Tuesday, June 19, 2007

permaculture gardening

i somehow failed to mention that on saturday i began this great transition in my life with a permaculture gardening class with herbalist kathleen maier at sacred plant traditions. i've been wanting to take a class with kathleen since i moved here, and am so happy that it finally happened and at just the right time. she's awesome and is running an incredible school.

it was a terrific day of drinking nettle lemon grass tea and hanging out with people that get really excited about plants. we talked about the various herbs in kathleen's gardens, went over some of the principles of permaculture, talked a fair amount about protection of waterways, and learned how to sheet mulch. we gained hands on sheet mulching experience, as displayed here:

it looks a little like a bear skin, doesn't it?

sheet mulching is a great way to prepare a garden bed. did you know tilling breaks up the mineral content of the soil and simply doesn't make the most of what is at hand? i've held off on so many gardening projects because i think that i need to go rent a tiller and just can't seem to take the step. now i know, sheet mulching is the way. the ingredients are card board or newspaper, compost and mulch or straw. you should lay it all down several months in advance and eventually you will have a deep soft rich bed of soil, ready for planting. it's easy!!!! but it takes some planning ahead.

dan and i did something like sheet mulching in our hammock area last year. but we weren't really trying to prepare a garden bed, we were just trying to clear the area of poison ivy and scrub. we layed down newspaper, covered it with dead leaves and then eventually poured on mulch. it worked pretty well. but dead leaves take a long time to decompose, so aren't exactly expedient when trying to prepare a garden bed.

it was such a peaceful day and i met many nice people. i am so grateful.

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