The Garden: Plan of Observation and Action



Now that the chaos of moving (and a quick trip to the Norweigan mountains) is out of the way, my mind is moving towards the garden.  Luckily, it’s exactly the wrong time of year to do any real work there, which means basically that I will be forced to observe rather than act.  Having wrested for years with an allotment that was too big, too far away and which I changed too quickly (and then undid those changes a few months later), I will enjoy the process of spending a long time getting to know the patch of land right outside my backdoor before I do anything serious to it.

Yesterday I sat down with Aranya’s Permaculture Design book and worked out exactly what I needed to do to observe over the coming year.  Here’s what I need to do first:

1)  Make a sketch map (not to scale) of both front and back gardens

2)  Create an accurate base map (of both front and back gardens)


Then, using a garden diary and photographic evidence, I’ll create a series of overlays of my observations in the following areas:

3)  Overlay 1:  Observation of light (sun sectors)

4)  Overlay 2:  Observation of wind (wind sectors)

5)  Overlay 3:  Observation of frost and snow and general temperature

6)  Overlay 4:  Observation of water and rainfall

7)  Overlay 5:  PASTE observation (P = plants and trees, A = animals – domesticated/wild/human, S = structures, T = tools – what work is done here, E = events – what events take place here?)

5)  Overlay 6:  Desire lines, access points and routes – for people and animals

6)  Overlay 7:  Zone mapping

7)  Overlay 8:  Other observations – e.g. views, privacy, noise, smells, pollution, energy losses, legislation, neighbours


Then there are a few other things to do before analysis can begin…

9)  Soil analysis

10)  Identify sources of free resources

11)  Client interview – Will and I talking about what we want in the garden and how much time we have to give it


So, those are my observation tasks for the coming year.  It’s almost impossible to stay away from the ‘doing’ though, so I have set myself a few tasks that I won’t come to regret (because they’re not big changes).  There are:

1)  Feeding the soil with compost, green manure and genuine manure.

2)  Embark on a 365 days of salad challenge.  I’ll grow this in pots and the things that I need to do to make this happen are:

– Design the seedling area in my house

– Design the hardening off area outside

– Make a plan for which seeds to plant when

– Buy some seeds

– Buy some pots

– Make some (stylish) cloches

– Decide on my compost mix

3)  Make a plan for growing next year


That’s it!  That’s all I plan to do to the garden until next winter.  It’s enough to be getting on with..!




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2 thoughts on “The Garden: Plan of Observation and Action

  1. Great plan Beth! Hope it goes well , so hard not to get stuck in!

  2. Wishing you well with all of this. Thank you for sharing your plan. Your writing is always inspiring and clarifying my own path ahead on the Permaculture Trail of Paradise on Earth!

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