News

The kindness that sustains us

I just dug out a patch of nasturtiums gone wild in a raised bed. My plan is to turn the area into a fall vegetable garden with fall mums and other flowers interspersed. Conversely, in my flower garden, I will plant red-stemmed chard with their frilly leaves.

My goal is to become more thoughtful in designing our gardens, more in alignment with permaculture values.

The word permaculture combines the ideas of a permanent agriculture, as well as sustaining a permanent culture. I just dug out a patch of nasturtiums gone wild in a raised bed. My plan is to turn the area into a fall vegetable garden with fall mums and other flowers interspersed. Conversely, in my flower garden, I will plant red-stemmed chard with their frilly leaves.

My goal is to become more thoughtful in designing our gardens, more in alignment with permaculture values.

The word permaculture combines the ideas of a permanent agriculture, as well as sustaining a permanent culture. The idea was given an impetus from Australians Bill Mollison and David

Holmgren in the 1970s as they sought to counter the destructive industrial-agricultural methods that compromised biodiversity and wiped out some species.

They presented classes in hopes of helping people figure out how to make damaged landscapes healthy again. Their approach was holistic and they observed how each part connected with the next, seeking solutions for long-term sustainability. It shifted the focus to the most fundamental resources, to ourselves and our own wisdom.



Paw-print media

Recently I read Thomas Friedman's editorial about being in Botswana, Africa, and how the natives "read" the daily news - appraising how fast lions were running by studying the distance and depth of their paw prints and understanding the wind by seeing which side of the paw prints had been dusted away.

Friedman's guide was a master of permaculture and sustainability because he related how papyrus and reeds filtered the water and how the warmth of termite beds invigorated the soil so palm trees could thrive. Friedman's guide understood both sustainability and the relatedness of each part to the whole.

The core values of this holistic, permaculture approach center around three areas:

1. Earth care - recognizing the Earth is the source of all life and our connection to it, rather than seeing ourselves apart from it.

2. People care - supporting and helping one another to live in ways that do no harm to one another or to our planet.

3. Fair share - ensuring the Earth's limited resources are used equitably and wisely.

Permaculture is about relationships and support. On a small scale, our little neighborhood practices it.



Mounting bounty

This summer, neighbors have been generous in sharing their bounty. One neighbor gave me a basket of sugar snap beans (if I promised to take several zucchini!). When I play tennis, a friend of mine usually brings a sack of fresh produce.

Friends have dropped by plums when they've had an excess. We've even been blessed with fresh crab and salmon by fisherman friends. We've given away armsful of Easter lilies and calla lilies.

One of my friends wants to set up a neighborhood garden next year, where together we will tend it and share in its bounty. As we share with one another, we connect on a physical as well as emotional level that sustains us.

Communities practicing permaculture are all over the world. Holmgren's home in Australia, Crystal Waters, is a 600-acre plot that houses 83 households on 20 percent of the land and the rest of the land is owned jointly and is used for agricultural and recreation.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Permaculture Guild is active and there are many gardens around the city. In Sequim, a group has established a community garden near St. Luke's Episcopal Church, where about 30 people share their gardening experiences.

How do we begin to implement permaculture ideas into our own gardens?

Simple ways:

_ Start composting.

_ Set up a worm bin.

_ Don't throw away water you've used in canning, making pasta or boiling vegetables. Use it to water your plants.

_ When you shower and are waiting for warm water, save water and use it to water plants.

_ Don't overfertilize your plants because they'll only be thirstier for more water.

_ Pull out weeds manually rather than dousing them with herbicides.

_ Set up a water supply and feeders for birds.

_ Intersperse vegetables into your flower garden.

As we buy our food, we also can support and encourage local farmers who have planned sustainable landscapes. We just picked blueberries at Dungeness Meadows Blueberries, a certified organic farm. Our friends from Wisconsin who also picked with us exclaimed that the blueberries were the size of apples.

Many local farms sell lovely produce, and our Saturday markets bring together many cheese-makers, farmers and craftsmen.



Count to 10

A new book, "10-10-10" by Suzy Welch, focuses on decision-making. The first 10 suggests decisions we'll make in 10 minutes; the second, 10 months; the third, 10 years.

Permaculture centers around decisions we'll make that will have an impact 10 years from now. It also is about the decisions we make in 10 minutes - whether to toss out our water or to use it to water our plants.

Daily, we decide whether to use another plastic bottle of water or to invest in a bottle we can fill ourselves. Permaculture is about kindness to our planet and to our neighbors. It sustains us.

Permaculture, as a gardening concept, is optimistic with a compass that points forward.



Beverly Hoffman can be reached at columnists@sequimgazette.com.





They presented classes in hopes of helping people figure out how to make damaged landscapes healthy again. Their approach was holistic and they observed how each part connected with the next, seeking solutions for long-term sustainability. It shifted the focus to the most fundamental resources, to ourselves and our own wisdom.



Paw-print media

Recently I read Thomas Friedman's editorial about being in Botswana, Africa, and how the natives "read" the daily news - appraising how fast lions were running by studying the distance and depth of their paw prints and understanding the wind by seeing which side of the paw prints had been dusted away.

Friedman's guide was a master of permaculture and sustainability because he related how papyrus and reeds filtered the water and how the warmth of termite beds invigorated the soil so palm trees could thrive. Friedman's guide understood both sustainability and the relatedness of each part to the whole.

The core values of this holistic, permaculture approach center around three areas:

1. Earth care - recognizing the Earth is the source of all life and our connection to it, rather than seeing ourselves apart from it.

2. People care - supporting and helping one another to live in ways that do no harm to one another or to our planet.

3. Fair share - ensuring the Earth's limited resources are used equitably and wisely.

Permaculture is about relationships and support. On a small scale, our little neighborhood practices it.



Mounting bounty

This summer, neighbors have been generous in sharing their bounty. One neighbor gave me a basket of sugar snap beans (if I promised to take several zucchini!). When I play tennis, a friend of mine usually brings a sack of fresh produce.

Friends have dropped by plums when they've had an excess. We've even been blessed with fresh crab and salmon by fisherman friends. We've given away armsful of Easter lilies and calla lilies.

One of my friends wants to set up a neighborhood garden next year, where together we will tend it and share in its bounty. As we share with one another, we connect on a physical as well as emotional level that sustains us.

Communities practicing permaculture are all over the world. Holmgren's home in Australia, Crystal Waters, is a 600-acre plot that houses 83 households on 20 percent of the land and the rest of the land is owned jointly and is used for agricultural and recreation.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Permaculture Guild is active and there are many gardens around the city. In Sequim, a group has established a community garden near St. Luke's Episcopal Church, where about 30 people share their gardening experiences.

How do we begin to implement permaculture ideas into our own gardens?

Simple ways:

_ Start composting.

_ Set up a worm bin.

_ Don't throw away water you've used in canning, making pasta or boiling vegetables. Use it to water your plants.

_ When you shower and are waiting for warm water, save water and use it to water plants.

_ Don't overfertilize your plants because they'll only be thirstier for more water.

_ Pull out weeds manually rather than dousing them with herbicides.

_ Set up a water supply and feeders for birds.

_ Intersperse vegetables into your flower garden.

As we buy our food, we also can support and encourage local farmers who have planned sustainable landscapes. We just picked blueberries at Dungeness Meadows Blueberries, a certified organic farm. Our friends from Wisconsin who also picked with us exclaimed that the blueberries were the size of apples.

Many local farms sell lovely produce, and our Saturday markets bring together many cheese-makers, farmers and craftsmen.



Count to 10

A new book, "10-10-10" by Suzy Welch, focuses on decision-making. The first 10 suggests decisions we'll make in 10 minutes; the second, 10 months; the third, 10 years.

Permaculture centers around decisions we'll make that will have an impact 10 years from now. It also is about the decisions we make in 10 minutes - whether to toss out our water or to use it to water our plants.

Daily, we decide whether to use another plastic bottle of water or to invest in a bottle we can fill ourselves. Permaculture is about kindness to our planet and to our neighbors. It sustains us.

Permaculture, as a gardening concept, is optimistic with a compass that points forward.



Beverly Hoffman can be reached at columnists@sequimgazette.com.





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