Category Archives: Permaculture

Topics in this section focus on the concept of permaculture and the connections between elements of the garden that allow ecosystem services to be provided by mother nature…more linking equals less work!

11 Jun

Hillside Wildflower Garden – What’s in Bloom – June 6th

wildflower hillside

Things are really happening on the hillside so I thought I would take some pictures and document what I could find blooming today – June 6th, 2015.  This amount of flowers creates a wonderful habitat for the birds, bees and other pollinators!

Here is a list, with some pictures below

Longhead Coneflower – Ratibida columnifera

Ox-eye Sunflower – Heliopsis helianthoides

Missouri Coneflower – Rudbeckia missouriensis

Rocket Larkspur – Delphinium ajacis (Ranunculaceae)

Bishops flower – Amni majus

Pale Purple Coneflower – Echinacea pallida

Showy Primrose – Oenotheria speciosa

Catmint – Nepeta ‘walkers low’

Lavender – Lavendula ‘munstead’

Autumn Sage – Salvia Greggii ‘maraschino’

Blanket Flower – Gaillardia

Cosmos – Cosmos bipinnatis

Plains Coreopsis – Coreopsis tinctoria

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’

Lemon Beebalm – Monarda citriodora

Clasping coneflower – Dracopis amplexicaulis

ratibida

 

mexican blanket flower meadow

 

 

lemon mint monarda

 

 

rocket larkspur

 

 

autumn salvia

 

 

24 Apr

What is a Food Forest?

What is a Food Forest?

Mary’s definition:

A food forest is a constructed or modified forest ecosystem system designed to largely self sustain over time, while providing the ecosystem services of a natural woodland and providing some food or other resources for human consumption.

It is not “vegetable gardening in the shade”

The 7 layers of forest gardening - drawing by Graham Burnett

The 7 layers of forest gardening – drawing by Graham Burnett

Basically, a food forest is a very ancient method of agriculture. Evidence of people modifying the forests for an increase yield of edible plants can be found as much as 11,000 thousand of years ago, before traditional cereal based agriculture. It is a method of growing things that people need like fruits and vegetables, providing habitat for animals that humans might want to eat, like rabbits, chickens and goats, and other products that people want, like honey, maple syrup, herbs, nuts and wood products, but with less intensive inputs and within a more sustainable ecosystem system that supports water quality, biodiversity, air quality, soil health, and ecosystem resilience.

In modern times forest gardening is being rediscovered for the environmental benefits, but is also being tested as an economically viable alternative to modern agricultural methods.

I’ll be blogging more extensively on forest gardening as an urban and suburban agricultural system over the coming months.

11 Mar

Sprawlstainable – New and Improved for 2014

Spawlstainable began as a two year chronicle of Dan and Mary Deweese’s journey to create a more sustainable lifestyle while living in the suburbs. Their 2 year goal was to reduce their energy consumption by 50% (which they did) and to grow 10% of their own food (which they didn’t). After the two years was up they had many followers, and had enjoyed their blogging experience, but new things came along and Sprawlstainable went dormant, without updates, for another couple of years. Now, Mary is resurrecting Sprawlstainable with new categories, a new mobile compatible word press template, and most importantly, a new commitment to adding content, because, even though the blogging had taken a hiatus, the Deweese’s journey towards sustainable living did not, and there is a lot to write about and catch up on…..so welcome to the New and Improved Sprawlstainable Blog….Thanks for Visiting!

Mary Deweese

24 Jul

2011 Food Growing totals

serviceberries

Last Updated August 18, 2011

Here are the current food growing totals…as well as last years totals so you can compare how we are doing.    We are definietly behind for the year, but I have started a bunch of fall crops and hope to make up the harvest in a month or two.

 

Read More

26 May

PDF Download of Sprawlstainable’s Garden Design

Thumbnail section of Garden Plan

2010 EDIBLE LANDSCAPE PLAN DRAWING 11X17 click this link to download

I thought it was very important for you to have access to the garden design for the Sprawlstainable Garden.  This drawing shows the entire site, the legend to all the edible plantings of fruits and vegetables, the house, the gardens, the patios, etc. The download is of the entire yard, the little thumbnail photo to the left here is just a small section of the garden.

Read More

22 May

Value of Homegrown Fruits and Vegetables

Serviceberry - a native edible fruit tree

 

These are the amounts I am using to calculate how much the food we grew would have cost if we would have bought it at the store.  I got the majority of these numbers by pricing organic produce during May and June 2010 at the Whole Foods Market in Town and Country, Missouri.  It would probably be more accurate if I got the numbers based on when these vegetables and fruits were at peak season, but it should be a pretty fair estimate of the actual cost.  Some of the items are still blank because Whole Foods was not stocking them at the time I checked prices…so I am hoping by the end of June I should have everything filled in.  There are a few items like currants, gooseberry, Jostaberry and serviceberry that I have never seen at the store…so I think I’ll just guess those to be similar to the blackberries and raspberries.  Click here if you would like to see the food growing totals for 2010 to see how much we have grown and the value of that food.  I am surprised at how fast the savings adds up and I expect that by the end of the year we will have saved quite a lot of money by growing our own food, although my numbers don’t reflect the amount I invested in the garden, but as I said before, I am a gardener, so if I wasn’t planting food, I would have been planting flowers.  Read More

05 May

Growing Shitake Mushrooms at Home

Shitake Mushroom

Growing Shitake Mushrooms

Did you know that you can grow shitake mushrooms at home?  Well we are trying it and will report how it goes.  We bought our first pre-inoculated log about 2 years ago.  It cost about $30 from a mail order company.  We did everything they said to do…soak the log, put it in the shade, keep it moist…but nothing happened.  It was supposed to produce mushrooms about 8 months after we got it…in the spring and fall for up to 5 years.  Well we didn’t have anything happen.  I called the company, and for $10 more they sent us another one last spring….again nothing happened. 

I had pretty much given up on them…but lo and behold, just this past week there were mushrooms!  Read More

05 May

Food Totals Grown in 2010

mary in garden

Final Totals

This is a portion of my spreadsheet that lists both the amount of food we have grown this year and the cost of buying this amount of organic food at the store.  Also included at the bottom are the totals, including the percentage we have eaten of the produce (I am keeping track of how much we eat versus how much we give away.)  Remember, my goal is to grow and eat 300lbs of food this year!  I will update this list each week and keep it posted as a sticky to stay at the top of the list so you can watch the progress.  Read More

29 Apr

Mary Mary (Not At All Contrary),
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Quite Well, Actually

a-rose

In our quest for more sustainability, with one of our primary goals involving growing our own food, we’ve got a couple of things going for us already: Mary loves plants,has a knack for growing them, and a few years back we invested in some improvements to our yard that included a number of raised beds and planting areas.

However, is is only recently that we’ve changed our thinking to more edible landscape plants. The earlier years of Mary’s graden focused more on ornamental plants and aesthetic priorities. Read More

27 Apr

What Fruits and Vegetables We’re Growing in 2010

garden with lettuce

This is what we are growing this year, most of the fruit trees and shrubs were planted either last year or this year, so I don’t expect much from them in 2010.  I do expect some serviceberries, a few currants, some strawberries and maybe a few pears.  Of the vegetables, this will be my first try for growing dried beans, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn and artichokes. Visit my article showing the current totals of food harvested in 2010. Read More

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