Who Cares for Whom?

See this glorious variegated corn? I’m so drawn to its colors, its beauty.  This is one multi-use variety we’re growing in our no-till slashmulch 3-sisters garden of corn, beans and squash. This was intended to be a “plant it and forget it” type of garden. But I just can’t forget this beauty.  Instead, I’m spending a little extra time tending and nurting this planting, drawn to want to tend this beautiful plant. And that is deep ecology.  In a very literal sense, this plant has evolved to coax gardeners like me into tending it. Just as all cultivated plants have: … Continue reading Who Cares for Whom?

Towards Easier, Productive 3-Sisters Gardens

  (For those placing bets on this project and whether or not it will work, this is update #3 in what will become a series on “slash-mulch” 3-sisters gardens using a no-till, minimum [or no] dig techniques.) Many researchers have identified “slash-mulch” gardening systems as the most sustainable form of annual gardening ever divised by homo sapiens. This traditional technique, found around the world, does not till the soil, which releases carbon into the atmosphere, requires heavy labor or fossil fuels, causes a loss of soil nitrogen, and an extreme loss of biodiversity and soil life. In fact, slash-mulch systems, … Continue reading Towards Easier, Productive 3-Sisters Gardens

High-Quality Edible Native Hawthorns

Looking for a “native” plant that is also good to eat, beautiful, and easy to grow? Consider some of our native hawthorns. It’s true: most hawthorns have poor tasting, small, seedy fruit that’s best left to the birds. And most the birds won’t even bother with, leaving them on the tree even through the winter and into the spring.  But a few hawthorns are quite good to eat, and some are even being cultivated for commercial production. They’re especially good additions to “native gardens” or where grant funds or other regulations require that a planting be “native.”  I cross-referenced the … Continue reading High-Quality Edible Native Hawthorns

No-Till 3 Sisters Update: Germination!

  (Corn germinating in piles of mulch plopped directly on top of slashed meadow, with no barrier. Most of the mulch material was taken from our nearby hedgerow, which also acts as a fertility belt, mostly slashed comfrey, sorrel, chicory and autumn olive. This was covered with a layer of “brown” plant material like dry jerusalem artichoke stalks. A thin “finish mulch” of compost, cocoa mulch, and coir was used to create a seed bed for germination. ) As a quick update, we’ve overcome the first hurdle in our No-till Slash Mulch 3 Sisters planting. We had nearly 100% germination … Continue reading No-Till 3 Sisters Update: Germination!