We filmed a short video today showing the progress made on the garden area using a permaculture sheet mulching technique. We also cleared the hill above the garden of the pine trees and planted peaches and blueberries that will provide breakfast ingredients in the future. The pine trees were used to make a living fence to keep out larger animals and to provide a habitat for birds. In the future we will provide more video updates.
Our property at Cedar House Inn is not known for good soil for growing flowers and vegetables. I have planted over 250 trees and shrubs since we purchased the property and struggled with digging each hole. First we have a very thin layer of top soil, then hard clay and finally a rock layer. To have a viable garden we have no choice but to haul in or make our own dirt.
Rather than hauling in dump truck loads of top soil I decided to make dirt the way mother nature intended. Down by the yurts we have a forest of trees and layers of leaves under the trees that have accumulated for many years. Raking back some of the leaves you notice decomposition of the organic matter. Worms, insects and fungi are all doing their part in breaking down the leaves. Could I use a similar process to make good dirt in areas where only rock and clay exists? I read about Permaculture (sheet mulching) and Lasagna Gardening that explains just how I can do that.
Last Fall I identified where I wanted the vegetable garden to be. I then took large sheets of cardboard and placed them on the ground as a weed barrier. The cardboard decomposes over time like the layers of leaves in the woods. After watering the cardboard sheets I hauled many loads of leaves to place over the cardboard. Next I added wheat straw, then more leaves. This created a “lasagna like” layer. Some beds were covered with black plastic to help the composting process. When my wife had vegetable scraps I dug a hole in the bed and bury the scraps. I also buried rotted wood to add other microbes and insects to assist in the composting process.
One bed has a worm tower that I made. The tower is a 5 gallon plastic bucket with holes the size of a pencil that I drilled. We add vegetable scraps and red wiggler worms to eat the scraps and make worm castings and tea.
I have read that by Spring if the organic matter is not fully decomposed that is fine. I can dig a hole in the garden for the plant, add some top soil in the hole and plant. This type of gardening also requires no weeding which I like.
We are looking forward to growing vegetables using this simple permaculture gardening method. Be on the look out for more posts about how our garden grows once planting season arrives.
Early this week my wife and I loaded up our VW Camper Van with bagged garbage to take it to the Lumpkin County landfill/transfer station. Since our middle son moved to Gainesville we have not been able to borrow his pickup truck for trash hauling so the van had to do.
We placed tarps inside the van to catch any spills from leaky trash bags, loaded the van and went on our way to the dump. My wife commented that there we no odors caused by the garbage. We check our guest trash for food at check outs and also take all of our unused food and use it for composting. That explained the lack of odor.
We were also surprised that we had not made the dump trip in over 3 months and marvelled at the small amount of trash we accumulated in the last 3 months. The trash were were taking to the dump were items we could not recycle or compost.
When my wife goes grocery shopping she tries to purchase items in recyclable packaging. By recycling the packaging versus disposing we keep it out of the landfill which helps the environment.
Here in the county we can recycle some plastics (mainly the water bottles guests leave us), cans and paper. We also use shredded paper/junk mail in our composter. Glass has to be taken to another county for recycling. Many wine bottles are bottle trees in the yard. See bottle trees for more information.
Being mindful about what you purchase and the packaging it comes in is very green. So is composting food to keep it out of the landfill. Start today and help the environment. Please do your part and everyone will benefit.