the end of spring the start of summer

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Summer solstice is fast approaching, school is winding down, the river is bursting at it’s seems and our travels are done for the season. We have had so much happening.

First and foremost the food systems are coming to life. We are drowning in crunchy divine buckwheat shoots, which I graze on every visit thought he garden. But we are also stir fry them and have been making lovely spring green salads with them. We have lots more to eat, which we must do rapidly, as they are the cover crop in 2 of the raised polyculture beds. The poly beds are so inspiring to take in. I have never seen a garden box so full of variety and excitement. So far the buckwheat is all up about 5 inches, and as we gently pull them (roots and all) we find lovely lettuce greens, peas and beans, leeks and the tiny tops of carrots and beets below. What a lovely way to garden!

We have had a tree aid week as well. Mulching, baiting and tangle-footing, blow torching and guilding our beloved fruit trees. The old trees got a chop and mulch treatment, and I went to work with the blow torch on the caterpillars that were in mass pulsing on the arms of the plum tree. We taped and tangle-footed the bottom of the trees off to keep the ants at bay, and on the cherry tree we hung little vintage red apple ornaments painted with more tangle-foot to bait and catch the worms that want so bad to eat our juicy cherries. We draped all the trees and guilds in soaker hose to make regular watering a cinch.

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polyculture and potato sacks

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I am giddy with the implementations and applied permaculture techniques I am employing currently. The past 2 weeks have been so inspiring!

As you may or may not know by now, the couch grass is my fiercest veggie growing combatant, and after one year of displacing, digging, fighting, chopping and grunting my way through mounds of the stuff, I am testing now 6 or 7 different techniques to keep it at bay. Some have proven successful, others less notable, but all the same the opportunity to further experiments with various growing methods is great. The one I am most excited by is the raised polyculture beds! of which I have three, all of them are build using cedar mill scraps, with a black filter liner bottom.

Inspired by Ianto Evans polyculture outline found in Gaias Garden with the help of a great UK guide I found online, I have created  two beds following very closly the above guides combinations of edible ground covers, salad crops, herbs, alliums, beans, and root veggies. The concept is simple; diversify the plants needs and yield, heights, and maturing times, to create a super intense very saturated growing area. One of the two beds is done in almost entirely all purple varieties; carrots, beans, lettuce, kale, basil, beets, all in striking purple hues. The other is made up of more traditional and heirloom varieties. The third bed I am calling my pickle polyculture, as it’s a combination of my favorite pickling veggies ; beans, beets, cucumbers, and carrots, heavy sown with dill and salad greens for good measure.

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