The Black Rabbit and Permaculture

I have been very quiet on my blog lately, as I was totally absorbed by my garden. It is the first time in many years I am living in a home with a real garden where I can grow my produce and I enjoy every minute of it. As I vaguely remember being an agricultural engineer, with some solid experience with small-scale farming systems in Latin America and Africa, I was excited to get on with it. although I must admit that there has been a lot of sowing and growing, but not yet a bountiful harvest.Apparently, the thinking in agriculture from those traditional smallholders has seeped into me. Central is the quest for maximize the use of available resources (land, harvest residue, water) instead of just keeping them organised. .As leeks will be far apart for most of their growing season, why not growing radish, cress or even carrots in between them? Can I diminish the evaporation from the beans by growing a row of corn around them? Mulching with lawn clippings or with wood chippings? What about damage of blackbirds, snails, slugs, Cabbage whites?
Why should I grow dwarf beans when I can have beanstalks? I am also trying just to accept my loss when plague strikes, and apply some tricks to save water. The limits of my environment show starkly, and I should get some pesticides or fertilizer if I want to get really impressive results. But why should I.  I enjoy the constant experimentation, without a trace of RCT.Just now I learned that there seems to be a movement applying these central-African approaches: permaculture.

However, this kind of thinking doesn’t go down well in my more traditionally minded environment. My chaotic patches of multiple-layered inter-cropping systems are just not done. Uniform plots wit mono-cultures and straight lines are the rule.

On top of this new obsession with gardening, I started to sport again, as my tendonitis finally abated. No marathons for me any more, but I am building up to do some “sprint triathlons”. OK, that is only one eighth. This morning I was biking on a lonely bike-path along the canal, when I was surprised to see the rabbits lost all their fear for cyclists. It was there I saw the Black Rabbit. Just one black rabbit among its grey brothers and sisters. It might be the one who got away. Perhaps the group has lost the “wild”factor through interbreeding with tame animals. I wonder what will happen when the hunting season arrives. Although, I guess humans don’t hunt from bicycles.

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