Overwintered Carrots

This week, Chad and I received a gift from ourselves from the past – almost 20 lbs of carrots! We had a large carrot crop last summer and decided to keep many of them in the ground for winter – a way to take advantage of the outdoors as an additional source of refrigeration. I…

Painted Lady Butterflies

Last summer we had some borage come up as volunteers in our garden. Did I say “some”? I meant thousands of plants. We didn’t have borage plants, we had borage patches. This was our first year with a borage explosion, so we thought we’d let some of it live, not realizing just how hardy it…

Garden to Campside

Last year we went on a short road trip to Montana. We made sure to take some of our garden produce with us to use as we stopped over at campsites on our trip. Taking the Garden Camping Chad had thinned our carrot beds so we had a harvest of lots of small, adorable little…

Last Summer’s Harvests

Winter seems like a good time to look back at the past year’s summer bounty and see what did well for us out here in the high desert. Here are some of the highlights: ‘Lemon Boy’ tomatoes. I’m trying to keep my acidic food intake low and these tomatoes are great. They are low acid…

Winter Seed Catalogs and Garden Planning

My spirits tend to get low during the winter – the post-holiday blues, gloomy weather, and reduced outdoors time always get to me. Winter here in NE Utah is long, but I have something to cheer me up and carry me through: seed catalogs and garden planning. By mid-January, there’s a stack of seed catalogs…

First Bean Harvest of Summer

Growing heirloom snap beans This spring as I planned our garden, I wanted to make sure we planned heavy on produce that would get us through the winter – including lots of winter squash and dry beans. After Chad and I reviewed my plan, we realized that it was VERY bean heavy,

Harvesting Apricots

Harvesting Apricots in July in Utah We have one mature apricot tree on our property. Mostly every year it blooms a bit early, then a frost comes along and kills all the blossoms off, knocking them to the ground, meaning that there will be no apricots for us. When we noticed the tree covered in…

How to Keep Track of Your Plantings in a Permaculture Garden

Keeping Track Of What You Plant In Your Garden A few years ago I excitedly planted several varieties of snap beans and dry beans in the same section of the garden. At the time of planting, I marked the different varieties with wooden markers, so I didn’t think I’d have any problem knowing which was…

Allowing Nature to Return

“Although it would be highly arrogant of us to think we could actually design ecosystems, we believe that we can create a balanced ecological agricultural landscape by allowing nature to return to the land.” – Darrel Frey in Bioshelter Market Garden

Cultivate Patience

One of the lessons of Permaculture is to first of all, observe. In other words, be patient and survey the scene before you take action. This is something I personally struggle with since I get very excited and enthusiastic about new ideas. While I do like observing, sometimes the patience part just gets away from me….

Polyculture Garden in Late Summer

On this last day of August the days are still hot and I find myself longing for fall. The garden is producing beautifully, and everything seems as if it will keep on going this way forever. But I try to remember not to take things for granted – the last warm days, the bounty of…

Composting in the Desert

Anyone who gardens or simply cooks a lot of vegetables quickly finds out – you must have a compost pile! Vegetable waste translates into useful fertilizer and soil very quickly if you compost, so it is a huge waste NOT to create some composting system – not to mention the cost of buying bags of…

Desert Garden Design

Over the past ten years or so my husband has been planting a fairly traditional garden. Each year he tills the ground with a tractor then digs out rows to plant his seeds and transplants. With my visions of permaculture I of course wasn’t satisfied with this approach. Tilling with a tractor compresses the soil and also…

Gardening in the Desert

Contrary to what you might think, people can and do garden in the desert. However there are certain obstacles to overcome that those of you in more clement areas won’t have to worry much about. For one thing, we only get about 7 inches of rain a year here. Yes, a YEAR. Back in NC…

Cold Frame Conundrum

I have four cold frames that I made using plastic storage bins and two more that use glass with the thermal mass of bricks and stone. These are experimental and so far I’m seeing some clear differences in the results. The seeds started in the thermal mass cold frames are thriving and growing much more quickly than…

New Life in Macro

If you’re a gardener but have never planted from seed before, you really must try it. Every year when I plant seeds there’s always some doubt: they might not come up. And yes, sometimes for various reasons some seeds don’t come up. But most of them do. Suddenly, on their own schedule, they come up, sprouting…

Permaculture A Designer’s Manual

All you permies out there have surely at least heard of Bill Mollison’s monumental tome, Permaculture A Designer’s Manual. I have been eyeing it for years but always ended up buying other permaculture books instead. Two thinks put me off about buying this book, its price (upwards of $100) and its monumentalness. Maybe I just…

New Cold Frame

Me and my sweetie went a little crazy ordering seeds a couple of weeks ago. When we combined households last year our seed collections expanded dramatically! I added a lot of perennials, herbs and flowers to the mix, he brought a ton of tomatoes, peppers and squash. But somehow, it seemed we still needed more seeds. And…

Starting Seeds

Over the past week or so I’ve been starting seeds in some DIY cold frames which consist of plastic storage bins with a few holes drilled into the bottom. I would prefer to make a glass cold frame at some point, but this will do in a pinch! It’s very exciting to see the first…

A Climate Change

But not the kind you might be thinking of. Last year I moved away from the Southeast where the summers are hot and humid and the winters are mild. It would be considered a temperate forest zone (as opposed to a tropical forest zone – though sometimes it felt pretty tropical!). This is what my…

Taking the Plunge

After several years of dabbling in permaculture and dreaming of taking a permaculture design course, I am finally committing myself to an online certification program, the one started by Bill Mollison, no less. Although taking an in person, on-site course at a permaculture learning center is extremely enticing, I won’t be able to take 2…

Perma-Crazy

I’m a little obsessed with permaculture. But let me back up a bit. A few years ago I learned about myers-briggs personality types. I learned that I am an INFJ, which stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. One of the characteristics of this personality type, according to the good people at 16 Personalities, is believing…

My Native Plants

One of my priorities for my home was creating sustainable landscaping. I’ve added as many native plants as possible to meet the needs of the Central Piedmont climate and to provide resources for native wildlife.