Winter Gardening and Permaculture
I love the Farmer's Market. And I am grateful that here in Middle TN we have one year round. We get some cold winters but it only gets in to the teens in terms of temperature a few times and we don't get a lot of snow. I met some really cool people this week that own the Earth Advocates Research Farm in Summertown, TN about an hour from where I live. He told me about his business and gave me some tips for my garden as well. I am going to share with you what he told me as well as talk a bit about permaculture and what they are doing at his Farm.
Gardening in the Winter
First, he told me that here in Middle TN we can keep gardening all the way through the winter! He says that they get something almost every week out of their garden all year round. They only have to cover the beds with a protective cover a few times when the temps to into the teens, but other than that if you plant the right things, your garden will still produce all winter. A few of the plants that are capable of producing in winter are broccoli, cabbage, onions, even spinach! At this point you want to start with started plants though and not sends, it is too late for seeds but he says if you plant starters now you will still get crops this winter.
An Easy to Make Garden Bed
I told him I needed to rebuild my beds. Our yard is sloped so I have to do beds, and the wood has been there a long time and is rotting out. It is pretty bad. I was going to just wait until spring and not do anything for my fall garden but he gave me an idea! He said to get those cement blocks from the hardware store, Lowes or Home Depot, and line my garden beds with those. This way you can even plant in the holes too! You do want to take the time to level the ground they are on but other than that it is just placing them next to each other and making a box. Very cool idea!
At his farm they are doing "Ethnobotanical Research and trials of unusual, reliable, neglect-tolerant Permacutlture plants for middle TN." They then will sell the plants as well. I bought some Oregano and Apple Mint from them that I just love. My mom recently did a Permaculture certification so I was introduced to this several months ago and am just fascinated by it. If you don't know what Permaculture is here is the Wikipedia definition:
"Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.["
I will have a lot more to say on this topic in the coming months as I think as artists this is very important for us. Permaculture has the potential to be something that the world can embrace if we can make it just as appealing as its non-sustainable alternatives. I think creativity is a key factor in that. The Earth needs our creativity in caring for it so I encourage you to research more on your own if you are interested or stay tuned for more of my own thoughts!