Willy Nilly Whimsy

*This technique of watering annual weeds to get them to sprout and then wither before they can set new seeds —known as premature germination—has been used by organic farmers for many years to control weeds. When the weeds grow up, they shade and cool the ground long enough for the vegetables to get off to a good start, then they act as mulch for the vegetable garden, cooling the ground and conserving moisture. When the autumn rains arrive, fewer weeds come up since they were “tricked” into germinating too soon. Mr. Fukuoka is suggesting that this technique could also be useful in broad-scale rehabilitation for establishing trees, shrubs, and perennial grasses. – pg. 73 – Sowing Seeds in the Desert ~ Masanobu Fukuoka

Seems this man has the most useful ideas of all of the permaculture practices toward not needing, (eventually) any external inputs; which is very attractive to anyone who is living a lifestyle of #VoluntaryRadicalSimplicity.

I’m about to turn 63 and have almost a year now of making Social Security stretch to keep me going. It certainly requires frugality, to say the least. However, it is so much better than wondering day to day if enough sewing jobs would appear in time to make ends meet; now they can be supplemental income. And, of course, it has freed me up to be in the garden more. It doesn’t get any better than that in my book.

It’s amazing how little one can get by on when one decides to do just that. It has been a wonderful experience for me. I have stopped using a washing machine so therefore have stopped wearing one outfit after another, am wearing clothes until they are sufficiently dirty (who am I trying to impress in the garden) and have realized that it is true that we mostly wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time.

Fortunately, my intent to add income to my SS is to up-cycle fabrics and clothes I’ve hoarded all through the years to sell in my Etsy shop; so, nothing will go to waste here.

Broadcasting seeds of many sorts

Broadcasting seeds of many sorts

This is a patch of dirt in the #SouthFacingBackYard that was getting scorched by the Sun. I wanted to do something to cover it so brought out a collection of seeds that hadn’t found homes yet. I threw in some bean seeds for good measure. I had in my hand, turnip, eggplant, beets and carrots. Couldn’t tell you now what went in here and I haven’t grown the first two before so don’t know what their sprouts look like. They were broadcast over the area and then the “Garden Claw” was used to break up the soil and mix them in. The area was raked to even it out. If they do well, they might get thinned a little to have a potential harvest. The goal was initially to just see what would come up in this parched, unamended dirt and to get it covered with something living that would create biomass, chop and drop for mulch and roots to feed the soil microbiome.

A little terraced area in the #SouthFacingBackYard

A little terraced area in the #SouthFacingBackYard

As it turns out, they are congregating some, which is good as it allows some space for traversing through them; willy nilly whimsy is what it is.

This seems to be more like how Mother Nature might decide to do things. She doesn’t plant things in rows and make trenches for the flow of water. Whatever lands and likes the spot comes up and plants that like to grow together do.

Volunteer tomato and cantaloupe among the strip of bunching onions

Volunteer tomato and cantaloupe among the strip of bunching onions

Bunching onions seeds from one grown last year were sown in a little strip inside the wire fence in front of #CompostCorner. Mulch in the form of debris that had been cold-composted was used to lightly cover the area. Volunteers have shown up; cantaloupe and tomato for sure, not sure what some are yet. There’s portulaca in there too which is an edible ‘weed’.

A little strip for bunching onions that had volunteers come up from the 'cold compost' material around them.

A little strip for bunching onions that has had volunteers come up from the ‘cold compost’ material put lightly over the sown area.

Tomatoes transplanted into the #NorthFencePlot

Tomatoes transplanted into the #NorthFencePlot

Several things have been sown behind and in front of the tomatoes that were transplanted from seeds sown in pots. When one thing failed to germinate, it was either resown or sown with something else. Sunflowers and zinnias were put up against the fence at the beginning of Spring but failed. There are just now a few zinnias showing up. Carrots were sown in front of the tomatoes because “Carrots Love Tomatoes”. One or two little seedlings can now be spotted after broadcasting whatever I had in my hands when doing the terraced area in the back. I guess they saw competition coming and decided to have a go?

The #RaisedBed in the #NorthFacingFrontYard

The #RaisedBed in the #NorthFacingFrontYard

This bed started out with cabbages that overwintered. Popcorn seeds were sown in two rows and eventually bean seeds were sown on each side and between those rows. Sweet potato slips grew on the farther end of this bed last year, so this year they were put in starting on this end going up to where things are volunteering in the ‘cold composted’ material put over the area they were last year; more willy nilly whimsy.


It feels like the season got off to a slow start but actually it just got off to a start that suited my own pace with life in the not-so-fast lane now. This method seems to allow for more intuition-based growing and just practicing to get to know Nature’s ways.


The #TriangleRaisedBed is also full of volunteers and things that decided to germinate after being raked around a few times. It’s a #WaitandSee thing here. All of a sudden a bunch of little green sprouts appeared; they do things their own way and in their own time.


without direction or planning; haphazardly.

a thing that is fanciful or odd.

At first glance the field appeared to be a failure to everyone, with the plants growing in such confusion…

…In the first year people sow the seeds, in the second year nature makes adjustments, and in the third year many unplanned and unexpected surprises begin to appear. That is when nature begins to make a natural garden for us…the vegetable flowers had bloomed, gone to seed, and reappeared as volunteers. Other seeds had been eaten and dispersed by birds and mice, and, as a result, the vegetables were scattered in every direction…”

– pg. 130 – Sowing Seeds in the Desert ~ Masanobu Fukuoka

I can’t recommend this book enough. It makes so much sense to me and is full of wisdom and philosophy as well as planting/not planting techniques that are designed to work with Mother Nature rather than against her.

Cheers and a hope for great success to you this growing season; however you garden, just that you do is a great thing.

Volunteer Marigold

Volunteer Marigold



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