Monday, February 1, 2010

This and that

My children shared. I have been coughing and miserable both yesterday and today. Grrr.... You spend all that time teaching them to be nice and share and then what do they do? They listen to you! So I was home from work today. I slept until noon then sacked out on the couch with my laptop, seed catalogs and a notebook. I was drawing sketches for different areas of the yard. Part of my permaculture plan.
A couple of people indicated that permaculture was new to them. I'm definitely not an expert, that's why I want to take a few classes but here is a definition from
Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.
Or another one: (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable and ethical way.
As I see it, the idea is to use careful design to mimic the complexity of a natural system, encouraging diversity, interconnection and sustainability. Think of the typical suburban subdivision. Not much diversity, complexity or interconnection there. And it's not very sustainable. Now think of a forest. LOTS of diversity, plants and animals interconnected to support each other sustainably. One concept of permaculture is to design a "food forest" in our landscape.
Mostly today I was working on the design for the area that will be the herb and wildflower garden (mainly flowers that have tea and/or medicinal uses). This area will also eventually incorporate a patio area with seating and a space for our fire pit. I'm also planning to put in a trellis and was thinking about putting either scarlet runner beans or cucumbers on it this year. In doing some checking online about companion planting I learned something and now have a new flower to put on my list to plant. I learned that Four O'clocks, flowers that I grew when I was a child (I tried a sundial garden once) are fatally attractive to Japanese Beetles. It seems that the beetles find them irresistible and will fly to devour them. However, it also seems that there is something in the plant that kills the beetles. So they don't live to reproduce. Hmmm, considering how many beetles we had in the garden last year this sounds like an excellent addition. I'm thinking a few rows of these are in store. That, and they smell good.
And it's snowing here again. I believe I saw somewhere that we have now set a record for the longest number of days with continuous snow cover here. It feels like it. I am totally ready for spring. I'm itching to start little seeds but I know it's still to early. I'll have to satisfy myself with the little pot of chive seedlings on the windowsill. And my geraniums. We have a hanging basket of pink geraniums that we have had since the spring of 2008. We bring it in in the winter and put it out again in the spring. It has a bunch of flower buds shooting up. It had a couple of flowers last week and it was so nice to see something blooming.


  1. I am sorry you have it too. I am still miserable as well and got nothing of substance done over the weekend afterall. :(

    Love your permie plans. I really want to explore Permaculture more, we have a very active permaculture Guild here in Pheonix but don't have the time or the funds right now to go on any of the courses that they offer. One day perhaps.

    Feel better soon!

  2. Feel better! Ickies are one thing that I wish could not be shared. Your permaculture plans are interesting, and the information really makes me think. The herb/flower garden, very interesting about the beetle thing. Companion planting and the killing of pests with plants is something that I'm still trying to understand. Do you know if there are any print resources for it?

  3. I'm sorry you're sick! It seems that whenever our children get sick, I usually end up with it as well.
    I am starting a few seeds this week. I sell a lot of my plants, and this year I plan to offer many different sizes (so different planting dates).
    This week I'm starting some eggplant seeds in 16-oz pots.
    Hope you're feeling better soon!

  4. Wishing you a restful and speedy recovery! Seems like colds/sinus infections are hanging on especially long this winter. I did look up Permaculture but like your definition better because it goes into it more. Explains it better. I have had 4'oclocks from time to time and do like them, and they do attract beetles. Didn't know that it would kill the little buggers. interesting! take care and rest up...debbie

  5. Hi Judy - One of the tenets of permaculture that I really like is: the problem is the solution. Example: you have a low-lying spot that always holds water. Instead of trying to build it up - work with nature to use that as an area for plants that like wet feet. A simple example, but you get the idea. Whenever we are confronted with a problem - we say 'the problem is the solution' to force ourselves to think of the issue differently.

  6. your seating area outside will smell divine being near the herbs, and I will definitely be giving Four o'Clocks a try!

  7. One of my friends just lent me "Gaia's Garden: A guide to home-scale permaculture", Second Ed. by Toby Hemenway and "Four Season Harvest" by Eliot Coleman. I am looking forward to learning more while I wait for things to thaw and dry out.


Glad you stopped in. I would love to hear from you.