Tag Archives: Compost

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 ** After the rain pull out the Bermuda Grass!

Bermuda Grass roots and rhizomes coming off a shoot and

Bermuda Grass roots and rhizomes coming off a shoot and

After the rain is the best time to go after Bermuda grass (and if you are brave poison oak or ivy). Why, what do these two undesirables have in common? Runners! Both of these plants spread from rhizomes or root crowns. This means they send out shoots and where those shoots touch the ground there is the potential for roots to grow from that shoot thereby starting a new plant that then establishes itself and starts sending out runners or shoots of its own. It just keeps encroaching deeper and deeper into your garden if it’s not weeded out. If you don’t want to use herbicides in your organic garden then after the rain is the perfect time to go out and pull up the Bermuda grass that may have been sneaking into your garden this summer. This happens in my garden because it was a converted (shudder) Bermuda grass lawn. I compost just about everything EXCEPT Bermuda grass (and poison oak). Bermuda grass has a strong will to survive, there is a reason it is used to cover sports fields! If you toss your pile of Bermuda grass weeds into your compost pile, over the neighbors fence or leave it just sitting in a corner of the garden new plants will grow where the pulled up weeds  touch the ground. They will start to propagate themselves all over again, SO Bermuda grass is one of the few things I bag up and send off our property.