Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Permaculture is the future

Aghhhh...... One of the down sides of multi tasking for a living looking after a sweet little white thingthat has been barking all night as she has just come into season. Having fallen asleep with Ben Laws "Woodland Year", my thoughts turned to shooting it and preparing a grey squirrel casserole after listening to the mini cayote chorus for several hours. Good job a) I am a vegetarian b) my shotgun would have made a mess of the living room c) It might have woken the rest of the household and d) I guess we wouldn't get paid if we handed back a frozen tin foil freezer pack of Lilly -o - vin rouge, and e) I have never shot a dog before, once did a wood pidgeon when I was 12 but hey, the career stopped there.  Still felt like shooting it just to wake the family - how dare they sleep with this insane doggy disco going on.
Well, I paid the price, bad gout in my left ankle and no pills left, and a hang over (option f) which I tried was drinking with the dog. Bloody lightweight, had to finish the bottle of cooking sherry myself.

Multi layer planting in my raised bed. Espaliered Nectarines, Tall chilli peppers, lower red cabbage and strawberries in hanging baskets, as well as a bit of colour with a perrenial Chrysanthamum.  

In my small garden at the moment, I have ready to eat:-

Vine tomatoes (in greenhouse)
Potatoes (blighted by heavy frost but tasty)
Lettuce (outside!)
Nabo (Portuguese parsnip)
Leeks (by the ton, so easy to grow)
Jerusalem artichoke (can dig up all winter if I remember where they are)
Spring onions
Chilli peppers and lots of herbs
Strawberry guava

All the trees are underplanted with vegetables, I plant what the locals sell in the market. I also follow simple biodynamic timing - if you want to know, buy the "Borde de agua" in any Portuguese newsagent.

Now this is the important bit, I am really bad at growing vegetables, I blink the bugs get them, take a day off, they die of thirst and get mildew, blight and aids. But if I can produce some of my diet, then you all can.
On Sunday I got more cauliflower and brocolli seedlings and it struck me that each week I have to plant enough seed or seedlings to produce a weeks worth of food, if I don't we will starve.
I have planted about twenty five more fruit trees this winter, bringing the total to forty odd, more vines for edible fruit, and scattered seed anywhere it will take - especially against walls, at the bottom of fences. If weeds blow in and grow in these places so will my plants!

Vine tomatoes in my home made green house, Mango in the middle , onions and lettuce at ground level.

Constant soil improvement is essential. Grapefruit, Nabo, second year Broccoli and a few young onions surround the trunk. Since I have to water the Grapefruit, everything else gets watered at the same time. Symbosis my dear Watson!!

 My first volunteer of the year, Stephen arrives today. He sounds interesting, qualified architect and last year cycled across the states. New York to Portland. Lets hope he can mix some lime, build a roof, cut some coppice and design my outside kitchen. Oh yes, I wonder if he can cook a little dog as well.........

And finally folks, an ode from Mr Bush. Happy retirement Dubya

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