A garden in progress

I’m gradually altering my yard to become a permaculture garden. The woman who lived here before me grew purely ornamental plants, especially bulbs. The garden beds had been neglected for years.

I just discovered “waste” rock left over from the beds and main pathway buried around a large pine tree in the northwest corner of my yard. I have used much of it to build up the pictured raised bed and north garden walkway. I now need to fill the garden bed with soil that I will collect from burying the pathway rocks and bed edging rocks.

I plan to plant summer and winter squash and pickling and lemon cucumbers in this bed. It gets early morning sun and stays sunny until mid-afternoon.

I’m very much into repurposing things. Staying at home because of Covid-19 makes repurposing absolutely necessary. I will never be bored!

A native bumble bee

We appreciate the ecological importance of native bees. We grow flowers in our permaculture polyculture guilds that attract bees. This bee is pollinating grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum.

A new cold frame

It fits over my raised bed made with recycled plastic. Terrific! We plan to grow summer and winter squash and cucumbers in it during the warm months and then leafy greens in the fall and winter.

A garden in progress …..

We planted a bare root apple tree. We’re waiting for a cold frame to arrive. We have, beds and containers to plant, seeds, biochar, compost tea mix, and more. More seeds are on the way. We intended to create a permaculture garden three years ago, but multiple life events got in the way: divorce, remarriage, plumbing disasters, major and minor surgeries, sudden health crises, and more, and that was before the pandemic. Almost four years of observation of the yard’s microclimates has been helpful.

I think at this point, the necessity of home food production and greater local resilience and self sufficiency will reenergize the permaculture and Transition Town movements.

First swallowtail butterfly of the year!

Beneficial insects are a key ingredient in successful permaculture gardening, providing pollination services, pest control, and showing us beauty. Wild animals are highly useful in permaculture landscapes. They are especially important in vegan permaculture gardens, which are not animal-free.

Never forget the usefulness of beauty, especially during these difficult Anthropocene times. We require beauty to thrive as human beings.

Our dear friend Robin moved in with us just before the Covid-19 pandemic became a problem. They helped us dig a hole for our new dwarf apple tree today; we are very grateful for their help as both LynnAnnRose and I have extensive osteoarthritis due to birth defects and accidents. They are an artist and hairdresser with an eye for beauty. They noticed the swallowtail and took wonderful photographs.

More pics of the apple tree and permaculture garden-in-progress tomorrow.

An April snow has not stopped our cool season crops from sprouting!

Cool season foods and medicinal plants like leafy greens, mint family herbs (catnip pictured), onions, and cool season legumes like sugar snap peas, have no problem with light to hard late frosts and late spring snow.

My book, “Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains,” shows you how.

Sourdough substitutions for shelter-in-place bakers

A brief essay on making substitutions for sourdough baking if you’re living in a state with shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders: I ran out of semolina due to other people’s panic buying because of the pandemic. I’m at high risk for coronavirus complications so I’m avoiding shopping in stores. I was going through my food storage and realized I had blue corn atole, a type of roasted cornmeal. It works perfectly well for dusting pans. I also have some garbanzo flour and teff grain in my freezer. I have started adding small amounts of one or the other to each sourdough bread loaf to stretch out my supplies and spread out consumption of extra nutrients to maintain my health. I’m using olive oil to oil pans because I have more olive oil on hand than other oils and fats.

You can purchase my book, “Wild Bread,” in Kindle form if you want an instant download to avoid possible coronavirus exposure. Of course, paper copies are also available from Amazon and lisarayner.com. My friend Dan runs lisarayner.com and runs a considerably more sanitary operation than Amazon warehouses are experiencing right now. He only has one employee.

My gardening book, “Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains,” has a chapter on food substitutions—how to use local and home grown ingredients in place of imported foods. A sustainable future will require a relocalization of food systems based on small farms with permaculture polycultures.