What a wonderful bunch of people who came to my backyard as strangers and because of our mutual interest in caring for each other and the earth, came away as new friends. There is a new swale on the hill above my house and a berm ready for planting. It’s mostly in the shade so here is a short list of some of the plantings I’m considering for the berm and a photo of our merry band of earth lovers finding the contour with our homemade gizmo.
Bushes: Serviceberries Blackberries Gooseberries Raspberries Low Plants: Garlic chives Onions Argali Bush Beans Rhubarb Herbs: Coriander Comfrey Chamomile Ginseng Lemon Balm Trees: Mulberries Filbert/hazelnut
On Feb. 13th we will gather again and I’ll be posting some new items for home work, meaning enlightenment that can begin at home. Diversity, one of the principles of Permaculture was evidenced in the mix of people in our yard. Some were already Permaculture trained, others had only heard about it days before. One was 7 years old and at least one in her 80’s. Everyone brought snacks to share..an entrenched form of sharing the surplus, one of the three main ethical principles of Permaculture.
Here is Toby Hemeway’s recipe for The Ultimate Bombproof Mulch I got mostly from his book, “Gaia’s Garden,” a must have.
The Ultimate Bombproof Sheet Mulch—Toby Hemenway, “Gaia’s Garden.
Wet each layer thoroughly. Soak sheets several times to insure water goes through to the ground. Don’t walk on the paper layer.
- A thin layer of high-nitrogen material, manure, blood or cottonseed meal fresh grass clippings or other lush greens or cast-off produce from restaurants or markets. If the ground is mostly clay, dig down with pitchfork and just move slightly in several places. Do not turn the dirt over.
- Newspaper or cardboard, in a continuous light blocking layer to smother existing plants. Overlap it and newspaper should be 1/8th to ½ inches thick.
- Another thin layer of manure to encourage worms.
- Bulk mulch—8-12 inches of hay, straw, yard waste, leaves, seaweed, stable sweepings, etc. Don’t worry about seeds in this layer, but mix browns with grass, or other fresh greens, about one part to four of total. Make this layer damp but not wet.
- An inch or two of compost or you can substitute plain soil.
- Two inches of weed free organic matter, e.g. fine bark, wood shavings for a finished look.
We’ll be doing a good bunch of sheet mulching in the yard of one of our participant’s. Nothing like hands-on to learn something for good. I meant that in every way. More to come soon. Stay tuned.