This was my garden before I started with the raised beds, the reason why I actually decided on raised beds was that because of all the trees the soil was difficult, full of roots and sunken. My garden sloops down towards the S.W. the soil was drying out too quickly too. But my garden was wild as I did not have time to work in it, I loved it’s wildness and thought that it was beautiful, but then I decided, that is when I retired, to grow vegetables organically (of course), and it is only last year then that I decided I would look at permaculture and go that way.
Now there is a lot more light in the garden as we cut down some branches of the trees. There are five trees in my 300 square meter garden. I am very happy with the raised beds some of which I still let wild plants grow in whenever they want and where they want, I just guide them along a bit. There is much more to learn and to apply, time will tell, a huge part of permaculture is watching your garden, observing and seeing what comes to grow where etc. It’s all very rewarding, seeds have been put down, and tonight I am attending a meeting of the local GIY group, about the community garden, there will also be a seed swapping, it should be interesting. So off I go.
Great activity going on in the garden today, perfect for a sunny Sunday, and the first day of spring in Ireland. The temperature was 8 degrees Celsius in the shade and went up to 15 degrees in the sun, lovely and warm. I had a raised bed to prepare, and according to the rules of permaculture that I am learning about, I do not disturb the soil. So I only pulled up some tough grass that came growing there during the winter. Then I distributed some of the seeds I had been saving, Plantain, Evening Primrose, Yarrow and some others. I found young plants growing there such as Tansy, Nettle, Lemon Balm, Goose grass, Dandelion, and some Oregano that I planted last autumn. When I had everything recorded I mulched just a little leaf matter to protect the seeds, and added some Epson salts (I read this is good to help with germination). I am trying to copy what nature does anyway with overwintering seeds of wild plants (and they grow so wonderfully in spring without our help). This raised bed is my ‘experimenting’ bed and I will keep a close eye on what happens in the next few weeks.
The raised bed now ready to be left alone for some time, and to be watched to see what happens.
Young Nettles and Tansy plants that came growing here by themselves.
Lemon Balm, and two types of Oregano
Dandelion, Parsley, and either Dill or Fennel, not sure, will find out. All these overwintered.
I also re-potted some house plants, I like especially the Peace Lily as it is a plant that is said to purify the inside air from electro magnetic pollution. The Aloe Vera also got too big for its pot. And lastly two young Poppy plants that seeded themselves over the winter. A good start to spring, very appreciative indeed.
Having some extra time over these festive days , has got me to thinking about the 2015 growing season, and what I will actually be growing as far as vegetable, herbs, or any wild plants are concerned. BUT
I have come to see that in my 10 raised beds there are several beds that are now well covered with wild plants such as Dandelions, Plantain, Feverfew, Borage, Cleavers, Nettles, and many more. I don’t want to uproot these plants to make space for my vegetables, neither do I want to cover the beds with too much leaf mould during the winter months so as not to kill these wild plants (they grow wonderfully well). I forgot to mention that we are having a very mild winter so far, we only had about two nights of frost, and the temperature is between 5 and 10 Celsius during the day. Though I am experimenting with permaculture, and so growing everything mixed, I am not sure how it is affecting my soil to have plants growing all winter and all summer. I am rotating the plants all right. I think though that for the coming year I am going to experiment with doing just that, grow Bean beside Dandelion, beside Cleavers, beside Lettuce, beside Nettles, etc….. I cannot just destroy my valuable wild plants, it makes no sense, no I am going to use them in the kitchen. I am already getting excited when I think about it. Cooking with wild plants as part of providing nutrition, vitamins and especially minerals is cool. I am doing an online herbal course and learning as I go along so it should all fall into place. Well that is what I am thinking about for the New Year.