Year Zero: Serious Moment

I have a five year plan. It is not a good plan and it changes from day to day but it is a plan. Right now, I have just left year zero. January 2021 is starting a new year for me.

You may ask:

What is Year Zero? Year Zero has been my year of planning. I also went around the area and looked at local nurseries. I wanted to see what everyone had to offer. It opened my eyes. I also planned to go back to college and learn about plant things.

Why is Year Zero so important? Year Zero is my planning year. We moved in October 2019 and that only started our adventure. During this year I have walked the property over five hundred times. I have learned the land-ish. There is a lot more to starting a permaculture food forest then I anticipated.

This is where I outlined my goals. I learned my property and I planted starter plants- which I will get into later. We have a lot to cover so I will continue.

Some of the trees ready for new homes

What does having a poorly planned year zero do for someone who is just starting out? This is a tough one because I had to reset my Year Zero last year. It was insanity. I killed every plant I got my hands on because I just jumped in. I thought I could just wish my garden into growth. It was poor planning and I wasted a lot of money on plants that died. So, don’t waste money use your year zero wisely. Learn to work with your property and not against it.

Year Zero is the most important year of planning and development. This is my year of research and getting to know my property. Here I started and failed then restarted after some research. Even still I am not 100% sure that everything will work out. My year one began with medicinal plants and evolved into the dreams of a food forest. Somewhere it evolved and I wanted to have real food security.

I learned a lot about the native plants that already live here and it inspired me to start a Monarch Butterfly Santuary. I started by going online and joining many types of groups. They kind of inspired me and so I continued with my year zero goals. I did way better than I anticipated.

The reason Year Zero is important is because it lays the foundation for success but remember: you can always switch it up later if your plans don’t work out. I know it sounds crazy but a lot of people (myself including) thought they could just jump in (like I did) and fail. I’ve learned it’s only a true failure if I stop trying and so I will continue.

It took me the better half of the first year to figure out I was doing things wrong and I might need to talk to experts. That’s why I enrolled in classes but I’ll share all of that information as I get it with you.

Squash flower (I think?)

Sure, I was in the best Facebook groups. Unfortunately I hadn’t been utilizing them. So I went online and I just dove into research on permaculture, companion planting, ph levels, soil samples and I was blown away by how much was out there. I will never know everything but I had started down a rabbit hole that brought me here to this blog.

Spoiler alert: my plants stopped dying. I got better at planting the more I learned and there is this feeling of happiness when you are using your own vegetables and fruits.

All throughout year zero I sat outside my plants hoping they might grow. It does not make plants grow faster.

Now I know I need a plan and in year zero it’s the perfect time to decide what you want and where you see that going in five years. Make it fun and exciting but remember: your plan must flow with the tide. So make sure you are ready for those changes and adaptations as you go. For example: I thought I could just put seeds in the dirt and it would just grow. It doesn’t work that way and now I know thanks to countless people.

Goals for my property and my life for the next five years. This is important because it gives me a general outline to work with. Remember, I am making plans but they are like the wind- every changing and straightforward.

In five years, I want to have every individual breed of plant I want on my property. Even if I do not have every part of my land covered (Which I most likely will seeing my progress already- it is a possibility). I am not talking about a neat little orchard- I want trees and shrubs. I want to be overwhelmed with sight, smell and feel like nature surrounds me.

Keep that in mind- it is the foundation for our success. My goals are not primarily food security, even though it is a reoccurring theme, but instead a food based garden of eden, a place for me to retire my body and my spirit. So, not all of my plants will be solely food based. I am going to continue on that note, but keep your goals in your mind.

Another goal I realized: I want the species here to be closer to disease resistant and ready to produce in five years. This means that in the first few years I have to plant my trees that need to be producing as well as create a water source.

In Year Zero, I am going through plant lists to find edible plants, flowering plants, herbs, and pollinators. I am collecting seeds and planting what I like to call guaranteed success plants such as blackberries. During Year Zero I did a lot of planning but then I began planting samples.

For example: I don’t know of I even like certain fruits- this is a great time to plant one or two and try them. If I don’t like them I won’t plant more of that particular tree. It’s good to know before I make a mass planting decision.

The ones that do well and we like: we plant more of them. The ones that don’t we just move on from and don’t plant more. At least we are keeping those three blueberries (if any of them survive), but I am hesitant of planting more until we know they will survive. That is one of many examples. We keep what we like but we don’t want continue any difficult plants. If something happens we want to make sure we can take care of it. (Eventually I hope it will take care of itself, in my old age I don’t want to be chasing around a 7 acre mess)

I want to cover my entire property in plants that are useful primarily with a little playroom for beautiful things. I want to retire in my own hand made forest and I want to leave it for my kids to enjoy. I cannot wait until I make my dream come true, but Year Zero opened my eyes to the many possibilities.

Frankly, Year Zero did not go as planned and there is a good chance your Year Zero will not be magnificentbut don’t give up. I killed a lot of plants that I want to blame on bizarre seeds from China that I never received. Really it all came down to poor planning.

Year one starts now in January and during that year I have a lot of things I would like to accomplish. But first let’s talk about what i have already got started:

  • 75 thornless blackberries, three different kinds.
  • 33 grape plants, twenty four muscadine, six concord, two seedless randoms from Wal-Mart, and one Spanish grape.
  • 8 apple trees, 4 persimmons, 4 pomegranates, 5 peaches, 3 plums, 4 cherries, 2 pears, 2 limes, 2 lemons, and 2 avadaco trees.
  • Planted many perennials and failed two gardens.

Year One I have new goals.

  • I would like to plant 100 additional thornless blackberry plants. This year so far we have planted 75. We know that blackberries will do great here and we want at least 200. We want to primarily plant thornless varieties which is also why we are not dying into raspberries.
  • Set up the irrigation system that will support the amount of plants that I want to bring in. We already bought two irrigation systems. One is set up for bushes and one is set up for the trees.
  • I want to plant a minimum of 25 different kinds of apple trees, but that may not be possible.
  • I want to focus on the 41 disease resistant breeds that grow in my zone. Zone 8a.
  • Focus on filling in the spaces between my trees with shrubs and berry bushes.
  • Expanding my seed collection
  • Creating a creek system that runs through our property
  • Planting as much as I can as fast as I can and keeping it all alive with magic

So, don’t give up. Year Zero seems hard on everyone. We’ve got this now onward to YEAR ONE.

A much more detailed goal list for Year One is coming but you’ll have to be patient. I am busy looking through seed catalogs while listening to permaculture information.

Garden Update 2020: August 30

This will most likely be the final update for this month. I like to see the progress in my plants. If you are a gardener yourself you know what I mean.

We have beans and they just don’t seem to be growing as much. I’ll have to go back and look at my older post. Maybe I need to weed around them better. I thought there would be more leaves and such since I made the dogs leave them alone.

Pumpkins are coming in. Not going to lie, I expected more of an explosion of growth. That is because they just grew up over night. There was nothing and then there were a lot of pumpkins. I dunno, I’m mildly disappointed but at least they didn’t die. Sounds to me like I am still winning.

This is the other side. It dries out a lot faster and so it has a harder time. I feel kind of bad for it. We are seriously debating on putting some fertilizer on some of this just to ensure growth.

We have either squash or something. Whatever it is on this row it is growing nicely. I am happy with this development. I hope it continues to grow like this.

My corn in coming in nicely. Wish it was taller, but for some reason I just expected it to grow like a mutant corn stalk. My imagination truly leads to disappointment when I finally get plants to live. It is almost like I think I will become a plant goddess over night and my plants will grow like I am Poison Ivy.

This is almost everything. You see my three rows of corn, my broccoli and a lot of we’ll see when it gives me vegetables. I will be excited regardless.

Also….

It turns out I do have three tiny pea plants that are struggling to survive. Let’s see what happens in the next episode of: hope it doesn’t die.

Garden Update 2020: August 25

I think the picture above is broccoli or lettuce. Either way I am pleased to see that there are sproutlings. I see some clusters, but in my defense I planted quite a few in each spot because some of the seeds were question mark seeds.

Zucchini? Cucumber? Squash? I suppose we’ll find out when they start to make vegetables. I did group them together and I am glad to see they are shooting up. I think they are doing a little bit better than my pumpkins- which I planted August 1st. These were planted on the 12th? Or maybe the 8th? I can’t remember honestly, it feels like so long ago.

We have corn, but I feel like it should be taller. I am a very judgemental gardener. I am staring at this corn as though it were 2ft too short.

These are my pumpkins. We bought some stuff to put around them in order get them to look less yellow. They seem to be doing fine. I think they have a 110 day period before they fruit. It makes sense it would take a little bit longer to get them to work.

My other row of pumpkins. Now I had some real concerns about this row. It drains much quicker than the other side and my soil is so tough it doesn’t hold water for long, but with aggressive watering I think they will make it. Fingers crossed.

Are those baby radishes? I planted these babies on August 15. We had so many radish seeds that it was awkward, but any rows that did not produce on the 8th or 1st and here we have tiny things.

I do believe these are Brussel sprouts. I do not know for a fact. This is only my second growing season and in the spring I was a murderer. It happens. This time it will be different. Hopefully, they fight for survival.

I think that is a random pea plant, but I am not one hundred percent sure. I just want to let you know that I am terrible at the whole naming stuff and keeping up with it. Then again, I think that is half the fun- the surprise of finding out what it is when you start to get some vegetables on the plant.

We got a few bean survivors. I am thankful for anything my dogs didn’t eat. It turns out that it is pretty common. Thank goodness for the few plants we have, hopefully they survive the rest of summer.

My garden: August 12

This is our rogue zucchini. It grew out of our burn pile. Those seeds came from the remains of my zucchini bread. The fruit rarely ripens but that is because I purposely neglect this plant. My kids don’t want me to burn the burn because of the random zucchini plants that are growing out of it.

This is one of the few zucchinis that we have gotten from our rogue plant.

Next we just bought Lantana. We got like four of them and we don’t know where we will put them at.

Lantana is kind of invasive so we are nervous about planting it.

Bell peppers are still growing. I am excited everytime we see one growing.

Those are pumpkins above

These are green beans.

We have some green beans that are growing but only a few the rest are being eaten by birds 🐦

Finally there is my big crop of corn which is being attacked by birds as well.

Who knows what will survive the birds and the rabbits. We will find out.

August 10th: we have pumpkins

That’s right. I have pumpkins sprouting up all over the place. I am extremely excited. We have been watering them two to three times a day depending on the heat.

I went back and read one of my posts. I just should let everyone know I write these up quickly and do not proofread. I just type it up and publish it a couple of days out – just in case I change my mind about posting it (which happens).

This was August 6th

Anyway, there were only a few in the beginning. They were so tiny. It is exciting to see that they are actually coming up. I hope that this time it all works out.

Two babies at a time August 6th

Now, my more mature daughter asked me about planting them so close together and if it was a good idea. I am starting to wonder that myself.

I never anticipated that my garden would actually grow this way. (I am thinking the partial shade is really helping me out) That is one of the reasons that I planted them on the outside and I put the peas on the inside.

August 7th. You can see pumpkins all up and down the two outside lanes.

I figured if I put the pumpkins on the outskirts that they will be able to vine out, but great points were made. Should I do extra for the pumpkins or is my plan good?

Those are pumpkins in their rows below and I can’t wait for them to get bigger and show me pumpkins. In the middle two rows are the peas. We will be setting up stuff for them to hang out against. I have been watching those gardening groups, they have some really great ideas.

The more that I see success in others the more I can see there can be success in me. When I get low I have been asking others (just random citizens that frequent the groups I am in) to show me their gardens. It has been great 100% of the time. People that garden just seem to be nicer. I am excited about the pumpkins and seeing what everyone else has out there.

August 10th

Not going to lie I am starting to feel true concern for my peas. Only time will tell. I am hoping that everything works out, until next time people.

Side note: make sure you know where your water is going to travel so that you can capture it.

August 1: Peas and Pumpkins

Stop and just imagine for a second that plants just magically grew with little to now work…. that is just a great dream. Now pop it. I have been hoeing. These are my adventures… 🀣

The beginning of my flat hole

Well, random citizens, I have started a very small fall garden. I worked on it for an hour a day. First, I took my mighty hoe and I scraped all of the grass off of the top surface. I had to wet the soil multiple times. I did not enjoy this, but since my son hurt my tractor by hand it is.

My dog helping out in the shady parts

I had to really start moving dirt and my kids really only wanted to help with the fun stuff. I used the dirt that had all of the grass in it as an outside barrier.

I do not know why I did this, maybe I thought that it might protect the plants. We plan on putting ant poison around our beds. Something in me said, “keep it away from our precious.” My husband just rolled with it.

I really beat the fire out of the soil

The ground was so dry I found myself beating the dirt just to get what was on top. I complained a lot about how it was similar to rock- because it was. My shoulders were sore and I hate not having a working tractor. It is for the birds

Some people told me that I just needed to do raised beds in the beginning, but I’d kind of like to know how fast I would have starved in the 1820s. Right now, my family would have been doomed. I have already murdered plenty of plants from lavender to an entire vegetable garden. I really hope my luck changes this time, but just in case I am not using nearly as many seeds as I did the first go around.

Day 2 of our adventure

I gave up half way through the day because my delicate hands befell a blister. Missing my tractor. Regardless, I came back the next day with a blister and new determination. My husband felt bad for me and came out to help the second time. Although I did not work the dirt again that first day I did water it more than five times.

It did not work. The dirt was so dirt and compacted that it only glared at me. So, the ground was still tough but my husband watered it 10x more than I had because he said it made it easier for him. He could have peed on it for all I cared, he helped out a lot. I was not going to complain about his methods.

My sweet girl came out and helped me pull out some of the remaining grass that was in our rows (this was only to stay up later and plant the seeds)

I was going to do this cool thing in the circle that I had seen on the internet but my husband disagreed. Since I had messed up so horrible with our spring garden, he suggested i do fancy patterns with my plants at another time after I have become a little bit more skilled. He may be right, but if these ones die: we’re doing it the fancy way. πŸ˜’

Day three after the planting and after the first watering.

It does not look like it but I just watered those stupid seeds not even 15 minutes ago. Frankly, I am disappointed. I walked out there only to realize that I might need to put my sprinkler on them at least for today, while they’re getting started. I don’t want them to just become one with the dirt. I will update in a few days. I will also show the progress on spot two.

Spot Two will be preparing for our August 10th planters. I am excited. I saw on big names on this list. When I am done with these spots this fall I have some big plans. First- I am going to plant more grape plants. Then I am going to build a giant wooden structure to go over my bushes near the house. (I do not like the sun as much as I do the shade.) This will eventually have grapes growing all around it and I can’t wait.

So stick around and maybe I won’t kill everything this time.

She is just working too hard πŸ˜’
Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started