Behind the scenes – My garden
Ever since I stopped working and got out of the rat race, I’ve been leaning toward more natural living. Instead of shampoo, I use baking soda and vinegar on my hair (works great btw!). I make my own toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, and cleaning spray. I drink white birch bark fresh from one of my trees when I have any aches or pains (contains natural salicylic acid like aspirin). I’m really into finding out what uses there are for the natural plants in my yard and how to use them. There’s a big patch of jewelweed behind my house (photo above)- did you know it’s a natural cure for poison ivy?
There’s a huge project in progress. It’s still in the beginning stages, so it’s miniscule compared to what it will be. My ultimate goal is to turn my entire 2-acre yard into a permaculture garden. Basically I’m adjusting the plants in my yard to those I’ll be able to eat and use and mostly ones that will grow back year after year. So far I have 6 apple trees (most over 15 feet and really in need of a good pruning) and a large cherry tree that are doing well. I started a few raised garden beds this year with cucumbers, onions, green beans, and spaghetti squash, romaine lettuce, red cabbage, sage, lavender, citrus mint, rosemary, thyme, and red lettuce.
Over the next few years, I will be clearing brush (tall burdock bushes, Queen Anne’s lace, and goldenrod) to make room for more garden plots and eventually a greenhouse. I stopped mowing 3/4 of my yard a couple years ago, and the birds and bees have never been happier. I still have a front lawn, but I only mow it once in the spring to gather a good crop of dried grass to use as garden mulch and then once again in the fall to keep weeds from establishing. I may have traded a manicured lawn for what looks like a hay field, but it’s had a huge benefit to my garden. I’m in a rural area so my town and neighbors don’t care how it looks. Some people might think I’m a nut keeping my yard this way, but it’s so pretty driving down my driveway past the field of Queen Anne’s Lace and black-eyed Susans with all the butterflies fluttering around. Plus the birds my yard attracts act as pest control in the garden. Every morning they’re out there eating up all the slugs and snails and little creepy crawlies that would otherwise eat my veggies. Plus I’m saving money on gas and all that time mowing. It was definitely the right choice.
My land definitely doesn’t look like what I want it to yet, but it will. I only have time to work on it a couple hours a week, so it’ll take time. I’m mostly focusing on herbs and vegetables that are a bit part of my family’s diet first. I’m also buying perennial plants and adding them one by one as I have time. My last purchase was a Stevia plant. The leaves can be used now as a sweetener, and his fall I’ll be harvesting the leaves and drying them to make my own Stevia powder.
So that’s what I do when I’m not in my office painting craft eyes and filling orders. Hopefully I’ll find an intern soon so that I can spend more time out in the garden!