This blog is my personal journey into urban permaculture. I decided to write down my experiences in hopes that others could join me on this adventure, offer their thoughts or advice, and perhaps find this information to be practical for their own pursuits. My involvement in permaculture stems from my interests in healthy food, self-sufficiency, and taking care of the earth. The name of the blog, SimpliCitySoil, reflects my desire to live a life of Simplicity on some City Soil. Whether you are my neighbor in Madison, Wisconsin, or live far away, I thank you for visiting my blog and look forward to reading your comments.
As a child, I have bits and pieces of memories related to food and gardening. I remember my grandmothers’ large gardens, one with a round wire compost bin near some laundry hung out to dry. I remember, on rare occasion, eating radishes, carrots, tomatoes, peas, ground cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and plums right after they were picked. I found it interesting hearing about canning vegetables or fruits and making jams or pickles that could be stored in a cellar. For a short while, I lived across the street from a corn field and enjoyed wandering through the tall stalks. Living near some woods and a river, my brother and I would explore trails and creeks, our imaginations running wild. I always felt at peace being around animals, farms, and natural settings. Then there was the movie “Fern Gully;” it was horribly scary, its message churning in my gut. As I got older, I had several pets and then houseplants which I enjoyed caring for. I believe that these brief, early experiences developed into my current interests.After I purchased a condo with a small (36 square foot) balcony, I started to do container gardening. I read some organic gardening books and found that the best way to learn was to just dig in and try it. Tomato plants in a clay pot in the house? Tall and spindly with no tomatoes. Tomato plants outside in a self-watering container plus tomato fertilizer? Lots of tomatoes. When our church decided to start a food pantry garden, I was excited to see how I might be able to get involved.
My experience gained momentum in July, 2012, when my family purchased our first house and city lot. We started out as typical city dwellers. We bought a lawnmower to take control of all the grass, trimmed some bushes and trees at the wrong time of year, and cautiously tasted some apples from the backyard trees. Our garage started to fill up with shovels, pruning shears, yard containers, watering cans, rakes, and plenty of clutter. We wondered about things like: what is the point of all this grass? How do we get rid of the weeds? What are these other plants and trees around the house? Where is the best place to put our garden?In October, 2012, I first learned about permaculture and it was love at first sight. I was amazed at how many of my interests were neatly organized into an incredibly “whole” concept. I joined the Madison Area Permaculture Guild and began learning and dreaming about the unending possibilities of an urban lot. I went to the monthly MAPG meetings, read the Google Group postings, sought out permaculture books to read, and brainstormed more ambitious goals and plans for our yard.
I am in the process of learning. I am not an expert and will make many mistakes along my journey, but I will strive to make my one little city lot a better place for my family and the world. What will be the fate of this city lot? Enjoy reading the posts and let me know what you think about my permaculture endeavors.