At Dancing Rabbit we are always looking for new useful plants that will grow in our climate and soil since it can be challenging given the poor land we inherited. I’ve been trying out many in the last two seasons. Two of these plants are new to me and one I’ve grown for many years and find a vital part of my harvest every year. I was really surprised by how easy these were to start from direct seeding outdoors. I’d tried them indoors the previous year with minimal success. See my other video from last year of me starting a number of permaculture plants.
A lot of people don’t know that figs can grow in a lot more places than the tropics. You see them in California and Florida, but there are people that get fruit off their fig trees every year here in northern Missouri. Of course, the trees do die back to the ground every winter, but they still come back and produce a crop every season. If you have a greenhouse or hoop house in a temperate region, your figs won’t die back to the ground. I knew someone who had a full-sized fig tree in their passive solar greenhouse in central Wisconsin.
In this video I show you how you can easily propagate your own figs trees. It’s really easy to turn one fig shoot into several fig trees in a short time, and within a couple years you can be harvesting fresh figs even in northern regions.
I’ve tried aging cheese in my under-the-floor root cellar but the times during the year when it is the ideal temperature are way too short. Then I recently was thinking about a place I have that has high humidity, a huge thermal mass, and in spots is over 6′ underground–my cistern. The temperature down there stays above freezing through the winter but because of the thermal mass of the water maintains its coolth much further into the season than my root cellar. So I thought I’d try it out for aging hard cheese without having to use a dedicated cheese fridge. It’s a creative way of stacking functions of already sustainable technology to make my life even more sustainable…and delicious.
Every year before the season starts I like to hit the Asian grocery store, not only to pick up my year’s supply of ingredients (since I live so far away from everything) but to get some plant stock to propagate for my garden. There are two plants I get every year–lemon grass and ing chai, or ong choy. Years ago I learned that I could grown my own of both of these useful plants from simple cuttings anyone can buy at their local Asian grocery store. Though native to tropical regions, these two plants have many uses and will produce prolifically, even in temperate regions. Like tomatoes and peppers though, they can only be grown as annuals in colder regions.
I made it home to Dancing Rabbit and I found my fruit trees were blooming abundantly, but they still needed pruning. This is a little tour of what was happening in my yard (or warren at DR) as far as my permaculture plantings. In the last couple of years I’ve planted many new useful plants even as the established fruit trees have come into full production. One of the great things about permaculture is that minimal care is needed to maintain plantings, if it’s done right. Pruning my trees is pretty much the only care they need during the season, aside from some pest control. I don’t have to work up the soil, weed, or even water. And these trees will produce more fruit than I can even use myself.
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Continuing the tour of ECHO Farm, this is a little walk around the nursery, where you can buy almost any kind of useful plant for a reasonable price. Cinnamon, Mango, Sapote, Red Mombin, Katuk. It’s too bad I don’t have land in Florida to plant anything on. But I was definitely like a kid in a candy store at this place.