Sunday, February 10, 2013

Second Time Around

though we had the space to garden three seasons in a row, 2012 was only the second year for the urban permaculture test patch. year one was but a sorry attempt at 'conventional gardening', which was overtaken by pests and rot. we had so much to learn... the next year was much more bountiful, where we employed some permaculture tactics in our garden.

the addition of on site composting and water barrel were two key components, as well as using a 'living mulch', in our case white clover. not only does clover fix nitrogen into the soil, but it keeps the surface of the garden shaded from the hot sun thus retaining moisture for the surrounding plants.

for the first year of the test patch we chose as many perennial species as we could incorporate into the garden, augmented with our annuals. we also did as much companion planting as we could, and tried to position plants to help one another get the sun/shade/moisture they need.

the herbs that came around for year two included the evergreen rosemary, sage, basil, summer savoury, oregano, mint, catnip and lemongrass. we also had planted raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, which we were pleased to see some fruit appear on in year two. the chives exploded the second time around, the lavender flowers smelled amazing, and i was surprised to see that the red lettuce and chamomile went to seed and came back dispersed together amongst the clover. also, from the very first garden year we had some grape and cherry tomatoes reappear along the garage where the original plants were tossed in the woodpile.

i'm grateful for the opportunity to see a garden in it's second year to see how well things weathered the winter, and with little care and pre-winter maintenance. i may not have much space to garden in this coming season, so i hope to find some other places to plant including other people's yards, balconies and some small guerrilla plots around the neighbourhood. seeing what types of things naturalize easily and which survived with little care will help me choose what to plant in plots that are further away, and what types of microclimates they thrive in.

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