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PERMACULTURE ** An adventure in lifestyle change…

lawn_irradication,organic gardening, raised bed gardening, permaculture, seed saving, growing heirloom vegetables, herb gardening, planting fruit trees, edible landscaping and water harvesting also garden art, mosaic, stained glass

February 5, 2010 Doing away with the backyard lawn!

Our journey towards living a more sustainable lifestyle started four years ago when my husband and I decided we wanted to live a little more off the grid. I was curious as to how much of our own food we could actually grow and I wanted to experiment with alternative energy. I was looking into solar hot water heaters and using solar panels to supply household electricity, as well as water harvesting techniques.

I was somewhat familiar with organic gardening practices, composting and the idea of using rain barrels but I hadn’t had a much long term success with any of it so I figured, since I was planning on doing something on a larger scale, I should learn a lot more about it. I did a bunch of research and discovered the term “permaculture”. While still living in a one bedroom apartment I started checking out books from the library and reading lots of articles on the internet. I decided that permaculture was the way I wanted to go when we finally found land somewhere. Once we bought our four and half acre property, permaculture design principles gave me a framework to work within that was both practical and in alignment with my wish to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Without the permaculture design principles I would have been completely overwhelmed. I was about to begin gardening on a large scale, in a four season climate, in the mountains and it turned out that there was a lot of competition from hungry critters for just about everything I grew to eat. I could make lists of things I wish I’d known before and after we purchased land in the back country! I would do it all over again but I would be a lot more prepared and do more than a few things differently right from the beginning. At the very least I would know what questions to ask, questions I never thought of until after we moved.

So in an effort to both remind myself as well as share with others I’m doing a series of posts on 10 permaculture design principles based on what I’ve understood from the book Gaia’s Garden, A Guide to home-scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. When I use these principles I’m productive in a ways that are more sustainable for myself, others and the planet and I achieve an overall saner existence! I would love to hear from you about your experience  if you have started using these principles and if you haven’t yet I’d like to hear what questions you have. I invite you to subscribe and be part of discussion about what we are all doing to have an environmentally friendly sustainable lifestyle.

 

PERMACULTURE ** Definition

 

Calville Blanc d'Hiver Apple Tree Guild- Guilda are a new way to grow fruit trees

Apple Tree Guild –  Fruit Tree Guilds are a different way to grow fruit trees – think of it as companion planting for trees.

Definition of Permaculture:
Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape, people and appropriate technologies, providing shelter, energy and other needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture is a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms and patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, water and soil management, and human needs into intricately connected and productive communities.” –  Bill Mollison, founder of Permaculture and Scott Pittman, founder of the Permaculture Institute.

 

 

 

GARDEN JOURNAL ** PHOTOS ** Fall Fruits

Fall Harvest

Tomato

Tomato

Single raspberry

Single raspberry

Red Delicious Apples

Red Delicious Apples

GARDEN JOURNAL ** How to mend a hose that’s sprung a leak

Today my hose sprung a leak. I suspect a critter chewed a hole in it. Last month a pack of coyotes chewed my neighbor’s hose into eight pieces to get to the water in it. She’s the one who told me to always have a few hose repair kits on hand! I Used the Gilmour 5/8” hose mender.  It’s quick and easy. I used my garden clippers to cut the hose where the hole was and then followed the directions on the packaging. The only other tool I needed was a screw driver. People often throw away a hose that has a hole in it because they don’t’ realize how easy and fast it is to fix. This hose took me 5 minutes to fix and it’s one more thing I can keep out of the landfill.

how_to_mend_a_hose

How to mend a hose

Instructions on how to repair a garden hose

Tools I used to repair my garden hose

garden_hose_repair

Half way through the garden hose repair job

Garden_hose_repair _job_complete

Garden hose repair job complete

 

 

 

 

GARDEN JOURNAL ** PHOTOS ** Photography from the Garden

Getting some photographs from the garden ready for the Julian Arts Guild Studio Tour

October 19th and 20th, 2013 Everyone is invited!

sunflower_with_two_bees

Sunflower with two bees

coral_bee_balm

Coral Bee Balm

4 lefts 1 right Garden Gloves

4 lefts 1 right Garden Gloves

red_cabbage

Cabbage

julian_grown _heirloom_red_delicious_apple

Julian grown heirloom red delicious apple

nasturtium_seeds_in_julian_pie_pan

Nasturtium Seeds in Julian pie pan

 

For information regarding the Julian Arts Guild 2013 Studio Tour contact:

Julian Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 1866, 2129 Main Street, Julian, CA  92036
(760) 765-1857
http://www.julianca.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GARDEN JOURNAL ** SEED SAVING ** It’s time!

 

 

Saved Cilantro Seeds. Cilantro seeds are also known as coriander

Saved Cilantro Seeds. Cilantro seeds are also known as coriander

End of summer and into Fall is the time for seed saving!

3 reasons to save your own seeds:

1. It’s a planet friendly, sustainable, resourcing saving thing to do. When you save your own seeds to plant next spring you save the paper and ink it takes to package seeds, you save on the fuel it takes to ship and you save the water it takes to grow all the seeds that get shipped every year. It really adds up when you think of how many people order seeds every year.

2. Saving seeds saves money. Good quality organic seeds go up in price every year. Why not harvest what we have in our gardens and save our cash?

3. Saving seeds is FUN! It’s a great activity to do with kids. I keep same handy to work on when I sit down to talk on the phone or watch a movie. The best part is when I get to plant seeds I grew in the spring!

When I started ordering seeds for my garden 3 years ago I only ordered only open-pollinated seeds. When you save seeds from open-pollinated seeds you know the crops you harvest the next summer are going to be the same vegetable you harvested the year before. I avoided all hybrid seeds when I did my initial ordering. Hybrid seeds are produced by artificially cross-pollinating plants. Folks in the agriculture business starting creating hybrids to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, longer shelf life and disease resistance for the mass commercial market. The downside for gardeners in all this is that hybrid seeds do not grow the same plants the next year from saved seeds. Hybrid seeds can revert back to any of the plants that it was initially crossed with when it was created and that’s what makes for inconsistencies in plants grown from hybrid seeds. Farmers who use hybrid seeds have to buy seeds every year from the seed companies that produce hybrid seeds.

Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds that have proven their value over a long period of time. The value may be in the flavor, productivity, hardiness or adaptability of the fruit or vegetable produced from the seed. Many heirlooms have been grown, saved and passed down in the same families for generations; some even go back 300 years. As home gardeners and small market farmers we get the benefit of this long development cycle, as only the best producing, most flavorful, most memorable and most dependable varieties have made the selection throughout the years.

All heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds but all open-pollinated seeds are not heirloom. Some open pollinated seeds are newer varieties that are bred to be stable in what they produce from seeds saved but they may not be old varieties.

The one thing I ran into in my garden that you may want to watch out for is… When I planted regular green zucchini seeds to close to yellow crook neck squash seeds what I got was my own unintentional hybrid with the help of the pollinators in my garden. I ended up with some very strange half crook neck – half zucchini looking squash. I ate these strange naturally created hybrids but I did not save their seeds! A great book on seed saving (and it tells you how far apart to plant seeds that are in the same family to avoid unintentional hybrids) is Suzanne Ashworth’s book Seed to Seed.

Harvesting cilantro seed

harvesting cilantro seed

green beans drying on the vine

Green beans drying on the vine