To Convert an Orchard to a Food Forest, Start with the Soil

Orchard path at Barbolian FieldsWe have this old orchard on our homestead – how old is anybody’s guess. The house is over 100 years, so perhaps the trees are as well? How long do they live? It comprises 9 trees (apples, pie cherries, and an Italian prune), and despite its age, produces more than we can use, but not really enough for any kind of commercial enterprise.… Read more

Garlic Planting Conundrums, Part 2

Garlic Planting Conundrums, Part 2, in which we ask, where can you fit garlic in a permaculture landscape, what about companion planting with garlic, and what is the most efficient way to grow really great garlic?

So, in my earlier post, we talked a bit about figuring out where to plant the garlic from year to year, and how it can be a lot of work to break new ground and turn it into something soft and loose enough to grow a well-rounded, firm, disease-free, long-lasting, ultimately flavorful head of garlic, which is what we’re all after, right?… Read more

Garlic Planting Conundrums – Part 1

I’ve written several articles about planting garlic, growing garlic, miserably failing at growing garlic, harvesting & curing garlic, and yes, eating garlic – and I have wanted to use the word, “Conundrum” in the title of every one of them.

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2013 Garlic Crop Is In!

garlc harvest 2013Yes! The garlic is IN and hangin’ in the shed! It looks great!

With this announcement, I have another – the short version is, there is not much there.

No – it’s not another infestation disaster. Simply, I scaled way back on the number and varieties of bulbs I planted (and scaled way UP in the permaculture / food forest plantings).… Read more

Plant and Seed Quest 2013

Ok – so the truth is, I just cannot narrow it down. I have spent days and days looking at websites of different nurseries and purveyors of exotic seeds – and I have spent months and months reading about plants and planning different guild arrangements and compiling “wish lists” that rivaled the loving letters I used to send to Santa Claus – and I, much like our dear friends (ahm) in Congress, cannot seem to reconcile the expenses with the budget.… Read more

Food Forest Beginnings and Fall Tasks in the Orchard

Fall applesI have to confess, when it comes to the orchard, other than pruning, I’ve pretty much let the trees fend for themselves. This is a disgraceful admission, being as I spent many formative years in eastern Washington, arguably the apple capital of the world.  … Read more

Is Your Garden Boring? (The Food-Forest Solution)

My garden is boring. I came to this realization one stormy day a year ago in February, a time when most plants were brown and shriveled, and only the weeds stood tall and green. I wrote about it in a blogpost about Self-Imposed Limitations, Sustainability, and Creatively Breaking Rules.… Read more

Permaculture: What is it? How do you do it? And how do you save the world?

There is a 2-acre garden in Vietnam that has been providing all the needs for a family for – get this – 28 generations. We’re talking about a 300 year-old food forest. The owners are in their 80s. They look agile, fit, intelligent – relaxed.… Read more