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.
Come stay with us and attend one of the three-part series on Herbal Gardening by Dahlonega Healing Arts. Classes presented by Suzanne Albright, Gardening Coach, Designer and Horticulturist.
Class 1: Growing your own herbs – March 16th
*How to grow herbs in your garden or container
*Herbs the thrive in Georgia
*How to best prepare your planting beds
*Designing suggestions with herbs
Class 2: Medicinal and healing herbs – March 23rd
*Properties of specific herbs
*How to prepare herbs in a variety of forms to best treat any number of conditions.
*Herbs for teas
*Herbs for infusions
*Herbs for aromatherapy
Class 3: Culinary herbs – March 30th
*How to prepare herbs and incorporate into your favorite foods
*How and when to harvest your herbs
*How to dry and store herbs
DATES: Tuesday, March 16, 23, 30 – Classes available individually or as a series.
TIME: 6- 7:30pm
PRICE: Individual class: $12, Three-part series $30
LOCATION: Dahlonega Healing Arts
81 Crown Mountain Place, Building E, Suite 100
Dahlonega, GA 30533
CALL TO RESERVE: 706-867-7026
Come stay with us Friday and/or Saturday evening and attend this informative workshop. Here at Cedar House Inn we are very interested in permaculture.
Introduction to Permaculture, a one day workshop, at Cedar Hill Enrichment Center in Gainesville, GA, with Bob Burns and Isabel Crabtree, founders of Central Georgia Permaculture Institute and GeorgiaPermaculture.com. Bob and Isabel are regionally noted Permaculture Designers, teachers and homesteaders near Milledgeville, GA.
Date is Saturday, March 20, 2010, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost is $60 which INCLUDES LUNCH.
They will cover how to “Think like a Permaculturist”- the basic ideas of Permaculture, including principles, ethics, designing landscapes, water catchment and concepts such as Food Forests, Home Ecosystems, and much more will be covered in first half of this workshop. After lunch do a “walk-about” with plant guru Bob Burns, and then work on an “Herb Spiral” which exemplifies Permaculture Principles at work. Lunch will be provided. Cedar Hill is located at 5735 Dawsonville Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30506.
For more information or to register, please call Kat at (770)887-0051 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Class is expected to fill up quickly, so please sign up early!
The title of this entry is a favorite old time saying in the Dahlonega area regarding the prevalence of gold during the early 1800’s Gold Rush.
I am not referring to the precious metal gold but liquid gold. A substance that every human being produces in varying quantities. Also called Urine.
In Sweden they have found that urine is a valuable natural resource and is used as a natural fertilizer in farming. High in nitrogen it is especially good for leafy green vegetables. It is diluted with water in a 8:1 ratio.
They also found in Sweden that it is easier to process human waste more efficiently if the urine is not mixed with the feces. It is also better for the environment. They have even developed urine diverting toilets to separate the liquid gold from solids. It’s also interesting that privys or outhouses do not create odors when the solids are separated from the urine.
For more information read the book Liquid Gold which can be purchased on the eco store page of our web site.
At the inn we compost just about everything from raw food scraps from breakfast preparation to cooked food the guests do not consume. Fortunately Mary Beth’s breakfasts are well received and most guest’s plates are cleaned of food. Our dog Stu also likes to eat some leftovers but he needs to be on a diet.
For the cooked food that most people throw in the trash can or garbage disposal we use the Green Cone Cooked Food Composter. All kinds of cooked food from pasta to meat can go in the cone and it is gone forever. No odors have been noticed in the 5 plus years we have used ours. It also does not seem to attract animals or flies. All the contents is contained underground.
To learn more visit our eco store section on our web site link shown in the top right corner of this blog.