This is eliot from the Appalachian South Folklife Center in Pipestem, West Virginia. Our garden at the home base is looking good! We started digging potatoes this week, more beets, lots of lettuce and squash and a few beans. Most of the tomatoes are tied up and orderly (for now) and getting some big green tomatoes on them!


We finally got a fence up, and although I’m pretty sure there are some rabbits chowing down on a few vegetables in there, the majority of the crops are looking a lot better! The deer mostly stuck to eating the beans and the cucumbers. Luckily, I think there’s still enough time to replant some of both of those- Or at least we will be testing that theory!!


We had an amazing workshop last weekend on some permaculture techniques of composting.

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First, we built a compost bin layered with the days picked weeds, hay, manure and dirt. My dad who came up from North Carolina to teach the workshop brought some red wiggler worms to toss in as well as some sample amendments like green sand and bio char.

In a year this compost  pile we built will be great soil.

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Then, we built a hugelkultur (‘hill or mound culture’ in German) bed. We collected sticks from the nearby forest and lay them down in our proposed site. Then we layered freshly picked weeds, dirt and manure on top. We didn’t have quite enough dirt for the top but I threw some buckwheat seeds there anyway just  to see if they’d grow. The hugelkulture bed is supposed to break down into a very nice raised bed as the wood decays and rots. The rotted wood acts as a sponge that soaks up rainfall and then releases it slowly to the plants grown in the bed. It isn’t supposed to be a good growing bed the first year because the decomposition of the wood at first takes up too much nitrogen but down the road it will be one of the better garden beds and besides time it will hardly have taken any work at all!

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It looks a little weird but it was very easy to make! I’m excited to see what happens!

This was our most successful workshop yet! – Over 20 people attended and folks stayed late to chat about gardens and vegetables and canning. Our next workshop will be on preserving our harvest, hopefully we can get a good turnout then too! Permaculture 7-18 (16)