Thursday, February 19, 2015


The county composts some of the solid wastes and you can go get as much as you want for free. I went and got a truck load recently to add to the hugel beds and the swale berms. The pile in the picture is about twelve feet tall. It seems like it's decent compost. I've used it before. I just cannot afford to buy a ton of compost so it's a nice option.

It took me about half an hour to load the truck. I could have put more in but my arms wore out so I stopped. It took much longer to roll one wheelbarrow load at a time from the driveway into the backyard. That's the hard part.

On the right is the compost spread out onto the swale berms on the downhill side. These are ditches on contour that catch rainwater. The water then slowly soaks into the ground. Note the pitch of the terrain by the green fence in the background. It's fairly steep. I will plant in a wide selection seeds here as soon as it warms up.

Probable plants will include, mustard, parsnip, daikon, comfrey, calendula, dill, yarrow, bee balm, fennel, chamomile, parsley, chicory, echinacea, garlic.
Hugelkultur mound

I also spread some compost onto the top hugelbed. I will seed it with a similar mix as the swale berms.

This element is above ground as opposed to the swale. The septic tank drainfield is in this vicinity so we are containing the plantings above ground or only ground covers. I am avoiding putting trees into this area.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Green Deane

By far the best site on the internet for information about foraging from your yard is Eat The It is the site of Green Deane.

There is a forum there that has helped me over the last couple of years to identify many "weeds" from the yard. It turns out that many, many things are edible.

Just to name a few: sorrel, begonia, henbit, dandelion, pokeweed.

If it's edible, he's probably done a video on it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Spatulated leaves are purslane
I found some purslane (Portulaca oleracea) in the yard today. It's edible and medicinal.

According to Green Deane, "Regardless of what one calls it, purslane contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source in the solar system, and an extraordinary amount for a plant, some 8.5 mg for every gram of weight.  It has vitamin A, B, C and E — six times more E than spinach — beta carotene — seven times more of that than carrots — magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, lithium — keep you sane — iron and is 2.5% protein. Two pigments, one in the leaves and one in the yellow blossoms, have been proven anti-mutagenic in lab studies, meaning they help keep human cells from mutating, which is how cancer gets started. And you get all that for about 15 calories per 100 gram (three ounce) serving. As a mild diuretic, it might even lower your blood pressure as well. "

I don't remember ever seeing it before in the yard and it was growing in a shady area.