Normally about this time of year I post a photo of daffodils. In California I had paperwhites, but regular daffodils always struggled. So it has been such a delight to see these guys popping up, all on their own.

I’m not over daffodils by any means. They come up every year, and still brighten these wet, gray days. So amazing. But I have moved on. I now have a kitchen garden.

I edged into it last year. I dug out old seeds and picked up whatever was on sale at the garden center. The stuff actually grew. So, what might happen if I got serious?

I ordered a worm farm, which has yet to arrive. To judge by the look of the guy above, that may prove to be completely unnecessary. I ordered fresh seeds, weird heirloom varieties, kindly delivered by an American friend who was fine with my small order turning into 30 seed packets. I signed up for Charles Dowding’s online gardening course and even got his written approval of my decision to cover the garden with permeable plastic sheeting. And, this is key, I got Julien to do the heavy lifting.

Granted, it’s not exactly permaculture. I can’t live on blue popcorn and orange eggplants. I still have to go to the market. My markets of choice feature locally grown food, but still. It’s fun and close enough for now, I think.

Julien is totally on board with the weird food, especially because he can collect the seeds. He took home everything that needed to be started in a container, so he can water and all as necessary.

And, I think tucked back in there behind the bricks, is a hedgehog, my little bug eater.

I am still such a city kid, but I think I’m going to enjoy this.

13 Replies to “Permaculture Report”

  1. Blue corn! How wonderful!

    Apologies for any typographical errors – sent from a small mobile device.

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  2. Halloo! I imagine you thought I’d fossilised but in fact I’m blinking in a new dawn and breathing lungfuls of fresh air after far too long in what felt like a straight jacket. You nagged me many moons ago to start writing again and I am about to (I hope that is perceived as a promise rather than a threat). More importantly, I am delighted to be reconnecting with your world. I don’t think I will be able to backtrack too much but I do send you and the glorious Jacques my absolute best wishes from the other side of the pond with the absolute promise that I will soon be back in France which it turns out is my one and only happy home. Bises a vous 💫

    1. How good to hear from you! Yes, it has been many moons. I have been wondering how you are doing. Well, definitely keep me posted. You have my email. Surely you will pass through Paris and of course you are always welcome at the house.

      1. I probably DO have your email but will take a little scrabbling to find it. I am a terrier so it will transpire. Next trip is to Provence with daughter and 10 month old Grand Daughter(! How’d that happen?!!) and then a quick mid-April foray to alps and Massif Central. All points of my compass lead to the big move in the next few to a rental leaving Two Brains here in Cambridge whilst I find that pesky forever home. So if I can stand you coffee, wine(never whine), any meal any time of day in Paris or any other goddamn location in the Gaelic hell I call paradise I’m ya gal

  3. This got my inner Disney going. No doubt you heard Pocahontas singing how “you’ll never hear the wolf call to the blue corn moon.” Well, maybe if those seeds sprout, you will. Jacques can paint with all the colors of the wind.

    1. All these Disney references. Do you have grandkids? I’m too busy watching “Narcos Mexico” for that stuff.

      I don’t want to go all Elizabeth Warren on you, but family lore has it that we’re descendants of Pocahontas. You guys come on over for adult beverages and I’ll tell you the story. It’s kind of seamy, which may be why it sticks in my memory.

      It’s going to be a weird garden this year. I can’t wait.

  4. I remember eating blue corn chips at work when a coworker came in and exclaimed, “Dear God please tell me that’s not food!” I hope your family is more supportive of your garden adventures. Have you tried purple carrots or dragon beans? Both can be very pretty.

    1. Well, this is the deal. I live in France. Little did I know, when I came here, that outlaws like Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Paul Gaultier were just providing cover for everybody else. Everybody else was in the « that’s not food » camp. If they hadn’t already seen it at Grandma’s house, it just wasn’t right.

      So, to get back to the garden, Julien and I started somewhat at odds. His cousin was a professional gardener and Cousin said…. I finally got it across to him — after he butchered my cherry trees — that Cousin wasn’t the one paying him. If he wanted me to continue paying him — and I am slowly finding out that I’m paying something like 30% over market — we would do it my way. It took him a full year to see that my way was working out pretty well. Plus things do change, especially if you can make the case that Grandma lived the permaculture life, just by a different name.

      So, baby steps, last year I got him to not effing rototill my kitchen garden. It worked. The tomatoes were great. At Halloween his kids had a front lawn full of pumpkins. This year, to my relief, he was all in. I think his crazy American client must be the source of many anecdotes. Besides, my organic, non-hybrid seeds cost a third of his — MI Gardener, highly recommended. So, yes, definitely, we have blue corn, purple carrots, orange eggplant, whatever I wanted that wasn’t already at the garden center. He actually took home the things that needed to be started in pots, so he could keep an eye on them without coming all the way over here. No dragon beans, though. Next year I’ll look for those.

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