We fenced off a large section of the pasture in front of the house for a large (90′ x 40′) vegetable garden. It is apparent that there was a garden in this location before as there’s already comfrey and wild onions volunteering throughout this area.
Our goal is to grow enough to reduce our grocery bill by one fourth. But so far, other than the garlic which I planted last fall, the seedlings are looking rather spindly. I am using this garden to test out some of the permaculture principles that I have been studying in my Central New Hampshire Permaculture book group.
We built a slanted deer fence since we live in a high pressure area. Before fencing the pasture, we saw deer most mornings wandering through the area. The fence is only 4′ high but is almost 4′ deep in order to confuse these depth perception challenged grazers.
This proved very successful and we had not penetration during the growing season. Over the winter, however, I unplugged the fence so that the horse pasture would get more juice. After that, the deer started climbing between the strands of fencing. Next year, I will take down the wire at the end of the season and allow them free access to the leftovers.
Instead of tilling the soil, I sheet mulched the planting areas with layers of newspaper, leaves, cardboard and mulch to kill off the existing grasses and weeds. I was able to prepare eight square beds in the fall and have added some keyhole shaped beds this spring. The keyhole layout is an experiment in trying to capture the sun’s warmth in a sun trap and maximize planting area by sheet mulching large areas (16′ by 16′) and weaving narrow keyhole-shaped access paths into the beds.
Permaculture focuses on “do nothing” gardening and perennials fit the bill since they require a little work up front but continue producing for years. We have incorporated asparagus, blueberries, strawberries, and horseradish in the Perennial Patch.
This growing method utilizes the nutrients and moisture stored in rotting wood as a foundation for growing food. I have created 5 Hugelkulture Potatoes Towers in an experiment to grow Red Norland, Kennebec, Yukon Gold, Reba and Carola varieties. I planted a total of twenty pounds of seed potatoes and am hoping to harvest one hundred pounds of potatoes in the fall.
The layer chicks moved with us from Eliot and wintered in their luxury coop inside the barn. I have been turning them out into their summer cottage in the garden since the weather has turned warmer. These are working girls expected to earn their keep by turning over the soil and uprooting the weeds as they are rotated through each of the five garden zones.
For Christmas, Ron got me this cute little bee hive. My Nucs are on order and should be arriving the first week of June. I am trying to supply a rotation of blooming flowers and water to feed the bees throughout the season so they don’t have to travel too far. Right now the apple trees are providing the local bees with plenty of nectar. In this garden I have tall phlox, bluebells, forget-me-nots and lavender growing.