The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Permaculture obsession

The back garden

As long as I can remember, I've hopped from obsession to obsession --- Robin Hood, water gardening, identifying native plants.  This year's obsessions are permaculture and forest gardening, topics that will probably take me decades to truly mull over.  In the last year, we have started two forest gardens around young fruit trees in the yard and a more traditional forest garden in existing young woods, all of which are in early stages.

One of the biggest things I've learned about permaculture is that comfrey is unstoppable.  We started off the year with one large, two-year old plant.  All summer, I hacked off pieces and spread them around our new forest gardens.  Now we have dozens of thriving comfrey plants that don't seem to mind being mown to the ground once a week.

I'm also starting to feel the homestead turn into a closed food web. 
Mulching with grass clippings has turned our grassy areas into working elements of the forest garden.  Nitrogen flows from chickens to grass to my garden beds, and I get pure joy out of seeing my plants thrive.  Meanwhile, our honeybees pollinate garden plants and will eventually feed us honey.  Around and around the permaculture wheel rolls.

This post is part of our Third Year of Homesteading lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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