I want to be outside. It’s 60 degrees F., the warmest day of the year so far, and there are plenty of garden projects requiring attention. But I’m waiting on phone calls, and the one downside of a lovely warm day at this time of the year in Great Falls is the wind speed typically matches the temperature. 60 degrees = 60 mph wind. Even if I heard the phone, the person on the other end would think I was being swept away in a tornado. So I’ll stay inside for a while to catch up on other projects that have desperately needed attention. (Cleaning the house isn’t one of them.)
It’s been a busy winter. I’m the Contributing Editor, Lifestyle for Organic Gardening as I handle the Living Lightly newsletter. It’s been a treat to pull together articles for each week to share a simpler, greener options. The hardest part is pulling myself away from the fantastic topics so I can finish my assignments.
I’m working on more articles focusing on permaculture techniques. Paul Wheaton (www.permies.com) came to Great Falls last spring, and gave a talk touching on a number of things we could do to make our yards and gardens closer to what works with nature. He and I even did a podcast at my place where he told me everything he hated about what I have going, and how to remedy the situation. The more I delve into permaculture, the more it makes sense. It’s hard to break old habits, but I’m working on it. I have another hugelkultur bed under construction; this one is filled with sunflower stalks and other big, chunky garden debris. And I really want to make one in the shape of a ‘U’ to attempt to create an area that captures the sun’s energy while blocking the incessant, maddening winds. Along these lines, I have a number of garden experiments happening this year including creating fruit tree guilds, building soil with cover crops and minimizing irrigation as much as possible.
Right now I’m working on keeping my plants going in the greenhouse, and I’m starting dozens of ‘Maxifort’ tomato rootstock for several tomato grafting classes I’m teaching to the Master Gardeners and community garden members. In the near horizon I’ll teach classes on season extending techniques and gardening in raised beds. It’s going to be a very busy spring.