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My new home

If you’re wondering whether I caught Coronavirus and died, no, I am alive and well. Back in March, I finished a job that I was doing for the school and started a week off from working when I realized that if I was going to make my move to the country, it might as well be now or it might be never. I called my son Jeremy (whose place was just two doors down from where my house was going to be and asked if I could stay with them until I could get settled. He and his wife agreed and I packed up and was on my way.

The details about the house will be for a later blog, but let me show you around the homestead and show you what I have been doing for the past almost 3 months.

The Flowering Trees

The first thing I did was plant my flowering trees along the road. I had received Hawthorn, crabapple, crape myrtle, Dogwood, and Redbud from The Arbor Day Foundation back in December, but hadn’t been able to plant them until late March. Four survived. I am not sure which trees they are yet. I’ll let you know later.

Main Garden

This is my main garden. It doesn’t look like much right now, but it is currently ongoing. I’ve planted corn, beans, winter and summer squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, swiss chard, dill, spring lettuce mix, and eggplant.

Spring/Perennial Garden

This is my spring/perennial garden. The garlic I had planted back in December, and then I started planting potatoes, strawberries, asparagus (grown from seed), cabbages, and onions back in March. I also transplanted perennial herbs–oregano, lemon mint, and thyme–grown from seed and transplanted. Later I planted yellow wax beans and cantaloupe and this garden is doing exceptionally well. I am primarily using a no till method here. I dug holes just enough to get the seeds, plants, or potatoes in the ground. I started mulching by using old grass that I raked up from around the yard. Then I took leaves and piled them on and now I am piling grass clippings around the plants. As you can see, the plants are really thriving.

Here’s another view of the same garden.

Future Chicken Pen

This is the future home of my chickens. I ordered 50 chicks that will be arriving early in July. More about them later.

Pond

This is our pond on the far end of the property. I haven’t done anything with it yet.

Sweet Potatoes

These are the sweet potatoes I planted. I took a hole and filled it in with good topsoil and planted them. They are growing quite slowly, but should really start taking off now that the temperatures are finally going up!

Mini Meadow

Here is my mini meadow (with peonies in the foreground). Sometimes the best things to do is nothing. The grass there is growing amazingly well, but the ground is so rocky and rutted that I can’t safely get the lawnmower in that part of the yard. I am not sure what I will do with this grass yet. Eventually I hope to have a couple goats, but I’ll need good fencing first.

There you have it, the beginnings of what will be my permaculture learning center. Right now I mostly have annuals planted, a few perennials and have started on the house. I have so much more to show you!

Simply Vegetable Gardening

With threatened food shortages on the horizon, it’s time to get serious about growing our own gardens again. I wrote Simply Vegetable Garden with the novice in mind. Click the link below to get your copy today!


Our island in the sky is trying to tell us something, are we listening?
Our island in the sky is trying to tell us something. Are we listening?

An Unseen Virus

Now we have the effects of Covid-19 which have been devastating to us humans. It has shut down all the things that modern society have until a few weeks ago took for granted as necessities in our lives. Our extracurricular activities are being put on hold. Even our education and our jobs are being curtailed as day by day the numbers increase.

“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”

Bill Mollison

One of the principles in permaculture is that the problem is part of the solution, especially when you’re dealing with nature. The reason that nature does what it does is to create that balance that we talking about. The answer to the problem of being able to deal with Covid-19 is in understanding what nature is trying to tell us.

With major upheaval in our lives almost on a daily basis right now, it seems to me as though nature is unleashing her fury on humankind to bring herself back into balance.

The unprecedented floods and wild fires weren’t enough to get our attention. Current economic policies haven’t helped matters, in fact, in many ways they have made it worse. In the quest for the almighty dollar, regulations have been lessened allowing for land to be stripped of its trees to make way intensive farming practices that strip the soil from the earth. Air regulations have been lessened so that industries can reduce the cost of pollution containment. The effects on nature however, have been positive in that in places like China and Italy where air pollution has been noticeably diminished. This virus however serves as only a warning.

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from Heaven and heal their land.”

I Chronicles 7:14

Our answer is in reconnecting with our creator and his creation. We were created to tend the garden called Earth. We were made from the dust of the earth. In the cool of the evening, God would come and commune with Adam as he tended the garden. My suggestion to all of us is for us to take time of quarantine to reconnect with nature and God. If there’s any way for you to get outside, plant a garden and talk to God. If you’re not able to because of the quarantine, take the time to learn about how to naturally tend the earth, then start after quarantine is lifted. Go to a park. Go to a local farm. Do something to reconnect with what God gave us. And pray. Prayer is just talking with our creator.

What I am Doing

I am not just suggesting something that I wouldn’t do. The area where I live hasn’t been impacted much yet so I am taking this narrow window that I still have to get out to my property in the country so that I can start my gardens. Today I am packing up and tomorrow actually moving to what will be The Jerjoboch Permaculture Learning Center.

Please, even if you can’t get out, take the time to read my gardening book.

AND PLEASE STAY SAFE


This was a Garden I had several years ago. This year, it will be even better!

Have you been thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this year, but aren’t sure whether it is worth it to you? Here are ten good reasons to vegetable garden.

Better Tasting vegetables

If you have never grown tomatoes in your own garden and eaten one right after picking, you don’t know how good a tomato can taste. There’s nothing like eating a tomato fresh off the vine, unless it’s corn on the cob eaten at the peak of ripeness within fifteen minutes of picking. When my siblings and I were growing up, we all enjoyed vegetables and I think part of the reason for that was that our mom had a vegetable garden.

Healthier vegetables

I have always grown my vegetables by improving the soil using organic methods. I’ll never forget the time when a few years back we were selling our place and I was showing a perspective buyer my garden. He couldn’t believe that my garden soil had been produced there on site using nothing more than homemade compost, sawdust from a local sawmill and leaves for mulch, and a little kelp thrown into the tomato planting holes. Healthier soils make for healthier plants which make for healthier vegetables which makes for a healthier you.

Less expensive for higher quality vegetables

Organic vegetables are great, but let’s face it, they cost more than “conventionally grown” vegetables. When you grow your own vegetables, especially if you work your garden by hand, you’ll discover that you can grow your own for a lot less. Take for instance, spinach. A package of spinach costs about $5 or more and may last about a week. However, if you were to grow your own, that same $5 could be spent on a package of spinach seed which could last you all summer. If you learn how to save seeds, a package of an heirloom squash or cucumber seeds (which is easy to save) can last indefinitely.

Fresh air and sunshine

Nothing beats getting out in the garden for providing fresh air and sunshine. Get out in the garden in the morning or in the evening rather than midday. You get the benefits of vitamin D without the skin damage.

Physical Exercise

Hand working your garden is better for your health than using mechanical devices. The bending and stretching of hand working your garden provides a workout that pays. Not only do you get a workout, but you get fresh vegetables in the process.

Mental Rest

The gentle labors of working in my garden allow me to allow my mind to wander. I don’t feel pressed to stress over issues in live, but I can mull over my thoughts and discover solutions to problems that might not be as readily accessed when I am anxious about finding an answer.

Immunity

As already stated, healthy soil creates healthy microbes and healthy microbes produce healthy plants which produce healthy animals and humans. Understanding what produces healthy soil promotes immunities in plants which is passed on to their animal consumers. Which, in turn, produce healthier wastes that promote healthy soil and the cycle continues improving immunity throughout the ecosystem.

Immunity can be found in the heat of compost just as it is in the fever of a human. Microbes are attracted to decomposing vegetation and manures and their consuming of those nutrients releases the calories which produce heat. The heat neutralizes disease causing microbes and even weed seeds and turns what was waste products into nutrition that eventually plants can utilize.

In humans the heat of a fever also kills off disease causing microbes from parasites to bacteria to viruses. Fortunately, under normal circumstances disease causing microbes are more susceptible to the heat than their human hosts.

In both processes helpful microbes feed off the disease causing ones and remain in the soil providing synergy with the host that strengths both the helpful microbes as well as human immunity.

Spiritual Connection

I sense a spiritual connection with the ecosystem, the universe, and even the creator of the universe when I am gardening. The wonders of God’s creation are obvious to me as I go about the gardening chores. I am in awe of the natural processes that I wouldn’t see if I bought my vegetables at the grocery or even the farmer’s market. As I labor in the garden, I become part of the circle of life. I am one with nature and the creator of all.Social Connection

When gardening can become a joint effort among family members, it creates social bonds that are so often missing these days. What the cell phone takes away, learning to garden together can return to the family unit. Similar to the spiritual connection, it creates a social connection with those who participate in the gardening experience. It creates a sense of belonging, a sense of connection with one another.

Positive Effect on Environment

When growing your own garden, you have a way of recycling items that you use on site. You can use containers for growing plants that might otherwise end up in a landfill. You can use cardboard, yard wastes, woodchips, and shredded paper as mulch.

You can use your vegetable plants as ground cover which protects the soil, nourishes soil life and conserves water.

You can recycle manures, household food scraps and yard wastes not used as mulch by making compost. You can either make compost using the hot compost method or by creating worm compost.

 Your food isn’t traveling across continents to get to your home. Therefore, you’re reducing your contribution to the extensive use of fossil fuels.

Various items can be used as trash to treasure all you need to do is use your imagination.

Okay, so there’s my list of ten things that vegetable gardening does for me. Can you think of more? If so, share your ideas below.

Also, if you’re looking for a good book that can help you learn more about vegetable gardening, check out my book Simply Vegetable Gardening In print or on Kindle.


greenbeans_galoreThis month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work. In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
Today we are going to be talking about the early spring vegetable garden. First you have to prepare your vegetable garden for planting. For best results, much of this work should have been done at the end of the gardening season the previous year. For instance, you could have already cleared debris from the garden and added it to the compost pile, tilled the soil, and mulched it with leaves in the autumn. If this were the case, you can simply remove the mulch and plant. However, if you didn’t or if you are starting the garden this spring, you can do it now. However, make sure that the soil is not wet or the seeds that you plant will rot.

What Vegetables Can I Plant Early in the Season?

Some vegetables can be planted earlier in the growing season than others. With most heat loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, and squash, you’ll need to wait until all danger of frost has passed. However, here is a list of articles with vegetables that you can plant in the early gardening season.

Planting Lettuce for a Sustainable Harvest

https://hubpages.com/living/Get-an-Ample-Supply-of-Lettuce-from-Your-Garden-this-Season

Growing Mixed Greens in Your Garden

https://hubpages.com/living/What-is-Musclun-and-How-Do-I-Grow-it

Growing Onions from Seeds, Plants, or Sets

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-Onions-by-using-Seeds-Plants-or-Sets

Harvest Broccoli from Your Own Garden This Year

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-Broccoli-A-Garden-Favorite

Harvesting Carrots from Your Own Backyard

https://hubpages.com/living/Sweet-Homegrown-Carrots

Simply Vegetable Gardening

 

These and many more tips can be seen in my book Simply Vegetable Gardening.

Simply Vegetable gardening is available on Kindle

and in Print

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http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-brown/simply-vegetable-gardening-simple-organic-gardening-tips-for-the-beginning-gardener/paperback/product-21579298.html

 


IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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