polyculture and potato sacks

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Last weekend we added a three sisters guilded corn / bean / squash field. Small mounds planted about 30” apart each host 4 corn stocks, 3 pole bean varieties to climb up the corn, and the crawling squash and pumpkin bottom layer. As it sits today it is mulched in spent hay and only the corn has been planted, along with a soaker hose running through the mound field… which is reminiscent of an alien moon scape right now. Next week I will plant the beans and the squash, once the corn has a jump start.

I have been having such a great time using up these filter bags… I have mentioned them before but as a quick recap, we are acquiring them from a local filter manufacturer, they are heavy duty black woven plastic bags about 1 meter square, with a tube drawstring mouth top. They held charcoal, a beneficial element to have gently sprinkling amid the garden, and they are so heavy duty their carrying capacity is 1000 lbs. I have been cutting them up and using them as pathways, and retaining walls, and now planting into the tube tops, and using the bags rolled down to plant potatos in! We will keep filling the bags with soil as we roll them up to grow cubic meters of potato fields! These are my favorite couch grass buffers.  We are designing a big worm habitat using these bags; which will work together with the meat rabbits. The rabbit fence is in progress and the hutch / worm bin area will also host some dry tool storage and water catchment.

We erected a quick and easy cold frame; following our “build it for free build it with waste” mandate, and it is a wonderful home to more tomato and pepper plants that I know what to do with…. many of which are varieties I saved seed from over the past two years.

The other day we came home with 4 new fruit tree’s and I am starting my fruit tree guild today (that might be optimistic, as I have friends coming, but hopefully they feel like getting dirty and I can get ‘er done) More on that later.

On the building front Colin and Dave and Dylan are up on the shop roof as I type, and they are hoping to finish that off over the next couple days.. Oh dry storage will be so dreamy!

The urban rehab team is having a city relapse right now, and are spend a few nights in Nelson…. eating junk food, watching TV, surfing high speed internet, and showering a great deal I imagine!

Heading to the coast this week for a quick visit with Dayna and Matt and Zoe and the rest of the family.. so I won’t post again until the following week.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “polyculture and potato sacks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s