This year started off with a cold snap event that followed a previous year of weather events. No question Mother Nature is in control. Protecting people, animals and water pipes were a priority. However, so was protecting sensitive plants and keeping the cold frames in place. If you have established a winter food plot, for yourself, family or animals (wild or domestic) don't let your efforts be affected by the freezing temperatures. A little protection goes a long way. Somethings to remember: do not use plastic if it will touch your plants, keep the covering supported off of the leaves. Use the stored heat of the earth by trapping it from the ground level. Using a simple gallon milk jug with the bottom cut off will help, as long as it does not touch the plants. It will keep those starts growing. Cloth tarps that are supported over the plants is a good defense, if you lack a hard structure, cold frame or green house. Below is a simple, inexpensive way to keep those winter greens coming!
This year the wild blackberries have been extremely prolific! We have collected at least 8 gallons ~ that is a lot of pickin'! Big, fat and juicy. A lot of rain, a lot of sun and a lot of berries.
These berries come with a cost however ~ we have plenty of scratches and thorns to prove it. It didn't seem to deter us from going back out again, and again.
Now the tough part - how do we use them? Jelly, jams, syrups, pies, wine - or straight into the mouth. I think we will try a little bit of everything.
Check out the newest video release about permaculture. We will be going point by point to provide insight into how you can take carefully planned steps to integrate permaculture into your homestead, farm or urban environment. Get creative! Download the layout sheets. (Be sure to get both of them off this site.) The element sheet is for each animal, plant or concept you want to include. The site sheet is for assembling all those pieces into your version of paradise.
Check out the video on http://www.tennessee-homestead.com/permaculture-homesteading-video-1/ feel free to send us an email to let us know how you are doing or ask us a question. Enjoy!
Don't forget to check out www.tennessee-homestead.com on a regular basis for information on getting back to basics. Make it a favorite!
Garden Gleanings, thank you for the question. Many people utilize an outside habitat for their worms. It is a good way to keep it low maintenance. You are correct that the worms basically will fend for themselves in extreme weather conditions. If it is chilly they ball up together, if it is hot they go deeper into the soil. Basically if you locate the site in a shady area, and provide enough moisture and food - they are your friends for life. Red wigglers, don't tend to have extended life expectancies in the yard, but I have spoken to people who have had them for years, so I think it is worth the try.
Please send any photos or ideas you can and we can try to avoid any unnecessary trial and error. There is a site you may want to review www.vermicomposters.com - lots of people there eager to share about - yes
While on a recent walk through the orchard I came upon my one and only pear tree. I started looking very closely, wondering "where are the pears?" I scoured the ground and the branches ~ not one could be found! As you can see by the photo there was no lack of them the very last time I looked. I had put some pelletized lime underneath the branches to balance the ph of the acidic soil. The tree was very responsive! There were 30-40 pears, and I was planning on a bountiful harvest. Well…. there was a harvest, but not by me. I was able to locate one overlooked pear, and that was the end of it. The deer in the area are better fed for it and fortunately the tree was no worse for wear. This time, it was first come, first served!
There is a world of fresh produce at your local farmers markets!
Be sure to seek out your local farmers markets. They are worth the trip and return healthy, nutritious food for your efforts. Supporting your local farmers is an investment in our own future.
You can find vegetables, home made breads, farm fresh eggs, milk, cheese, fruit and to make things even better - meet the producers. Use a trip to the market to make some friends, enlighten your awareness of what is involved in creating your food, and get outside and enjoy the summer weather. Let's go!!
Antrostomus carolinensis, while checking on the progress of the hazelnut bushes we had planted a couple of months ago, we came upon a small nocturnal creature, caught in a fence. Working quickly, we were able to untangle the precious creature and we thrilled to see it sore over the pasture and into the tree line. The sound they make at night calling back and forth to each other is one of the sweetest sounds I know, pure magic.
Had a great time at the Master Gardener Show, Crossville, TN. www.ccmga.org. We got to meet a lot of new people, hear some great ideas and share ours. We had some requests for the design layout to be posted on line. So please check it out! A design takes a while to layout ~ but even a longer time to develop. A "good, functional, truly sustainable" sight is a long term, well thought out plan. It does not happen by chance, nor does it happen without the input of many knowledgable people. Permaculture people are just plain "share-happy". We met over 500 people at the event. We had fun sharing our story during our presentation and we were eager to share answers with the questions presented to us. The weather was great on Saturday and Sunday, but the company was great always. The Master Gardener group took care of us as vendors looking out for us with food, drink and comfort.
Viola papilionacea - pansy / wild violet
When you do a visual checklist of your garden, you can appreciate all your efforts and the beauty and value of Mother Nature. What is in your garden that you don’t see? Underground, there is a whole additional world going on. There are billions to hundreds of billions of soil microorganisms in a mere handful of a typical, garden soil. That single handful might well contain thousands of different species of bacteria (most of whom have yet to be classified), hundreds of different species of fungi and protozoa, dozens of different species of nematodes plus a goodly assortment of various mites and other micro arthropods. Almost all of these countless soil organisms are not only beneficial, but essential to the life giving properties of soil. The “no till” version of gardening and agriculture has evolved with respect to not only the value of labor reduction, but with respect to the interaction and intense infrastructure of the inhabitants underground. So, the next time you are in your garden, tread lightly!
Diane C. Morey
Making our environment,