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

Seeking winter sun

Fall garden

My front-garden renovations are only about halfway complete, but I took a break this week to get the mule garden in order. I hadn't originally planned to do anything here except weed, mulch, and plant rye. But looking at the area with a critical eye made me realize that this zone could use some bed renovations as well.

Barn shadow

The mule garden is our sunniest winter spot, so I save it for spring and fall crops. But as you can see in the photo above, the beds closest to the barn don't get much morning sun at all in the off season. Meanwhile, the trellis you can barely see at the left side of this photo uses up prime sunny real estate. Looks like Kayla and I will be moving some dirt today from the shade to the sun!

Grazing goats

The new beds will be much appreciated since I've been slacking on my crop rotation in the mule garden. The trouble is that most of what I want to grow there is in the crucifer family, so I've been rotating species rather than families in an effort to squeeze everything in. As a result, diseases are starting to build up and make my fall crucifers much less vigorous. I'm eying the back garden as possible additional rotation area --- it's not quite as sunny in the dead of winter and the ground water is high between the beds, but a tiny bit more shade and harvesting in muck boots might be worth it to break those disease cycles and get our winter crops in order for next year.

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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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