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

56 years of garden innovations

Berry netting

I wrangled a tour of a 56-year-old garden this week --- such a treat! Shown here is bird netting atop the berry patch, which easily slides into place each season due to applesauce jugs on top of the posts.

Vole protection

Voles are a major issue in this good soil, which makes growing sweet potatoes a struggle. This gardener's solution? She drills lots of small holes in the bottom of big pots, sinks them in the ground, fills them with compost, then adds the sets.

Voles can't get in through the bottom or sides and the raised lip prevents them from running straight in the top. The result is tubers without nibbles --- a relief.

Mini quick hoop

My tour guide also developed her own version of quick hoops, these even quicker than mine since they're one structural piece and can be simply lifted off and set aside. For ultra-early tomatoes, she sets out a couple of plants under her covers and mitigates the temperature further with full jugs of water.

Bicycle wheel chicken tractor

The next innovation is on the chicken side of the property. A welder handy man made this two-part tractor easy to move with the addition of modified bicycle wheels.

Rolling woodbox

Meanwhile, a rolling wood bin keeps interior heating easy for older arms and backs.

Green frogs

"So what was your favorite part? Did any of it give you garden envy?" Mark asked when I got home.

The truth is, the only part of the tour that made me jealous was the darling water garden beside her screened-in summer kitchen. Now that my vegetable patch is smaller, maybe I have time for a little extracurricular gardening?

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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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Does she have success with putting netting ONLY over the top (not sides)? Brilliant idea to put jugs on top of the stakes - soooo much easier than stapling or tying the netting!!
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Sat May 11 12:39:53 2019
Rhonda --- Great question! The picture is a bit of an optical illusion, but the netting actually goes all the way down to the ground.
Comment by anna Sun May 12 15:44:24 2019
Is that a snake I seen coming toward the sweet potatoes?!
Comment by Tressa Mon May 13 13:37:04 2019

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