Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The key seems to be in spreading the plants far apart (four times as far apart as is recommended on the seed package), getting them established while you still have spring rains at your disposal, and ruthlessly keeping the weeds down. This doesn't work unless you have decent dirt at least a few feet deep (eight or more is best) because rocks and gravel don't hold the water content that dirt does, and hard pan is almost impossible for roots to break through (though he gives tips on how to fix this problem.)
While this wouldn't work on my property--I have to do raised beds because the first hundred-plus feet of ground past my back door is far more rock than dirt--it's an interesting concept. I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else tries it and what they think of it.
There are a lot of other books on gardening, permaculture, and self-sufficiency on the site, so check them out!
Friday, December 16, 2011
Transcendent is a terrific book full of YA paranormal short stories--these are all clean with no swearing or sex and no extreme violence (though there are one or two that are fantastically creepy.) The stories range from ghosts to spirit guides, to vampires, and so much more. I don't usually go in for short stories, but these kept me interested from the start with great characters and some terrific plot twists. And several of them have a romance line mixed in the story (which I'm always a big fan of). Perfect for a quick story fix, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys clean paranormal stories.
My friend Wendy Swore, who has two stories in this anthology, will be listing the publisher's big giveaway on Monday with a whole bunch of giveaways as part of the book release ranging from SWAG to bigger prizes (including a copy of my book Blank Slate). The giveaway goes through January 3rd, so check out her blog here for details. Also, you can enter to win a copy of the Transcendent ebook from Amazon by commenting here on my blog between now and the end of the month. This is currently available only in ebook, but a paper copy is due out soon. Check out these links for more information:
- Paperback on Amazon: Coming Soon for $10.99! (When it does the address will be: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615572324)
- Paperback on Barnes and Noble: Coming Soon!
- eBook on Kindle: Purchase today for $0.99! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006JV1NM8
eBook on Nook: Coming Soon!
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13096259-transcendent
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Transcendent-Tales-of-the-Paranormal/255603224494043
- Book Club Discussion: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/736565-january-transcendent-paranormal-anthology
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
What is permaculture? I’m glad you asked! I know most people have never heard of it, but essentially it’s a way of organizing your landscaping to promote healthy diversity, ease of maintenance, and oh yeah, food production when possible. Of course, there’s a whole lot more to it than this, because the principles of permaculture are as applicable if you’ve only got a balcony, as if you have ten acres and can be applied to city planning or building design. And it’s not just about food, but about using natural systems in planning.
Yeah, so it’s ecologically sound, but it thinks outside the box—okay, outside the box of current agricultural trends (of monoculture—like hundreds of acres of wheat) to more natural systems like in forests. Instead of planting a big spot with pumpkins, and another with peas, and a third with corn, you mix things together, grow plants that complement each other (often called companion planting), and encourage bugs and animals into the garden that eat the bugs that want to eat your prize tomatoes. We call this bio diversity—and it works for many people without bug sprays, and with careful planning, you won’t have to buy fertilizers, either. It means planting flowers like nasturtiums and marigolds that discourage some pests right alongside the veggies that those pests like the best.
I did mention bringing in predators and birds right? Well, this doesn’t just apply to song birds. I opened up my garden fence a week or so ago (and then it snowed), but this morning I cleared the snow off of one garden bed and then my poultry went to town eating the weeds and scratching it all up. Chickens, geese, ducks, guineas, and my lone Tom turkey were out there most of the day. Yeah, I get eggs from my chickens (theoretically, but their lack of winter eggs is a topic for another day). But they’re way more useful than that. Last spring I let them into the back yard—which is totally unlandscaped—and they kept my weeds in check. Now, letting them into the garden when I have plants there would be a Very Bad Idea (I learned this the hard way a few years back) but in the off season they can be seriously useful.
That’s permaculture in action.
PS If you'll notice, I'm holding a Goodreads Giveaway for my book, Blank Slate right now. Click on the box at the top of the page to enter. It runs through Christmas Eve. And come back for another Goodreads Giveaway next month for Family by Design.