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

Summer solstice 2015

Butternut squash

Sometimes I get so engrossed in the minutiae of homesteading that I forget to share the big picture. So here's a disjointed post with a few photos of last week's triumphs. Above --- the forest garden weeded and mulched, with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash thriving.

Baby seckel pears

Summer pruning completed...and three baby seckel pears discovered amid the foliage! I guess that late frost didn't get quite all the blooms (although it did twist the developing fruits a little).

Young hazelnuts

Another happy surprise --- our hazel bush is completely loaded! The only troubling fact? For the first time ever, squirrels entered our yard last year, as evidenced by the dozens of walnut seedlings I've been pulling out of various parts of the garden this spring. Will the tree rats get our delicious nuts?

Young carrot

In the vegetable garden, we're starting to hit the stage where there's so much produce that the freezer and larder are slowly filling back up. The newcomer this week is baby carrots, which I pull out to thin the beds. Nothing like carrots to remind me of how much our soil has improved over the last nine years!

I hope you'll take a step back from frowning at the weeds and pests today to enjoy the beauty of summer. Now's a great time to take pictures so green they'll make your eyes pop in January. Happy solstice!

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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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straw has been in such short supply here that I have been unable to mulch areas of the garden. so i am a little envious of all that nice mulch. but glad to see not all the pears were lost.
Comment by deb Mon Jun 22 04:40:53 2015

Anna- I know it doesn't really correspond to the substance of this post, but we have been gifted with several heirloom apple and hazelnut trees that should arrive from the Arbor Day Foundation this winter. I was wondering if you innoculated your food forest trees with mycorrhizal Fungi before planting, and if so, did you see any difference in the vibrance of the trees afterwards?

Many thanks! Karen B.

Comment by Karen B Tue Jun 23 21:16:44 2015
Karen --- Good question! I haven't inoculated anything with mycorrhizal fungi, but we live within a stone's throw of the woods and I apply forest-harvested tree leaves as mulch quite a bit. I'm pretty confident that between spores and bits of mycelium carried in with the leaves, our homestead gets colonized pretty quickly since I see lots of fungi in my mulches. If I lived in an urban location with few wild areas nearby, I'd be far more likely to inoculate.
Comment by anna Wed Jun 24 06:46:36 2015

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