I always have good intentions. I spent the winter learning everything I could about Permaculture and how to incorporate it into our new farm. I was on fire about it! The inner garden we did not dig. We piled on six inches of straw. To plant I opened up part of the straw along rows to fill in with organic garden soil and plant in that. The beds will stay well mulched. The new garden soil will be covered around the plants as soon as they are up and strong. Eventually the whole garden will settle in and each year we will just add new layers of soiled straw and leaves and let the years work themselves into great soil.
I saved boxes all winter and threw them into the garden. Once they were all broken down they sure didn’t cover much space between the beds. The weeds are peeking around it. I would need a lot more boxes, and a box cutter to cut them to size, and a lot more patience. More straw, I think, is the answer for the remaining paths (that is my answer to everything).
Then I looked out upon the large pumpkin patch we are creating. It will be a Three Sisters garden complete with five different kinds of pumpkins crawling along the ground and three different heirloom beans climbing organic sweet corn stalks. The grass is now thick and I am sadly lacking in time or cardboard boxes. I think we will have to rototill.
The thing about Permaculture is one starts slowly. Creating one bed at a time. We now farm for a living. I have a half acre of vegetables, fruit, and herbs to finish getting in. I don’t have time to build raised beds for ridiculously long rows of pumpkins or wait six months for a lasagna garden!
I won’t be able to do the whole farm in Permaculture this year. Some lessons are best taught over time. Long, windy initial rows will be rototilled into the never before planted area of the yard. I will add aged horse manure and gardening soil and plant. I will mulch well. We will have a good comparison between the inner no-till garden and the traditional tilled rows this year.
Next year I hope not to have to till. I will keep working up and adding layers of compost. This year though, we will just do what we know, pray for Mother Nature’s blessing, light the candle for San Isidro (the patron saint of farming), and enjoy all the blessings that come from our humble patch of rented land.
Thank goodness it is spring.