Sunday, March 22, 2009

Big Steps

Long time no blog, eh? I don't remember the last time I actually sat down and typed something, rather than quoting and linking for a quickie post.

In addition to the Urban Renewal Think Tank, my favorite new internet forums are Midwest Permaculture's very own Ning. They're inviting graduates of their permaculture courses to join, and members of the public can sign up, post, and discuss on the public parts of the network. So, come on by, read, participate. Both sites are just way cool, and very positive in tone and outlook. We all want to know WHAT WORKS. And we just love the folks who run Midwest Permaculture.

Last weekend, we got some significant progress made in the ol' garden of zomba, and I blogged about it on my new ning profile, but it's hard to find the blog through all the profile and recent comments and whatnot. So I'm reposting here, where people are more likely to see it.

From Monday, March 16:

Big Steps

The past few weeks Carey and I have been working on a pathway design for our garden, to be more interesting and functional than the typical rows of 4-foot-wide beds. I went through a long series of doodles, starting with a mandala design, trying out other patterns (e.g. branching spirals), taking breaks, indulging inspiration, and referring to the Designer's Manual and Edible Forest Gardens. Eventually I arrived at what now seems obvious, what EFG calls "rootlike" path design. This would be a dendritic pattern where one can easily head toward any part of the garden from the main entrance. The main throughway path is a bit wider than the branches; we'll see how it plays out in practice, if I need more or less room to get down there and pluck edible weeds.

On the ground, we took old cardboard that we had been saving for sheet mulch or worm food, and laid it out on soon-to-be paths, to get a better idea of the spacing of everything, and a feel for how it feels to walk these paths. It feels good. More recently, I went out with a tape measure to make sure beds are double-reach (4 feet), and gave the design a few last little tweaks.

Yesterday, it was a spectacular early spring day, and we got out there and did a lot. We built up a bed from a compost pile that turned out to be on a main path. We had a lot of bark on the ground and in piles, from the downed trees of a few years ago; this I spread onto the cardboard paths to replace the bricks that were holding them in place. The bark is no fun for bare feet, but it's a resource at hand so we're using it. We moved some surprise lilies that also turned out to be in the way of a path. I harvested some bricks from a defunct firepit, moving them to line a bed of day lilies by the street so folks won't walk on them so much (like I was doing the other day).

Friends came over and dug up roots from a future bed, played with our daughter, contributed to the new compost pile, played music, chatted, shared bread and wine, the usual good times--our Sunday "unchurch" routine.

Someday I'd like to post a few scans of garden design doodles, and pics of the progress, but now I have errands to run and dishes to do. I look forward to getting on my bike today, even though certain sets of muscles are still sore from yesterday. It's already beautiful out--why am I sitting here staring at the screen?!

Today, then, was another Sunday, with visiting, food, good times, and more projects getting done. I'll leave it to Carey to fill y'all in about that.

It rained today--was supposed to be "partly cloudy" but we got a nice long gentle rain. I'm SO happy for all the little plants, which will just be popping out even more insanely now. Happy happy happy. The million little seedlings under the elm smell like garlic mustard--I guess we didn't overeat it last year, after all. I think we'll enjoy trying to keep up with it this spring, it'll need serious thinning!

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