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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 2, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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May 2, 2012

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8B Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Garden's growing w00'i l that spring's here ACCIDENTAL GAKDENER MONA HILL Staff Writer OK, now we're talking: It's springtime in the mountains! The temperature borders on downright warm and the trees are leafing out, recent rains notwithstanding. Steve took advantage of a sunny Sunday afternoon and got my greenhouse up -- I'm rarin' to go now. I attended Plumas Rural Services' free Backyard Farming 101 workshop April 14. Due to the spring snow- storm in the days running up to April 14, there was little hands-on work. The cold weather and snow-covered ground put some of the 20 registered attendees off and gave people on the 25-person waiting list a chance to fill in the numbers. Aimed at small holding or backyard producers, work- shop topics included inten- sive gardening methods, soil testing and rearing dairy goats and poultry production to take "grow your own" to new levels. Indian Valley's Lindsey Buis-Kelley led off with a dis- cussion on the benefits of chickens and homegrown eggs. Chickens are great pest and weed controllers, pro- ducing about an egg a day. In addition to manure for thegarden and bug control, hens lay about 280 eggs in the first year. Egg production slows in subsequent years, which is when it's time to cull the flock and move the hens to the freezer. Personally, I promised my girls they would die a natural death. We raised chickens for a short time when I was a girl, I can still smell wet chicken feathers at 50 paces. I'm not sentimental about the source of my food; I just don't want to smell the pro- cessing process. Until some- one else steps up to take on that job, the girls will die in their beds of old age. Recently Steve said he wants to give turkeys a go. Fine with me but the same caveat applies: I'll be out of town when it's time to ready them for Thanksgiving din- ner. I wasn't particularly inter- ested in dairy goats either. I've no desire to milk any- thing-- taking care of my garden, the girls and the al- pacas is quite enough, thank you. However, when Lou Boschee started talking about intensive gardening, I sat up and took notice. Lou and her husband have 40- plus years of gardening expe- rience. Although Lou claims she's no expert, I'd say look- ing at pictures of her garden beds that she has certainly learned from her mistakes. Lou defines intensive gar- dening as obtaining the max- imum harvest in a minimum amount of space. Typically, that involves beds that are 3 - 4 feet wide with a soil depth of at least 12 inches, enclosed on all sides, open-ended or completely freestanding. The goal is to maintain soil structure and quality. Optimum width al- lows gardeners to reach all parts of the bed without walking on and compacting the soil. Gardeners who use free- standing beds -- no enclo- sures at all -- run the risk of erosion and have extra work to build the edges of the bed back up on a regular basis. Lou lays out the beds east to west -- taller plants on the north side for maximum sun- light to all plants. Each year, she turns the first 12 inches of the beds, adding two - three inches of compost on top. Gardeners who have mulched and manured beds, or planted green cover crops for the winter, can dig the material into the soil. Gar- deners know soil preparation quality is essential for suc- cessful gardening, but it's es- pecially true with intensive gardening techniques. Lou uses interplanting, companion planting and crop rotation to maximize space, ensure crop health, discour- age garden pests and de- crease garden maintenance. Interplanting can be as simple as planting carrots and radishes together: The radishes are gone before the carrots need the room, leav- ing carrots with the neces- sary space. Other considera- tions include the type of veg- etable (root with leaf, tall vs. short), sun requirements (shade vs. sun) and soft/moisture needs. Start with the taller, longer season plants (tomatoes, corn, etc.) and plant smaller, shorter season plants (let- tuce, spinach, etc.) in and around them. Lou recommends abandon- ing traditional row planting in favor of equidistant planti- ng to maintain spacing. In- stead of a long, lovely row of leaf lettuce, consider stagger- ing plants in a three-two- three pattern around bush beans. The lettuce will keep the weeds down and the beans will shade the lettuce and provide nitrogen. Staggered planting, instead of those lovely neat rows, will confuse the bugs. They love to move from one plant in a row to the next. They might get to the others even- tually, but don't make it easier for them. When one crop finishes in a particular area of the bed, rotate to another or inter- plant all three vegetable types, such as the "Three Sis- ters": corn, beans and squash. Corn and squash re- quire plenty of nitrogen, which the beans provide. The corn provides a climbing frame for the beans and the squash provides a ground cover to reduce weeds. Do not plant the same crop in the same place every year: that practice practically guarantees disease. If corn is in only one place in the gar- den, plant peas or beans the next. Follow legumes in the third year with root vegeta- bles. Don't forget the herbs: they deter pests and attract polli- nators. Marigolds, garlic and onions discourage every- thing from deer to beetles with their strong odors. While it looks like spring is here, don't forget the row covers: Frosts and freezes are normal events well into June. Let me know how your gar- den grows; I'd love to see it. One young man'sjou ze 3" 00.oward sustainability COMMUNITY GREEN Pamela Noel weaving his art throughout his vegetable rows. And after 2-1/2 years at his community college he won- ders what's next. No particu- lar direction presents itself... maybe game warden? But af- ter a half an hour talk with Bill Peters, a former game warden, he decides against it. Organic farmer? Maybe. Stumbling onto the website for the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, he decides to spend two weeks camping in Occidental, Calif., to study permaculture. During this time he is exposedto a frame- work for life: sustaifiable liv- ing. The website describes permaculture as "systemic ap- proaches to human settlement that are rooted in the ethics of caring for the earth and hu- man communities, and guided by the uniqueness of each sit- uation." During his course he learns to design sustainable, regener- ative systems in balance with his home ecosystem. He ex- plores this "permanent culture" by studying organic gardening, mulching, natural Classic lakefront home with huge lake and Dyer Mountain views. MLS201200108, $549,000. Kehr/O'Brien Real Estate ii!!!iiiiiiii!i! iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i iiiiiiiiili!i iiiiiiiii!iiiii E Great investment potential! Maintained 2 unit property. Westwood. $65,000. See Susan River Realty Ask about our Lake Davis Vacation Renials!! See Susan River Really, Portola Office Elegance and Beauty. 4BR 4.5BA. 3 car garage. Custom features, over 20 acres. REDUCED, $875,000. Town & Country, Quincy building techniques, forest farming, water retention and re-use, erosion control and al- ternative energy. Leaving Oc- cidental after two weeks, he feels that this two-week certi- fication course has changed his life, giving him new direc- tion. He wants to help human- ity by studying to be an eco- designer. The next step is to find out how to proceed. He knows he needs to delve deeper into all he has learned through his OAEC program. During his time there one of his teachers spoke about Gala University, an international university with regional hubs around the world. The closest regional hub is located in Bolinas, Calif., at the Regenerative De- sign Institute. This program offers a unique and flexible curricu- lum with project-based learn- ing. Basically, permaculture programs instill in their stu- dents the idea that students will learn by doing ... and changing the world.., one project at a time. Students design, implement and ............................... River Plaza strip center, prime location, highly trafficked area. Susanville. $1,500,000. See Lassen Land and Homes REO Corner Listings Forecioser/Bank owned properties Chandler Real Estate This beautiful home is new on the market. $279,400. See Coldwell anker Pioneer Realty A young man studies hy- drology, natural resources and art at his local communi- ty cqllege. He likes the out- doors. He grows strawberries on his roof. He also grows vegetables, and can't resist document real-world projects. Advisors and mentors guide students in the development of these projects. The ethical basis of perma- culture education is three- fold. The first consideration is the "care of the earth" by pro- viding for all life systems to continue and multiply. The second consideration is the "care of the people" by help- ing them to access the re- sources needed for their exis- tence. And third is "sharing fairly," setting limits to con- sumption by governing our own needs, and husbanding resources to help with the first two principles. The persistent challenge to a permacultUristls how to bal- ance the populati(lta of all species and consumption with the carrying capacity of the planet. We are now consum- ing three to five times the re- newable capacity of the planet each year. This is character- ized by the bumper sticker that reads, "Live simply, so that others may simply live." Thus, our young man started his program through Gala Uni- versity in fall 2011. Beginning his course by attending the Bioneers Conference in Marin County, he has since embarked upon a variety of projects, Among them has been a restoration of an old green- house, originally shipped from England to the U.S. in the 1960s. It now thrives with edi- ble lettuce and other greens, as well as vegetable starts for this summer. Volunteering his time at a K-12 Waldorf school, he teaches permaculture pro- jects such as rainwater catch- ment to high school students. He has developed two keyhole gardens in Plumas County, and is working with a local bi- ologist to restore and enhance a local creek. He meets with his advisor via Skype once or twice per month. Additionally, he has peer mentors, with whom he also meets. Extensive docu. mentation is required for all projects, as well as pertinent workshops and consultations with experts in order to com. plete and learn from them. This is hands-on learning that is literally changing the world. There are various programs and institutions that offer "sustainability-based" educa- tion. Many more are in the mulling stage of development. For those who are called into the future in a way that will create a truly sustainable way of life, I have shared two av- enues -- a center and a uni- versity -- that can help move a person in this direction. As our young man, Bryce, will tell you, "my Waldorf edu- cation helped me to know my place in the world, my perma. culture education is helping me to ensure that the world exists so that I may inhabit that place." If you would like more information about ei- ther program you may email Bryce at