Observations and Orientation


Elizabeth StoneThe first rule of Permaculture is to observe. For some reason this has really been in my head the last week or two. My husband had an army buddy over the other day and we sat outside by the BBQ while they got caught up. I took advantage of this to just sit and observe the soon-to-be-garden area. The first thing I noticed was the noise. On the other side of our backyard is a busy intersection and cars drive by all day and night. Being from the country, I am not used to the constant noise so I made a mental note to do more research on plants that help block sound. Our dog also lays under these plants so I will need to ensure they are tall enough that she can still lay underneath. I also want to try to find plants that are edible or medicinal so they have a secondary use besides just blocking noise.

The second thing I wanted to make note of was the sun. The southern side of the property near the house and the northern side near the fence get quite a bit of sun. However, due to the height of the houses nearby, they may not get much sun at all the early spring or late fall. I will need to plan for starting seeds indoors (maybe take over the garage?) and also put the plants that require seeds on the southern side. The plants that can grow with partial shade, lettuce for example, can go on the northern side.

South yard

I also went out and measured the yard. The square footage is not very large so I will need to experiment with either stacked beds or vertical beds. Since we are renting, we cannot attach anything to the side of the house. However, we can build standalone beds that go up as high as we need. However, as I am only 5 foot 5 inches, I suppose the beds cannot go up too high unless I want to constantly be on a ladder.

North yard

I did get another chance to sit back and observe when I went to my first Master Gardeners class yesterday. For those who aren’t familiar with the program, the Master Gardener Extension Program was started in 1972 by the Washington State University Cooperative Extension. The first clinic was held at a booth at the Tacoma Mall. They had such a great turnout that a curriculum was created and training began in 1973.

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