Incredibly dry 2016 growing season, in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. From mid-May through early July: no measurable rainfall.
Two weeks of medium rainfall in July, then again, no measurable moisture until late October.
Amazing, that in such dry conditions, anything would grow and fruit; yet some things did well in spite of the dryness. Pie cherries (our first harvest in 5 years) were a bumper crop; tomatoes (our own saved seed) were abundant; Sweet Red Peppers and Jalapeños were off the charts delicious and prolific; and winter squash (variety Mochata) were pleasantly abundant.
Chiwa’s idea of turning upright, 35 gallon steel barrels into “raised beds”, which we filled with soil, biochar, and humanure compost, pumped out several 3&1/2 pound sweet potatoes, along with some 2&1/2 pounders; absolutely delighting us and totally frustrating the Voles.
After last years’ bear/hen episode, we went in with our wonderful neighbors (and their new electric fence) and co-raised 30 new day-old chicks, hens-to-be. The youngsters stayed behind the protective fencing for their first 10 weeks, then 15 of these young “sweetlets” moved into our hen yard, along with our three elder hens.
At 24 weeks, the pullets started laying a beautiful assortment of eggs, all from organic feed. (b.t.w.,18 chickens consume 50 pounds of organic feed in 21 days, @ $35/bag).
We enlisted several dear friends to assist us in paying for the food: there are enough delicious eggs for all! Although, this time of year, with the low number of daylight hours, the “girls” have dropped from an average of 13 to 7 eggs/day. Still, we are happy… and one doesn’t need a TV when chickens are part of the landscape!
A wonderful Persimmon year at Barefoot Permaculture: Eureka Asian Persimmons were luscious and abundant. Mama bear and her 2 healthy looking cubs, having visually discovered the abundant fruit, hastened our harvest time by a few days. In the process, we learned that persimmons, well on the way to ripening, will continue ripening indoors. Yum!
Curculio (insect) damage to our apples, caused by my not spraying them with Surround (Organic Kaolin clay) in time, was extremely widespread and disastrous. We suffered a huge loss for whole, ripe apples…
After a “dwindling” loss to our newest, swarm captured hive, our “no-treatment” Honeybees are down to 1 hive. This HoneyBee Unity seems to be doing well: we shall see as the season progresses.
We harvested 20 gallons of 2 year old, finished and matured, humanure compost, as well as several more 5 gallon buckets of last years’ kitchen and garden compost.
We grew as well as wild-harvested, plants, such as Hawthorne, Ashwagandha, Jiagulan, and Passiflora for use in tinctures, as well as harvesting Elderberries (and freezing the fruit) for use in Elderberry Syrrup.
We feel rich, as well as deeply entwined in our ecosystem: a respectful, benevolent presence, partaking and giving back…