Sunday, November 8, 2009
Observe and Interact- Holmgren's permaculture principle #1 & Obtain a Yield- Holmgren's principle #3
Back in March of 2008 a friend of ours gave us a large bunch of leeks she collected from an abandoned lot in her neighborhood where they had perennialized. I divided the bunches into individual plants and set them out next to the asparagus beds. Never having heard of perennial leeks, I was eager to observe their behavior so that i could establish them as perennials here at The Funny Farm. They grew for a few months then, at the beginning of the summer, the tops died down. I pretty much forgot about them until the fall when they sprouted back up :) They continued to grow though the fall and by early spring they were ready to harvest. I suspected that if i left some in the ground they would produce offset bulbs that could be divided and planted out so i harvested about half of them and left the rest. Later on they began to bloom. We harvested some of the flower buds and cooked with them as you would with garlic scapes. As the remaining flowers opened up i harvested some, cut off the florets and cooked them too. So we were able to get a yield from 3 different growth stages.
As i expected the leaves yellowed and the plants went dormant during the summer. A couple of weeks ago we cleaned up the asparagus beds and saw that the leeks were starting to emerge again. This time there were not 1 but 3 - 5 shoots coming up. The bulbs had multiplied just like i had hoped they would. Today Laurel and i dug them up and divided them. We replanted 1 bulb back in the original place, filled in the places where the leeks were harvested in the spring and had enough to plant a new row and for Laurel to plant in her garden to start her own perennial leek bed. Yet another yield was produced.
Through observation and interaction we have been able to produce a yield this year and insure an even larger yield in years to come.