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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Totally coasting

With the Wood for Food garden heavily front-loaded with hard work, I have been coasting all summer. The self-perpetuating garden -- a basic tenet of permaculture -- means that you can set things up for success and then enjoy the results as you are able.

The summer of 2016 nearly swallowed me whole, so the garden took a backseat to the rest of life. The plants did what nature does: they carried on happily without me. I would visit the garden whenever I got a chance, and pick some raspberries or a carrot or some greens, and whisper gratitude in my heart for these good things.

The Swiss chard bolted, but it had also gone to seed last year, so there were lots of new seedlings throughout the summer (above).

When I had the time, I'd trellis the beans or squash or cucumbers up their tipi or archway, and maybe pull a few weeds. With the paths and spaces all sheet mulched, there haven't been many weeds. Mushrooms continued to pop up everywhere. The timers opened the valves for drip and micro irrigation while I slept at night, but in some areas I decreased irrigation because the plants didn't seem to need much.

It has been a real joy to excavate the garden area and fill the pits with large wood, hay, leaves, and manure. It has been great fun to see what will grow here, and how, and to learn through the university of life what works well. I've enjoyed sharing the results through this blog, and will continue to share from time to time.


I enjoy the colors, the tastes, the textures, the smells. (Above: beets and the perennial Maximilian sunflower)

2016, the year of the many mini-harvests...

I enjoy seeing the birds nesting in the bird boxes, eating the grasshoppers and slugs, and flitting and singing around me. We've had Western bluebirds, house wrens, white-breasted nuthatches, and kestrels in the nesting boxes, plus lots of sparrows in the garden. The swallows have shown keen interest in the nesting boxes... maybe next year they will raise young here too.

This year the Armenian cucumbers are far behind where they were last year at this time, but it's still possible that we'll harvest some before the first frost. It was 3 degrees Celsius or 38 degrees Fahrenheit the other night, but we evaded frost, just barely.

Red and green orach remain my top favorite greens -- for coming up first, bolting last, self-seeding, and tasting great the whole season through.

We've got our first apples this year! They are Idareds. Last year there was one, and the wildlife got it. This year, there are six, and it looks like they are ours. Happy dance!

The best part of this garden has been sharing it with my daughter. I'm so glad we started it together when we did.

Thank you for checking in and sharing the joy with me. I will continue to post on this blog as I'm inspired, but not on a regular schedule. You have seen the Wood for Food garden rise out of rock and moondust, and now it is time for coasting.

Enjoy your own garden space, stack those functions, and I hope that you will have the opportunity to coast too.