Linda Woodrow & the Permaculture Home Bog

Linda Woodrow's Permaculture Home Garden is one of my all time favourite gardening books. First I wore out the library's copy and then once I was kindly gifted a copy of my very own, I read part of it every day for weeks until I moved slowly into fixes weekly and then monthly. Thanks to Woodrow, I knew we had to have chooks. Chooks have indeed been a marvellous addition to our home. I do know now that Woodrow must live somewhere without our wind, as we learnt quickly that a geodesic chook dome was not practical here in Wetville. After two spring winds have decimated our poultry palace, we opted this time last year to build a much more solid, sturdy, permanent structure. Totally worth the effort, as I'm sure recent weather would have toppled a less study poultry palace once again.

Another of Woodrow's messages regards covering all soil with plants at all times. Empty garden space is an invitation to weeds and she deals with this by raising almost everything in pottles first and transplanting when the plants are sturdy.

Linda Woodrow lives in Australia. Australia is, by and large, a dry country.

I live on the West Coast, South Island, of New Zealand. Where I live, by and large, is a wet country.

Slugs like rain.

Slugs like lots of plant cover under which to live and breed and eat and breed and breed and eat even more.

I am rethinking some of my garden arrangements. Yesterday, by dint of a wonderful miracle, was sunny. After spending all day outside or driving to the dump helping Favourite Handyman clear out the rubble which passes for rubble in front of the garage (so virtuous that even the silent neighbour smiled at me), I set up beer traps. I am losing so many seedlings and as for seeds, they just are not getting to grow and see the light of day.

No results in some beer traps this morning but in the one by the sea of cornsalad umbrellas? Fifteen slugs. I spent the small window of rainlessness this morning weeding much of the cornsalad and collecting more live slugs for the chooks. The beer traps remain in force this evening, though rainfall may negate their impact.

Yesterday I also harvested things which were not green (or slugs). Garden plants making it to the kitchen at the moment tend to be kale or silverbeet or herbs. But last night I harvested a LARGE carrot. One that I grew MYSELF. Very exciting, given it is the first real carrot success in four years and follows on from hundreds if not thousands of carrot seeds being sown by me. there are more in the garden which are also looking good. I also harvested two daikon radishes which I hadn't noticed we even had. Tastes reasonable with hummous. A friend gave me some one year old asparagus crowns yesterday so they have gone into the ground as well.

The rest of today it rained, of course of course of course. I had a kitchenfest in preparation for having no electricity tomorrow. I made hummous, roast beef (for cold food tomorrow and onwards), shepherd's pie from last night's leftover mince for dinner and rhubarb cake, partly for the cupboards (for the seven year old would be more accurate) and partly for the freezer for next term. I also made bread, which I have only just pulled out of the oven as I kept forgetting it. It should have been completed yesterday but I was too busy and then too tired and then today I got the rest of stages going (Cromarty Cob for those of you with the Andrew Whitley book) and then I forgot to check on it rising in the hot water cupboard. Which is why it was flowing down the sides which I fixed up and left them on the stove top while I heated the oven up. I forgot it there as well which is why I had more flowing dough to clean up when I finally remembered.

Keeping my sourdough going is one of my emergency preparation measures, I have decided. We have enough flour in the house to turn into bread to keep us going for about a week, maybe more depending on other food stocks. I might have to cook it on the barbeque with the cover on top or as pancakes on the top of the yunca multifuel fire which heats our house.

I am part way through sewing myself a wrap-around skirt. Oh yes, home making takes on a much higher gear when I am actually home to make stuff. I'm not sure if I'm half way through fixing the camera, so no photos of my projects yet.


Anonymous said…
Caught up with this post in Melbourne last night, but ran out of internet time to comment!
I came across Woodrow's son on a gardening forum once and he found it amusing that anyone was still readig his mother's book and trying to make it work. She (apparently) gave up on the concept long ago!!!! However, he did point out that for her it was just an idea...and that everyone needs to observe their own situation and do what works. Exactly what you are up to. For me.....I ended up needing like plants grouped together because I couldn't cope with them spread all over the garden - I never knew how much of anything I had. It's easy ATM - bitter nasturtiums and nothing else of a size that's edible;-)
Hi Rachael
How interesting about Woodrow's son. This fits with my keenness to talk to the old gardeners here on the West Coast when we arrived, the ones who have been working with this soil and these weather conditions for sixty years. I am interested in the new organic trends, of course, but the survivors are the ones who have most to teach me. I often find that when I dig deeper, they started out with organic style techniques but were relieved to switch to intensive fertilisers and slugbait after years of labout intensive techniques fitted in around fulltime work and a young family. They indulge my funny ways, but their gardens are all tidier than mine by a country mile...

Hope you are having a wonderful time in Melbourne.

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