Living Simply

I think of myself and my husband as living a simple life. We can’t really have a farmstead or homestead like many strive for today. However, we do try to be self sustaining as much as possible. One of the ways we do this is by growing a lot of our own food in our garden and green house. We also prepare almost everything we eat. We make bread weekly, can and freeze as much as we can during harvest and eat out rarely.

I thought my readers might be interested in some of the things that we are doing this year to improve our garden and how we are increasing our ability to produce food.

First lets talk about something that my husband discovered via my daughter. It’s called Hugelkultur, you can read more about it here: He fell in love with the idea and decided to incorporate it into our garden beds. Living in the Pacific NW in the Willamette Valley we deal with drastic changes in our weather from season to season. In the winter we are bombarded with excess amounts of rain but in the summer we deal with drought. Hugelkultur appears to be a great way to deal with this kind of weather. Basically you bury wood in the earth and create mounds of soil on top of it. Then you plant in the mounds. The wood absorbs water and leaches it out into the soil as it’s needed; as the wood breaks down it feeds the soil with nutrients creating a full circle of life in the earth. Below are pictures of us incorporating it into the current beds we have. As we create new ones we will incorporate it into them as well. Not in the greenhouse tho, I don’t think it will work in ours.

First we pulled back the soil

Then we layed down the wood. Next we covered the wood with the soil. Later we are going to extend the height of the sides.

One of the other things we are doing is expanding our ability to grow food in unusual ways taking it beyond permaculture. For instance when choosing flowers for my patio pots this year I went with edible flowers and herbs. I planted mint with nasturtiums and panzys, basil with violets and red clover and salvia made up the base of another pot. In an old bed in my front yard that has new found sun exposure I will be planting winter squash this summer and I added some strawberry plants to another bed which I have never done before because I didn’t really use the front yard for food.

Something else we are doing is growing food inside. I always do starts inside under grow lights and on a warming mat. But now I am growing herbs on shelves in our living room window and regrowing hydroponic butter head lettuce after we use it. I cut the head off of the root base then place it back in the container with a little bit of water and a shot of liquid fertilizer. I close it and place it in a sunny window and watch it grow back. Below are pictures of three heads that I have going. at different stages.

Stage 1
Stage 2

I hope you learn something from our ideas. My husband and I enjoy passing on information that we learn about, hoping it will enrich peoples lives like it has ours.

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