I live off the grid in a house built out of our own wood, logs cut on the property and milled on site. Upcycled materials and creative solutions made the energy efficient lifestyle. With a vision of self sustainability, a barn was built, a chicken coop and veggie and flower gardens were started. Fruit orchards and flowering shrubs were grown cheaply from cuttings, grafting and seed. Chickens, dogs, cats and ducks followed.
Then I read one book on permaculture, and at the same time read “Animal ,Vegetable,Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. These ideas inspired me to develop much larger gardens to be able to eat year round which my family did for more than two years. Wanting to work to feed, educate and inspire our community. The brick oven was built, which seemed naturally to attract people to the eggs, bread and organically grown flowers. I would like to inspire people to eat and cook from the garden in season.
The permaculture idea was to build the vegetable gardens near our kitchen. Grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, and flowers for our own sustenance and enjoyment with extras to trade, gift . Also a pasture for animals.
Most importantly creating a closed system of organic inputs where we knew the source of everything added to the gardens. The animals provided the manures for an active compost. We enrich our poor sandy clay soils with organic amendments, compost and cover crops, creating rich hummus soil to grow better vegetables and flowers. Grass is beginning to grow around the 100 fruit and olive orchard trees. The grass will be encouraged to to move outward from the house and gardens. Hopefully sustaining our animals more and more as our poor soils improve.
I, Katie, have been a landscape gardener working over thirty years on very large estates and big projects.
I bring an ornamental horticultural background to farming. Not growing in long rows, but more in patches with flowering plants, fruits and many perennial vegetables in between. This is biointensive, a method started by Alan Chadwick another Landscape Gardener. Growing vegetables requires such rich soil and so much attention to a very short lived plant. We eat wonderful vegetable laden meals, rounded out with local meats. Caning many products, fruits and jams, pickles, tomato sauce and salsa. Living in California, we garden year round.
Our naturally leavened, sourdough, organic bread , rounds out our diet. Our bread bakes have become a community event where we usually bake loaves in our wood fired brick oven. We hand shape the dough.