So I had a garden this year, just like every other year, but I haven’t written about it or posted many (any?) pictures because, well… every other year. For a couple of seasons now I’ve been thinking about taking the garden to the next step, I just never knew exactly how to start. This year after talking to Jenn at Halifax Earth, I knew what that next step was.
I want to start following permaculture principles as I think about how I move forward with our back yard garden. So that means more perennial food crops that are low maintenance because the plants are taking care of each other. Basically it means an edible landscape for both the humans who live here and the visiting birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. And it means giving back to the soil in a natural, sustainable, organic manner.
Since I already have beds installed, I decided to change them to a horizontal position and move them to the front of the yard, making the annual veggies more accessible to the house. That would leave the back for the new perennial foods. But first I had to get rid of the grass. So with a little bit of lasagne gardening and horse manure from the local stables…voila!
Here we see the beds still travel the length of the property though I’ve started pulling the old beds apart. And other than the beds that have not been harvested yet (I think this was in September), the back has been mulched with horse manure and the middle path is on its way.
The beginning of the new beds. I treated myself to raised beds from Free Spirit Farm who make gorgeous sustainably grown and harvested wood products. And the beds couldn’t be more simple to put together.
Meanwhile, these 2 really great guys were framing up a new house next door. I’d never heard construction guys singing and laughing and having so much fun building a house. So we asked them if they would build us a shed when they were done. They checked out the space and now, yep, we have a shed. Ask and you shall receive.
Then Jenn came over and started in like a mad woman digging and designing as she went…she is fast and strong and really knows her stuff. I was just trying to keep up planting and transplanting behind her. It’s impossible to show the bigger design right now because there are no brightly coloured plants filling in the edges (most are losing their leaves and going dormant) and I don’t have a drone camera but I’ll try again in the spring. So far we’ve planted Saskatoon berries, air potatoes, perennial spinach, Hazel (yes, we’ll have nuts in our back yard!), walking onions, strawberries and so much more to come. Mouse over for captions or click for larger pics.
Saskatoon berry newly planted.
Entering the yard.
The beds are in a U shape with a path in the middle.
Closer view of the horse manure turned to mulch.
On the patio.
We dug in a barrier to try to keep the raspberries from suckering out all over the place.
Good King Henry spinach in between a row of carrots and a Saskatoon berry bush.
Apios or ground nut.
Meanwhile, we had a pretty good harvest this year including at least 50 peaches from our pit-from-the-compost peach tree and a bunch of sunflowers that we shared with the birds.
The birds are so used to me now that they chow down even if I’m standing right next to them.
So have a great winter! Share with your neighbours. See you in the spring.