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

One-year-old willow cuttings

Rooted willow cuttings

A year ago, I rooted these willow cuttings by the simple method of poking the dormant sticks into the ground in a damp spot. I semi-mulched them with a couple of sheets of cardboard...then I ignored them for the next twelve months.

A few of the cuttings perished. The biggest danger to baby willows is apparently the lawnmower, closely followed by dropping large mushroom logs on top of their tender shoots. Goats nibbled on the leaves too, but that didn't seem to be as much of a problem.

Now the best-looking cuttings are blooming and all of the survivors are staring to leaf out. I snipped all of the side branches so the bushes can start focusing on upward growth. Soon we'll be in the training stage where I can start weaving my living-tree sculpture!

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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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