Beginning Steps


The wrapper is off the Permaculture Design Course Diploma. I have studied my gardens and decided how to go about the conversion. I am in zone 7b. There are two gardens. We will start with the upper garden.

The upper garden : 30 years ago this was an abandoned power easement. Nice open sunny space. I made raised beds with railroad ties and made hard paths out of some used brick. It has been a great garden area. Over the years, I have had trees cut back several times. However, the trees around it are now too numerous and too big. This garden only gets 3 – 4 hours of sun in the summer. Not enough  for a productive vegetable garden. However, it will be OK for some perennial plantings, like blueberries and blackberries that naturally live at the edge of the woods. Also, here in the hot humid South, I can add artichokes and rhubarb. I have both of those growing in that area. They need the shade to survive here.  I might even move my asparagus out of the upper, upper part of that garden to get more of the sun. It does not like all day hot sun. And I can add some herbs and beneficial plants that also like some relief from the sun.

STEP ONE – super mulch the existing beds. First with newspaper or cardboard and then wood chips. I have 4 piles of wood chips of different ages from the power company. Just have to use my pitch fork and trusty garden cart to move them up the incline.

My wonderful old garden cart, a old and strong pitch fork and a 3 year old mulch pile of wood chips.

Since this garden is on a slope, I need to create some mini swales to catch the run off and soak it in. So I am removing the upper railroad ties and digging a trench to catch the water coming down the slope. I had replaced some of the old rotten railroad ties with concrete blocks, so that means moving concrete blocks also.( I am thinking of this as strength training!) What to do with the dirt and blocks?

The side garden has a solution for that. It is on the West side of the house and gets more sun. However, there is severe hardpan 6 inches down. And it is also on a slope.The solution is for a series of really raised beds down the slope with mini swales in between for paths. Enter the concrete blocks and the dirt removed from the trenches in the upper garden! I know what I am going to do, the final plan is not quite complete. I need to incorporate the mini food forest and chickens. I had chickens in the upper garden for years until a fox and raccoon ate them for dinner. A secure fence needs to be installed. We have lots of deer around here anyway. And that means removing the fence from the upper garden to the side garden.😁 remember eating an elephant!

LOTS OF WORK. It is late summer now, too hot and humid for humans out there. It requires getting up and out at 7:00AM. Haul some mulch, dig a trench, move some blocks for maybe 2 hours every other day. Wearing shorts, a tank top, sweat band and mosquito repellant.  Fall and Winter will come and lots can be done in the cooler weather.  By Spring everything may be ready.


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