Massage into prepped kale

Sprinkle macadamia/nutritional yeast mixture into kale and coat kale evenly.

Lay kale out on dehydrator screens in a single layer or on cookies sheets and put in the oven.

If you have a dehydrator set it on 115 degrees for 4-6 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator set oven on lowest setting and dehydrate in oven taking them out when they are crispy.

Version #2

Mix in blender or food processor :

  • 1 cup Brazil nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

In a small bowl stir together:

  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T Brags liquid Aminos or 1 tsp. Salt

Massage into prepped kale

Sprinkle Brazil nut/garlic/nutritional yeast mixture into kale and coat kale evenly.

Lay kale out on dehydrator screens in a single layer or on cookies sheets and put in the oven.

If you have a dehydrator set it on 115 degrees for 4-6 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator set oven on lowest setting and dehydrate in oven taking them out when they are crispy.

One last tip (and confession) – sometimes I don’t get around to putting my chips away right when the dehydrator goes off and they get a little soft. I’ve discovered that if I turn the dehydrator back on for another 20 minutes or so they crunchy comes back and then I put them away.