The Gardener’s Weekly
In 2001, before the twin towers fell, and after surviving the rumors of the world ending in the year 2000 with a baby and toddler on hip and under feet, I moved with my family to the Puget Sound area. Redmond, Washington, to be exact. We lived in a little house up a steep hill in a neighborhood that was trying hard to not become a suburb after it’s own history was eclipsed by Microsoft.
After 9-11 I soon became pregnant with my third child, and with a husband who lived as much or more in hotel rooms than at home, it was time for me to move to where I had family and friends to call if I needed them. In the space of those months I created what I named “The Five Year Plan.”
This plan detailed all of the skills that were needed to learn to become mostly off-grid and self-sufficient in five years time. With nearly relentless nausea for 6 months, then one month of sciatica, and two weeks of swollen ankles, the baby boy was born where, amazingly, both of his siblings had been born: Bloomington, Indiana.
Adjusting to three children was more difficult for me than going from one to two, so plunging into the Five Year Plan didn’t happen as soon as I wanted during that first year in this new place. Yet it was best this way as I spent time reading and observing, rather than just doing. By the time we began in ernest the following year into the homesteading venture, homeschooling and all, things moved very, very quickly.
The Five Year Plan, which actually took a year and a half to create, was perfect. During the following few years I learned how to keep, and raise chickens and ducks, how to candle eggs, make a lot of bread from scratch, as well as some yummy yogurt, with once having heated the milk too much, or too long, or both to end up with farmers cheese. Experiments in the garden were ongoing, simultaneous, during which time I kept not quite meticulous garden records that sped my learning process.
Let’s say that I was having the time of my life.
It wasn’t all good, though. Ducks were attacked by neighbor dogs, beans of the drying variety never did as well as the green, the vining beans overtook the corn in the three sisters garden, and from the anthropology research done years earlier I took cuttings of tomatoes to root and over winter. It worked, though not as well as it would have in Mexico. I learned much about climate, micro-climates, soil, and much, much more.
Then I discovered permaculture.
In true Jami fashion I decided what I wanted then dove in. I was jumpy with excitement to get the permaculture equivalent of a large, hard-covered textbook in the mail published by Tagari Press in Australia. By now you will likely not be surprised that I read that book cover-to-cover in a month. Then I started making large-scale plans using permaculture design for our little homestead. Yet it was not to be that I was to stay on that property, the land and creatures that lived there that I loved deeply, and that taught me so much.
And that was just a beginning. And an ending.
Much like this change of My Edible Eden has gone from edible landscaping and site plans and education, to focusing on ecological gardening practices with permaculture influence in the realm of education. Like many small-scale organic farmers, I discovered that what I was doing could not support me and my family. Divorce does that – brings many changes in life.
So although I would love to tell you that I do this full-time and it is my main income, I cannot. And I don’t think I really want it to be right now. You see, living a farming life is really different than running a business full-time that goes from place to place. I am grateful to all of the experiences from growing and conducting site visits in so many different locations, although I am also grateful to be working with a team of other individuals for my livelihood.
It means that I can again have fun with gardening, with exploring possibilities, AND still have passion for household and community food security. It’s a win-win-win situation. My explorations and passion is still to help grow an interest in gardening for those new to gardening, as well as teach our youngest citizens how to grow food… even if you are located in a city with no available plots to grow in!
Since I am running My Edible Eden as a “side-hustle,” I had to come up with solutions for how to get you the most concise information as close to when you need it as possible. The solution is through a weekly newsletter I call The Gardener’s Weekly, and through sales of curriculum through an Etsy shop. The sales of the curriculum will go to fund the cost of the website, Mailchimp account that sends out The Gardener’s Weekly, and the computer that is like the key in the hand to access these resources.
I sincerely hope that my years of experience can help you, and your students, learn quickly and easily the skills needed to become a successful garden-farmer!
Lastly, if you feel inclined to do so, and find information from My Edible Eden valuable, forward on The Gardener’s Weekly to friends and colleagues, share this website, and connect on the My Edible Eden facebook page.