Tag Archives: gardening

Companion Planting & The Patterns of Nature






We harvested one of the largest beets to date from the keyhole garden today. Believe it or not it’s actually the second biggest!
We also made a few more starts including gypsy peppers, Jamaican peppers, red bell peppers, pepedew peppers, habanero peppers, bee balm, and dill. The peppers and bee balm we are planning to companion plant with tomatoes, basil, carrots and nasturtium. The dill we will plant with some already existing kale to confuse those pesky aphids!
Along with the starts we direct seeded borage, bunching onions, and radishes. These were planted in a spiral pattern to mock natures existing patterns. Watermelons will be accompanying all of these plants for a nice pest confusing medley. Don’t forget, plants need friends too!


Start House




Our Start house is beginning to fill up. These little guys in the picture are about two weeks old. Today we doubled the amount of starts in anticipation of our upcoming food forest.  Almost have enough to get our summer garden going.

In another two weeks or so we’ll do another round. The plan is to have way too many and an abundance of variety so that after our land is planted there will still be plenty to offer at the San Marcos Farmer’s Market. Hint hint.

Permablitz 2 at scissortail


Kirby Fry hosted his second permablitz, coordinated and promoted by our very own Taelor Monroe, at Linda and Curtis’ house. We dug two 50 foot swales with accompanying berms about 10 feet wide and established them with fruit and farmers’ trees, asparagus, blue bonnets, artichoke, cover crops and more. It feels good to get another one of these systems going. They’re springing up all over south Austin.

Our permablitz is coming up in 5 weeks, and we have so much to do to prepare, but I feel reenergized by all the talk and excitement amongst our fellow permablitzers

Honey Bees and Fruit Trees


20130202-223212.jpg We all drove out to Wimberly in the Roots mobile (aka Jared’s car) to visit Heirloom Blooms, a permaculture community 20 minutes west of us.

They have a beautiful piece of land that they’ve begun to populate well with animals and fruit trees. I hope to visit their place again and work more with them in the future.

They were hosting a bee keeping class. It was a great introduction to the craft and to the complexities of the inner workings of a bee hive. They’re incredible creatures and we couldn’t live without them.


This evening when we got home Lee Wallace came over to help us graft mulberries onto our paper mulberries and Asian persimmons onto our Texas variety. I hope they all take. Thanks to Lee for his knowledge and expertise.

Clear cuttin


We’ve begun to prepare the half acre strip of forest next to our house for the food forest we’re going to establish. We can hardly contain our excitement round here. Kirby Fry will be coming down this weekend to check the place out and help us strategize for the Permablitz we’ll be hosting March 23rd & 24th.

Step one: chop down invasive lagustrums.


Cream of the garden


Our most recent community meal was Cream of Potato Soup courtesy of Cass! Everything but the broth base came straight from the garden, spices and all. Ingredients included red potatoes, carrots, daikon, chives, a custom garden spice blend, powdered habanero, and an organic veggie broth and cream base.



A few of us went up to Austin this weekend to assist Kirby Fry on the first Austin area Permablitz, an event where a group of volunteers shows up and permascapes a site. This one was at Austin Eco School and he’ll be hosting one a month.

The level of cooperation was amazing and the number of people willing to contribute their time and money to make it happen was more than a little encouraging. We got a lot done and I’m happy to announce we’ll be the host site of a Permablitz in April.

The right side of this photo is a 6 foot swale that we backfilled with wood mulch and the berm runs beside it (the trellises, for grapes we planted, run down the center of the berm). There’s a ditch all the way around but the side opposite the swale is much more narrow.

20130122-223407.jpg Around the grapes we planted pears and plums and other fruit trees. A zig-zagged line of asparagus with a more technical term will run the length of the berm. On one side of the line we planted patches of annuals like carrots and radishes and on the other was an assortment of culinary and medicinal herbs surrounded by flowers. Blackberries will grow up the fence on the opposite side of the swale.

We laid irrigation and threw down some cover crops. In two days we made a 50×8 (don’t quote me on that) food producing ecosystem for the kids at Austin Eco School to take care of. And we did this: