Creating no dig garden beds where they are convenient for me to tend.

I’ve been cooking, canning and gardening for almost two decades now, but I’m still a virgin homesteader, learning and sharing what I have learned. I used to have a partner in my efforts, but not anymore. I also used to feel fettered by criticism and ridicule. Now I am free to succeed or fail on my own, which is another way to say learn as I do.

Everything I previously said about this website is still true, but my future content will lean more toward poetry, with a sprinkling of recipes. Perhaps one day those bedmates might occupy a spot on your bookshelf. Simply put, I believe that’s my niche in the vast web of sites, channels, podcasts, etc. that are available to anyone interested. I visit many of these places myself and admire the people who have such informative blogs and shows.  I have no motivation to compete with, replace, or even add to the virtually infinite information already available to guide you through every step of anything you might want to try for the first time. But I do want to share my awe with you, my moments of gratitude, and some of my favorite dishes. Sometimes I get enthusiastic about taking pictures, especially in spring, or because it’s another way to preserve beautiful food that disappears so quickly after it is prepared… I mostly share those photos on Instagram.

FIlled in with logs, leaves, and compost on top…

I’m about to be divorced. In another couple of years my last two children will have left the nest.  Neither one is particularly interested in gardening, even if they are willing enough to help with shoveling dirt and other heavy jobs. Ever since I took charge of the homestead I have been thinking about how to continue without overloading myself.

The start of a no-dig corn bed.

In the last few weeks I have been pushing my physical boundaries to make new garden beds, but that is a finite project. I used to rely on my husband to till, fertilize, plant and water our largest vegetable garden. It was at the bottom of a steep hill. He grew the tomatoes, corn, okra, cabbages, the volume crops, essentially. In dry weather he would drag down an incredibly long hose and water the garden with an overhead sprinkler, moving it around to three or four different locations. My home is at the top of that hill.  I used to admire him from up there as he tilled, but tilling is not for me. Ditto on dragging a long hose up and down a steep hill. Since I am surrounded by woods on all sides, I am in a perfect position to do permaculture gardening; so that is what I have decided to do. I am doing it conveniently close to my house, my faucet (which I shouldn’t need much after the first year,) and the compost pile…

Three rows of corn sowed. Later on I’ll put in some pole beans and squash. I’m trying out the three sisters thing passed on to us by Native Americans.

This is my first spring running things my way. I’m definitely a virgin, with some virgin permaculture beds.  I am creating the beds, mostly from old logs, as fast as I can. So far I have made them for tomatoes and corn, carrots and beets, and planted the seeds. I still need to make space for okra and cabbage mostly. To make it easier on me, I will probably wait to plant a fall crop of cabbage. I might even be able to put it in somewhere after I harvest something else. It’s all a bit of a jumble in my head right now. But, since we’re still in the middle of March, I’m in good shape to get most of the spring planting done by mid-April. I know next year I won’t have to do all this work if I do the right thing, right now. So, I’m going to finish making my nutritious, water-retaining beds very soon, with the expectation to be laid back with gratitude for my own efforts next spring. Not counting any eggs yet though….