Saving Seeds.

Around this time of year many communities now celebrate Seedy Saturday a local exchange of seeds collected by backyard gardeners and small scale farmers. Only a few short years ago I remember Seed Saturday being a tiny gathering that likely meant a long day cooped up in some tiny community hall (the packing house in my hometown) with grandmothers who gardened to save on the grocery bill before it was the ‘in’ thing to do. Today it’s a highly publicized, busy event that hosts workshops, demonstrations and seeds from all sorts of people.

It is encouraging to say the least. Sort of. Continue reading Saving Seeds.

Apricots and Raspberries

We are still picking raspberries. My God. Still. I need a scale to weigh just how many kilos of raspberries we’ve picked. A bloody lot. Raspberries, berries in general do not travel well and by the time the bucket is full and the berries are rinsed they are pretty much mush. Which makes good fruit leather and that is what we have been making.
Note to self: Wax paper is not a good substitute for a fruit leather tray in the dehydrator.
Second note to self: purchase additional fruit leather trays.
Continue reading Apricots and Raspberries

Concerning Cows

I now know why cattle farmers never seem to particularly ‘like’ cows. It always struck me as odd that you would be engaged with an animal every day and seem to have no attachment to it. But now I get it. I don’t like cows. They are dumb and difficult.

Recently up at our practice farm a bull was dropped off. The intention being that he would breed with our milking cow so that we get a calf and milk next year. This was the thought and intention. The bull however within 10 minutes of unloading him had taken out about 6 of our fences and didn’t show any signs of stopping. Continue reading Concerning Cows

Thought for Food

This is an excerpt from a very good book that anyone who cares about their food ought to give a read:

“Can you think of any sector of our culture that promotes its wares with a slogan like ‘we pile it high and sell it cheap’? Any other sector of our economy would commit suicide with such a slogan…except for food. Why is that? I submit that we as a culture completely disrespect the 3 trillion critter in our digestive tract that cry out for quality of life while we cram quantity of junk down their collective gullet.
Continue reading Thought for Food

“Permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening”

I will admit to not being much of a gardener. Honestly my problem is seedlings. The transplanting of this delicate little baby plant into the earth where it is left in the open to the elements and susceptible to drying out, drowning or any other random event is just not my cup of tea. So I am not lying when I say that my approach to gardening has always kind of been stick a whole bunch of seeds in the earth somewhere that looks like something might grow and see what happens. I’ve had success and failure but never really put much stock or science into it.

The other day someone asked me, ‘Have you heard of permaculture?’ I answered a quick yes and then they asked, ‘Do you know what it is?’ This was a very powerful question because I had to answer, no not really. And oh my goodness has my world been turned upside down. All of the pieces are finally fitting. When I was looking around my city and thinking this is crazy there must be something better we can be doing, there was. There is.

There is a man named Masanobu Fukuoka who saw this clearly. There have been others as well. Bill Mollison for one he wrote the book on permaculture, literally.  And then there is David Holmgren as student of Mollison’s who has visited food forests around the world and worked to create some of the most unbelievable permanent gardens in some of the driest areas of the world. They are nothing short of oasis. All of this is happening and has been for a while now but the word ‘permaculture’ is still not one that many gardeners or ecologists or the like are familiar with.

While the worlds problems grow more and more complex the solutions are surprisingly simple. It is up to us to take the world back from the point of no return. Nature did not do this we did and nature cannot repair it but we can.

And the best part is it is MY kind of gardening. This makes sense to me in a way that planting a row of carrots never did. So that is a little bit of what I have been up to. The wheels are always turning the trick to to make them stay on the path.

If you are looking to learn more there is tons of info out there this is a good place to start: http://www.permacultureprinciples.com