Gardening · Homesteading

Never Stop Chasing New Ideas

A few weeks back, a long-time permaculture instructor gave a free talk on the island. She has decades of experience, and why wouldn’t we want to explore it? It was enough that after attending the discussion, I attended the first two days of her 2-week long permaculture certification class. Taking the entire class wasn’t within my realm for now, but the first two days were where the basics of permaculture were opened up to us. She graciously opened it up to people wanting to take day one and day two before they delved into the deep part and started working on an actual site assessment to earn their certifications.

The biggest takeaway is that, intuitively, we have been practicing permaculture without realizing it on our land. We are repairing the forest, balancing nature, and filling our land with animals and pollinators. Even how we grow food reflects this. There is a huge difference between how we grew food in our last two homes and how we grow food on the land here. My goal has always been to have a food forest with many layers connected in their own way. When the land is bare and open, it is hard to envision it. Even in winter, it is hard to see. But as spring passes into early summer, watching it all come together, my happiness increases rapidly as the plants grow, covering everything.

Knowing we had been doing the right thing all along was a feeling of happiness. Allowing the land to practice rewilding in areas was positive. It was letting the land “garden” itself reclaiming how it should be naturally.

But it opened my eyes to what we could also be doing. And I came out very inspired.

The other huge takeaway for me was working with zones.

And I realized that for our land, we do have issues.

For a while, we had Zone 1 in the first two years here; as we opened up the land in Zone 2, I turned my back on Zone 1. Zone 1 needs so much love. It needs to be used more to have more “kitchen garden” space so that we can walk out and have food easily to harvest, which can be used within minutes of harvesting.

But it also made me realize that Zones 1 and 2 are disjointed. They need to be better connected.

Zone 2 sits 1-2 acres below our home, which is Zone 1. To walk there, one has to take the driveway. If the land is wet or hot, one is less likely to want to go down for extended periods. Walking outside the house and just being there is sustainable. Again, it opens the mind to think and dream of what we can do. We have plenty of Zone 3, 4, and 5. But we need more use of Zone 1. Be it a small greenhouse that encourages me to grow more citrus in winter and more raised beds out the doors to fanciful projects like an herbal spiral, I came out inspired to start planning.

Just dipping our toes into permaculture was well worth it.