Missouri Herbs

Missouri Herbs
Our new website

For herbs I don't grow, this is my favorite place!

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin
On our site, you will see selected links to books that have been valuable to our homesteading, permaculture, spiritual, health and natural building paths and links to products we use or feel are ethical. Purchasing any of these products through my site will help contribute to our homesteading success and our teaching others to do the same.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rectangle panes of broken grass

Self Heal

Self heal filling the "Herb Circle" garden - which is a space where the trees form a circle.  This area is where we currently live till the house is built

Butterfly weed & Black eyed Susan

We've been learning to grow using perma-culture and are reading "Gaia's Garden" by Toby Hemenway.  We are growing organically, but want to eliminate organic bug sprays  and fertilizers.  The plants in the first bed haven't needed any organic bug spray, but we did have to pick off some horn worms  - not an overwhelming amount and none for a while.  But the potatoes, beans and brassicas just were not in the right place at the right time.  When you go into healthy woods, you rarely see plants destroyed by bugs, it's in balance.  Nature knows how to grow plants without our help and people that study those systems have learned to come close to mimicking nature in many ways in the garden.  A balanced garden in a balanced place shouldn't need to worry about pest control - organic or otherwise. 

We planted the first of the food forests with things like golden currants, hazelnuts, walnuts, and about a dozen other varieties of nuts and fruit and native medicinal herbs.  Even though it'll take years to build up the soil through composting and get important perennial plants and trees established, this year was an experiment and a good start.  The bottom pasture has pathways mowed and the rest is gardens and wild areas.  A plant that came up and hugs the gardens is a magnet for Japanese beetles.  I'm trying to find it's name, but may have to wait till it blooms. There is no Japanese beetle damage in the garden just a few feet away.  They are all on this mystery plant.   

Plant Japanese beetles LOVE

Instead of rectangle panes of broken grass, the gardens are surrounded by a field of Queen Anne's lace, red and white clover, mullien, plantain, lemon sorrel, several types of thistle, comfrey, self-heal, butterfly weed, American bell flower, roses, elderberry, and many plants that haven't been identified yet. 
Bottom land with Queen Anne's Lace

Tomatoes, peppers, basil and okra in the first bed 

The oldest no till plot is doing the best because the soil was ready and is surrounded by so many wildflowers. The straw had broken down to a nice dark crumbly medium.  The last no-till bed I put in was intended for next year, but I had no where to put the potatoes and beans, so they went in there.  They aren't doing too well and poison ivy is growing everywhere.  After the beans are done, I think I'll cover the whole thing again with straw, seed with red clover, just let it be and keep reading and learning. The second no-till bed I put in has volunteer red clover growing in big bunches and the plants that are near the clover are doing much better than the plants that are not.

Cabbage with red clover

Cabbage without clover about 15 feet away

So with our first baby step towards perma-culture, I can see that it will only get better from here.  I hope one day to have one of those wild, mixed-up gardens I've seen in photographs that are so lush, abundant, healthy and in balance.

Big sunflower

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