1. Well, that was that! Nothing else really to say about the garden back in the States right now. We’ve got plenty of seeds on the way to fill in spaces, we have certain plants on our chop and drop list that need to be curtailed, and we also have our eye on adding paw paws, elderberries, and mulberries this year to begin our shrub layer in earnest.

     
  2. 28.12.2013

    Into the old four sisters guild, which was a bit more wild and largely dominated again by red clover and alfalfa until the desolation. 

    One thing about lining the pathways with guides is that it allows people to visualize and estimate the amount of work that needs to be done. If there is a plan with the patches laid out, lots of times we (humans) enjoy ticking things off the list. Without the guides, without breaking these areas down into manageable parts, the idea of working can sometimes get overwhelming.

     
  3. 28.12.2013

    The old nightshade guild that transitioned to perennial herbs with soil building with red clover and alfalfa. As I said before, those legumes were eradicated by the ground hog. But the oregano, lemon balm, parsley (even!), two types of bee balm (Monarda spp), French sorrel, and others survived.

     
  4. 28.12.2013

    Some photos from the old green guild where we typically grow a lot of shade-tolerant plants. The white clover appears to have fallen victim to the ground hog as well… once so lush now rather sparse. Even the dandelions aren’t as plentiful. However, the soil still writhes with worms and it appears that some wasps have taken up residence in a chop and dropped red maple sapling.

     
  5. 28.12.2013

    Last photos from the garden before flying back to Finland. Also a good time to photograph due to being near the winter solstice (Check out how far the house casts a shadow!)

     
  6. 23.12.2013

    Continued set from last night. This is our highest erosion area and looks like it could use some bolstering through more steps (3rd photo).

     
  7. 23.12.2013

    Another storm came through the following day. Not so much water harvesting anymore :( Off the top of my head, given 60% efficiency, over 12000 gallons of water will run through the back yard if we receive an inch (which we had more than an inch between two days). Hard to capture all of that when you have 1/2 of the space the rain falls on to begin with (neighbors property just sheds water like no tomorrow).

     
  8. 22.12.2013 

    More water harvesting. You can see from the last two photos just how fast the water came. The second swale is about 35 feet long (10m) and about 2 feet deep (60 cm). It begins almost empty and an hour and 12 minutes later (I had the camera on time lapse), the swale is full to the overflow pipe (on right with stone holding it down). 

     
  9. 22.12.2013

    Photos of water harvesting. Towards the end of my trip we had quite a few rain events and I wanted to take some photos of the swales and “zai” pits. I think the photos of the zai pits (last two) are hard to distinguish, unless you catch them just when they fill up you won’t be able to tell anything is there (because they are full of mulch). 

    The pits work very well, I need to dig more the next time I get to travel to the States. As you can see from the second photo, the neighbors yard just dumps water into our property like no tomorrow and the swales, since they cannot go all along the contour of the bowl, don’t catch everything. So thats where these 30-50 gallon pits filled with mulch come in handy along the fence line: cheap, simple, and effective buffers to slow, catch, and sink rainwater.

     
  10. 5.12.2013

    Almost forgot the strawberries.

     
  11. 18.12.2013

    Unidentified pair of birds scouting out the garden. Unfortunately, we don’t have any winter crops going well so they won’t have a nice treat come early spring; but we do have plenty of seeds that will be sown starting late Feb.

    Next are the goldfish in the large pond, enjoying the warm days while they last!

    Strange tree would be a black locust, readily identifiable by the pods and upon further inspection you can see the thorns. That black locust is growing along the fence to the interstate.

    Then we have a happening patch along the second swale with big old comfrey, French garden sorrel, and other nice hardy plants doing there thing with extra water from the swale.

    Lastly is a photo of the weeping willow and red maple, you can see the pathways have been set aside with jute twine and bamboo stakes (originally harvested back early 2011)

     
  12. 4.12.2013

    After a week or so of clearing out grasses and setting up nice boundaries for the beds, the garden continues to grow slowly. 

     
  13. 27.11.2013

    Besides having most of our cover crop eaten alive by the groundhog, seems that the garden is still accumulating plenty of biomass and nothing stops comfrey :p

    Can’t wait until we have a shrub layer added, should be this year…

     
  14. 27.11.2013

    Closer up photos from the garden. Russian comfrey, sorrels, grasses, yarrrow- all still moving along fantastically during the autumn. Even as early as October I think I remember they had freezing temps, so these are the true survivors in that situation. Still a lot of others coming along too, such as our old favorites henbit, dead nettle, and chickweed making up the cold weather “weed trio” loathed my many.

     
  15. 27.11.2013 A Victory Garden in Fall

    So I haven’t updated this blog since I moved to Finland over a year and a half ago. My wife and I were able to fly to the States for Thanksgiving and Christmas this past year and I took some photographs of the garden.

    Unlike most of the other fall seasons, this past 2013’s autumn got cold quickly! So there isn’t as much going on as usual, but I thought I’d put up some photos.

    These first will be from before I began clearing out some of the grass and doing some work to assess where we are in the project.

    Although it looks messy, the fundamentals are still there. Very well hydrated soil from the swales and organic matter accumulation along with the continued thriving of our dynamic accumulator plants.

    The only real sad thing to report is that our very nice patches of red clover and alfalfa were decimated by the groundhog who moved in this past summer. I only found a few crowns of each, when the whole garden had been covered in the plants back in 2012. Still, the garden moves forward in an accumulation phase (of nutrients, niches, and inhabitants!).

    Lastly, I was able to get a new camera for Christmas :D so that means my trusty Pentax K-7 is now in the hands of my parents along with a very nice 18-135mm weather resistant lens. Which translates to……. more photos! 

    Anyway, this photo is a terribly stitched panorama of the garden before I began doing any work. I don’t have a real pano head on my tripod so there are quite a few optical errors. However, this isn’t mean to be art so I didn’t even bother trying to feather the layers or anything. Just wanted to give an ultra wide perspective for you all.

    PS- I’ll be adding all the photos I want to share from late November through the end of December, then it is back to 60npermaculture.tumblr.com for me until I am emailed new photos from the garden.