Category Archives: Gardening

An Introduction to Permaculture Tools and Methods

Permaculture principles

Permaculture principles

Saturday March 4th, 2017 10am to 12pm – PFH Organics

The goal of Permaculture Design is to provide for the needs of people and communities in a way that is also beneficial to the earth’s natural systems. Starting from the basics of food, water, shelter we plan and build stable and efficient systems and also aim to go beyond toward increased yields, quality of life and community.

Permaculture design is built on a practical, common sense approach, direct observation of nature, learning from historical and cultural successes and technological advancement.

In this introductory workshop we will look at the Permaculture concept in general and learn some of the basic principles and methods of design. The emphasis will be on the local area and the tools and techniques for gardens and farms that can be applied here.

Everyone is welcome with a suggested donation of $8. Proceeds will be given to benefit local agriculture.

Instructor Bio

Our highly qualified Instructor, Aaron Jerad (Heideman), is a Paonia native. He grew up on an organic apple orchard and farm that later became the home of Big B’s Apple Juice.

He encountered the Permaculture concept around 2006 and was immediately drawn to learn more. In 2009 he traveled to Australia to study with some of the leading thinkers and doers of Permaculture including Geoff Lawton and David Holmgren.

After a year of intensive study and hands-on experience, Aaron returned to Colorado and began working with the new principles and methods on his family farm outside Hotchkiss. He continues to practice, teach and learn. He runs two small businesses: a web design and development company and a Permaculture design and consulting company.Permaculturegraphic

Putting the Garden to Bed

Putthegardentobed

Cooler temperatures tell us it’s time to put the garden to bed and store the fall harvest to be enjoyed throughout the winter.

Fall Harvest

At my home, potatoes have been dug up (one of my favorite garden chores) and stored away in a dry, cool place.  I have now harvested half the carrots and left the other half in the ground.  The carrot tops have been removed from the carrots  in the ground and covered with 16 inches of straw.  In mid-to-late winter, I’ll be able to harvest out of the ground the sweetest, tastiest carrots ever because they over-winter well when covered deeply with straw or bags of leaves.

Store up squash and pumpkins

Store up squash and pumpkins

Also, my garden cart is heaped up full, with butternut, delicata and sweet meat squash and pumpkins.  I bake and process the pumpkins for pies and soups.

I also like to roast the pumpkin seeds for munching while they last.  One secret to tasty, nutritious pumpkin seeds is to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

Lastly, we’re enjoying kale and swiss chard in soups and stir-fries.  More kale and chard have been frozen – hopefully enough to enjoy in soups and stews this winter and last until spring!

FermentedbeetsFermenting Vegetables

I have also just harvested the last of the beets and turnips and made fermented beets and turnips for the first time.  I learned the art of fermenting  from local fermentation guru, Maria Hodkins.  It’s not to late to ferment just about any leftover/surplus veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, onions, etc without using vinegar, pressure canners or freezers.

Fermentation, makes it’s own vinegar, so-to-speak, which is actually  lactic acid produced by bacteria naturally present in our environment.  Not only are the naturally occurring bacteria beneficial for health and eliminate the canning process, but the fermented veggies can be stored for months in cold storage or refrigerators.

Plant Garlic This Fall

bunch-of-garlic

The best time to plant garlic is in the Fall, 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes.  Netted packages of both types of garlic are now in stock in the store.  Below are the basic types of garlic available and simple planting instructions.

Hard Neck Garlic:

We have a nice assortment of garlic for Fall planting in the store.

We have a nice assortment of garlic for Fall planting in the store.

  • Sharper flavor
  • Produces stiff stem through the center
  • Hardier – best survival during a cold winter
  • Somewhat shorter shelf life

 Soft Neck Garlic:

  • Relatively mild flavor
  • Best choice for garlic braids

garlicplantingPlanting Guidelines:

  • Plant garlic in our area 4-6 weeks before the the ground freezes.  In our area that would be mid-to-late October.
  • If you are replanting garlic you grew this year, choose the largest heads, the bigger you plant, the bigger you will harvest.
  • Loosen the soil, add organic compost, and plant 8 inches apart.

Harvesting and Curing:

  • Garlic will be ready to harvest in late July, when some leaves are beginning to yellow.
  • Be sure to cure the garlic properly for storage, by shaking off most of the dirt, layout on a sheet, not touching each bulb to one-another.  Be sure there is no direct sun on the drying garlic.
  • When the stems are completely dry and papery, exterior has tightened around the clove, remove stems, leaving a 1″ stem.
  • Trim the roots
  • Store in a dry dark place.

    Plant garlic in mid-to late October

    Plant garlic in mid-to late October.  What a great way to get a headstart on next years garden!

 

Winterize your Yard Now

townparkThere are five main chores for getting the yard winterized:  raking leaves, applying fertilizer, clearing gutters, insulate your plants, and draining your pump, sprinklers, and hoses.  

1.  Rake Leaves

Finish getting the leaves raked up, if they ever finish dropping, before the first snow hits which eliminates lawn damage caused by molding leaves.  Rake up

Rake leaves before winter sets in

Rake leaves before winter sets in

the leaves for making your own compost, or bag the leaves up in the blue compostable bags provided by the Town of Paonia since they are no longer vacuuming up the leaves left at curbside.

The FREE blue bags, available at the Town Hall, are on a first come first serve basis.  Fill your bags with your leaves and place them at the curb and you will be surprised how quickly they are snatched up by those who are seeking low cost compost material.  Just be sure that only leaves (no twigs, or branches) are loaded into the bags.  All types of rakes are available in the store.  Come in now for the best selection.

2. Apply  Winterizing Fertilizer

Fertilome's Winterizer

Fertilome’s Winterizer

Fall feeding is the most critical feeding time for your lawn and trees.  Fertilome’s Winterizer is a great product to build up resistance to winter’s harshness by increasing stem strength and disease resistance.

Lower nitrogen (10%) and higher potassium (14%) plus small amounts of trace minerals such as Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc,  help build up vigorous root growth during the winter resulting in healthier, greener lawns in Spring.

  • The product should be applied at the rate of 20 pounds per 5000 square feet for lawns
  • Use 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter around the drip line* for trees.
  • Use 1 Cup per 3 foot of height for shrubs  Don’t apply the Winterizer too close to the tree trunk, and then WATER thoroughly following the application.

*A drip line is the outer edge to which a plant’s branches spread.  This is where rain water tends to naturally drip from the plant and where the root system is concentrated.

Organic Winterizing Products include Earthworm castings which promote root growth and plant nutrition and  Soil Activator contains humates.  All products are in stock at the store.

3. Clear Gutters and Drains

gutters-280x210

Removing debris from gutters and outdoor drains unclogs the gutter and prevents water damage to your house and roof.  Neglected gutters risks water backing up and seeping into your roof, or spilling down the side of the house causing possible foundation damage. 

This step must not be done so early that the gutters re-clog, or the gutters can become frozen with debris inside.  Aim, to complete this step when the leaves are down and before the first snow.  With our Colorado Indian Summers this step probably needs to be completed in November sometime before Thanksgiving.

4. Insulate Plants 

SIX_FOOT_medium_mediumProtecting plants with a “jacket” for the inevitable extremely cold freezing temperatures helps eliminate winter-kill and promote plant health.  Cover plants  roots with at least a one inch layer of mulch (Soil Pep is a good choice).

Also, plants can be safeguarded with The Planket, which is a plant blanket designed to prevents winter damage from both snow and deer and available at Paonia Farm and Home. Other materials you can use  to protect cold sensitive plants would be include burlap,, a sheet or a cardboard box..  When the sun and warm temperatures return, these “covers” need to be removed to avoid “baked plant”.

 5. Drain Pumps, Lawn Sprinklers and Hoses

 Hopefully this job is done already, because Lawn sprinkler systems and pumps represent a substantial capital investment and must be drained, and blown out before the deep freeze of winter sets in or you will most probably incur broken, pipes, sprinkler heads and and other damage that will need to be repaired next Spring.

As always, visit or call the store for more information for answers about products, services to all your gardening questions.  You can also contact the store for a list of people willing to perform the various tasks discussed in this article.mulching