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Pondering Permaculture

PonderingPermeculture

Pondering Permaculture

 My husband and I have lived in our new home on 2.22 acres for almost a year now. It’s been an interesting, super busy year, since the land and home had many urgent issues to deal with, and it will take many more years before our homestead is the way we want it to be. This isn’t a complaint, in fact, I love every bit of it. :)

One of the many things we have thought about lately for our land is about permaculture. Permaculture is…well, it’s a difficult term to define (click here for a rather wordy discussion on that topic). At a very basic level, permaculture is about developing an agricultural ecosystem for self-sufficiency. For me, permaculture is about a balance between my personal sphere and the needs of nature. It is about me and my husband being caretakers for the land and providers for our own needs

How this plays out in our lives….

Our land is mainly flat and mostly forest. When we moved here a year ago, we immediately started observing our land. Our front yard was bare orange clay. That’s right, there was no grass or plants. Just orange clay. Our backyard (that wasn’t woods) was mainly poison ivy, invasive honeysuckle, and invasive pricker bushes. The forest part of our land was trees and nothing else. No stinging nettle, plantain, wildflowers, or other beneficial plants. No animals. Only trees.

It is very important to us that we heal our land. It started out bare, but we are hoping to bring life to this tiny patch of land.

Here is a list of what we have done so far:

  • I have started planting perennial plants in our front yard: there will NOT be a grass-lawn in the front yard. It will slowly grow into a paradise of perennial flowers, shrubs, and fruit trees. 
  • I am growing plants for the butterflies and bees (including: milkweed, hyssop, borage, calendula, and nasturtium).
  • I am growing sunflowers for our own diet as well as the birds and forest creatures.
  • I am planting stinging nettle, a forest plant that can be invasive, in our woods. Yes, it can be invasive. However, stinging nettle is good for the soil, the garden, and our diets. It will make the forest provide nutrients for us, which means our land will be helping us be more self-sufficient.
  • We pulled out all the invasive yuck in the backyard. Instead, there are raised beds for gardening (the natural soil is just too poor) and…
  • Our backyard is a ‘no-mow’ lawn. We have a backyard full of clover, dandelions, plantain, creeping thyme, and other “no mow” plants. We will NOT plant grass. These “weeds” will give nutrients to the soil AND to us (click here to learn about the medicinal uses of dandelion, for example). It will also help the bees and butterflies!
  • We started a compost pile for our garden/yard. This lessens our trash impact on the land as well as gives the land some nutrients over time. It will also help provide us with some healthy fruits and veggies!
  • We have started a DIY willow fence/hedgerow around our garden. Willow fences are living fences. Click here to see some stunning pictures of living willow fences. They will provide us with a natural, living fence around our garden. They keep deer away from gardens, are less harsh/unnatural on the land than other types of fences, and we will use some of the willow branches to make our own garden trellis designs. It will take a few years to get this going, though, so hopefully we can find other ways to deter deer for a few years.
  • We planted some elderberry shrubs on the edge of our forest. Elderberries will help keep us healthy (click here to learn how to make elderberry syrup) as well as feed the birds.

 

As you can see from our list, it’s been a busy year! We truly dream of making a healthy piece of land here, and there is still plenty we want to do! Here’s a list of what we hope to do this coming year:

  • We want to make bat houses and insect hotels to encourage bats to help keep mosquitoes at a minimum and to bring good insects to our garden.
  • We hope to start growing our own mushrooms on freshly cut logs in the woods.
  • We hope to raise ducks to help keep the bug populations in control and to raise rabbits for their meat (and rabbit manure is one of the BEST things for your garden!).
  • We want to place some rain barrels around our home and put up gutters to help prevent erosion and to have a free supply of water for the gardens.
  • We would love to get some more foraging items in our woods.
  • We plan to plant more natural wildflowers along the edges of our woods.

 

I am sure more things will come up for our list, but this is a great start to our next year goals!

 

So…what about you? What are your thoughts on permaculture? How do you practice it in your own life? What other things do you think we should add to our list?

 

Pondering Permaculture

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